opera in one act3 sopranos self-accompanying on ukulele and violin (2023)
|Book and music by Kate Soper with additional text by Hildegard of Bingen, H.D., Pliny the Elder, Christina Rossetti, Isidore of Seville, Thibaut de Champagne, and from the Exeter Book.
|Commissioned by Miller Theater at Columbia University
|October 11, 2023; Miller Theatre at Columbia University, New York City
|Prologue: three virgins, Fleur, Briar, and Rue, audition for roles a job: to attracting a majestic unicorn for the King and his Court.
Scene 1: Some weeks later, the virgins share a livestream update of their progress. After receiving a comment from the King’s, the virgins pass the time with lunch, a riddle, and an ode.
Entr’acte 1: Rue sings of the reasons for her chastity.
Scene 2: Some weeks later, the virgins share a livestream update of their progress. The King’s comment reveals his lack of patience with the persistent failure in their mission. The virgins pass the time with lunch, a riddle, and a song.
Entr’acte 2: Briar sings of love.
Scene 3: Some weeks later, the virgins share a livestream update of their progress. There is no response from the King. The virgins sing a tribute. A rainstorm erupts over the clearing and the virgins run for cover.
Entr’acte 3: Fleur sings of her growing frustration.
Scene 4: Some weeks later, the virgins share a livestream update from the castle of their progress and of the continued rain. The King’s response is ominous and troubling. The virgins pass the time with a song, during which Briar teaches Fleur how to play the ukulele. Rue shares a riddle which is unexpectedly interrupted.
Scene 5: A short time later, the virgins once again gather in the forest clearing. Left to entertain themselves, the virgins experience an extraordinary event.
Entr’acte 4: That evening, in the castle, the virgins sing a song of love offering and undergo a transformation.
Scene 6: The next day, Fleur, Briar, and Rue share a livestream update from the forest, take stock, and face their future.
|Fleur - soprano, ukulele (occasionally)
Briar - soprano, ukulele (primarily)
Rue - soprano, violin
|The ukulele should be amplified. Sopranos and violin may need to be amplified as well for balance.
The ukulele should be a tenor ukulele in "high G" tuning (G4-C4-E4-A4).
Electronic sound files to be played in the performance are included. Additionally, a short electronic cue must be created by each production using the voices of the performers, according to instructions in the score.
|Staged performances of this work require licensing.
Three virgins sit in a clearing on the order of the King, whiling the time away with songs, riddles, and livestream updates as they await the appearance of the majestic unicorn. But the weeks are dragging on, the court is getting antsy, and the King is threatening dire measures to verify the purity of his employees. Written for a cast of three self-accompanied singers, The Hunt reclaims a well-worn medieval legend to interrogate the contemporary obsession with regulating and restricting female sexuality, the consequences for gender deviance, the value of beauty, and the price of safety—all while captivating the audience with music that beguiles, provokes, and ultimately triumphs.
– Kate Soper