HERE COMES MESSIAH
a mono-opera that follows a young woman in the process of giving birth— moving from comedy to revelation.
"Mátti Kovler's music bore a close resemblance to Bernstein’s, filled with all the same joy and wonder: “Where can I escape from Your spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up to heaven You are there, if I descend into the netherworld, You are there. Such knowledge is too wondrous; I cannot attain it.” (Psalms 139)"
Feast of Music
Here Comes Messiah, excerpt (Hebrew)
Solo: Reut Rivka (Israel)
Conductor: Matti Kovler
Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory Chamber Ensemble
"Here Comes Messiah" was first commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the Golijov/Upshaw Workshop, and premiered by soprano Tehila Goldstein and a chamber ensemble led by Alan Pierson.
In its newest reincarnation, the piece transformed into an immersive installation featuring soprano Reut Rivka and 3-d imagery and art by the Russian-Czech visual artist Theodor Tezhik.
The full installation premiered at the Collector Gallery—a thousand sq. meter underground water reservoir turned art space— in Moscow.
"Here Comes Messiah had a folk touch: a graceful setting of Pelia, a Hasidic song based on a Psalm text."
The New York Times
The work’s libretto by Janice Silverman Rebibo brings together several layers of text. One is colloquial - a monologue in English of a young woman on the verge of giving birth. Another is poetical - passages from Yeats's poem The Second Coming. A third is mythical - a Psalm in its original Hebrew, using its traditional Hasidic niggun (a sacred and evocative melody)
"Here Comes Messiah" follows a young woman through three stages that culminate in giving birth. In the hospital soon to give birth, she is accosted by “chattering behind her back”. She insists all is normal and as it should be.
Transitioning, both in terms of labor and delivery and into the final act of the piece, she suffers the acute pain of being chosen and asks the ultimate questions, “Why me? Why my child?"
In Act 2, the woman can no longer deny her fate and her fear rises. She attempts to push down her fear with fantasies about her “cotton candy”, her sweet baby, and the niceties for him. A frightening vision of a descending falcon seems to threaten her child (the text builds a gradual allusion to the falcon and other elements in W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming).
Act 3 brings the protagonist through the monumental throes of this seemingly unattainable childbirth, which give over to the wondrous secrets of Peliah (Psalms: My Soul Wonders For Thee)
"The audience does not need to be introduced to the composer, or his thought process, to become privy to his internal world – he wills us to come in"
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