May 8, 2018 Montreal-based Musique 3 Femmes is uncovering the Next Wave of female talent in opera creation in Canada! Our first project? The new Prix 3 Femmes: prizes for […]
March 1, 2016 On Sunday our dear friend, tenor Jonathan Blalock was in town as a soloist with the Washington Chorus at the National Presbyterian Church just up the street from […]
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 […]
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.
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.
Ms. Woolf’s gorgeous score is underlined by the use of traditional Hawaiian chants and her score utilized authentic instruments like the nose flute, Kala’au (percussive sticks), and Ili’ili (castanets), that are native to the island. Ms. Woolf’s score also uses Queen Lili`uokalani’s famous composition, “Aloha ‘Oe”, sung in gorgeous counterpoint by soprano Ariana Wehr.
This fascinating and heart wrenching story of Better Gods is a production worth seeing. The touches of Hawaiian authenticity, and the tremendous strength of the performers, make the new fascinating and heart-wrenching Better Gods from the Washington National Opera a powerful experience.