06 May 2016 Watch a four minute video of Luna Pearl Woolf’s 12 May 2016 Triptyque program at the Salle Bourgie, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from La Fabrique Culturelle TV. The program features Mélange à […]
January 7, 2016 Opera explores pivotal moment in American history in late 1890s Montreal composer Luna Pearl Woolf’s first opera, Better Gods, opens Thursday night for two performances in front of […]
February 29, 2016 Massachusetts-born composer Luna Pearl Woolf returned to Washington on Sunday for a concert devoted to her music: two chamber works, a semi-operatic piece and excerpts from an […]
The music by Wolff demonstrated a search for authentic Hawaiian chant and island instruments including the nose flute, warrior sticks and stone castanets. The effective use of these instruments represented a reach to pre-Western influence, even as we had a Western orchestra juxtaposed in this clash of cultures.
Woolf might have done the music this way to allow for two Hawaiian compositions–the traditional “Kumulipo” (“Creation Chant”) and “Aloha ‘Oe”–to be featured. Queen Lili’uokalani was the English translator of “Kumulipo” and the composer of “Aloha ‘Oe.” The Dresser was impressed with how seamlessly and beautifully Woolf blended “Aloha ‘Oe” into the music ofBetter Gods, making this old chestnut new to the ear.
Offering something slightly more substantial than the 20-minute pieces shown last month, WNO premiered Better Gods, an hour-long work by composer Luna Pearl Woolf and librettist Caitlin Vincent on Friday evening. The subject is the fate of Queen Lili’uokalani, last monarch of Hawaii. In 1898, Lili’uokalani attempts to repudiate the U.S.-friendly constitution inherited from her predecessor and shore up Hawaiian sovereignty.
Washington National Opera’s Better Gods brings a mostly unknown chapter in Hawaiian history onto the stage at the Kennedy Center, telling the story of Queen Lili’uokalani, the island nation’s last monarch, with dignity and high artistic values. I imagine the Hawaiian “better gods” are happy.