REBECCA JO LOEB and ANNA SCHUBERT
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music, p r i s m tells the story of an ill girl, Bibi, and her doting mother, Lumee, who live in a pristine sanctuary. Locked away from the world, Bibi and Lumee try to protect each other from the dangerous illness that lurks outside their door and has already infected Bibi’s legs- leaving her unable to walk.
Every day Lumee attempts to feed Bibi medicine to heal her, yet each time Bibi is about to swallow her dose the Outside erupts into a fury- scaring Bibi from taking her medicine. One night, desperate to please her strict mother, Bibi attempts to swallow all of her missed doses, when she is interrupted by an intoxicating Blue light that pierces the sanctuary through the crack under their door. Seduced by the Outside’s kaleidoscopic beckoning, Bibi begins to rebel against her mother’s orders- fracturing their relationship and fragile life inside the sanctuary.
Blinded by colors and memories new and familiar, Bibi must choose between abandoning her mother to discover the truth of her illness Outside, or accept her mother’s stories in order to hold on to the only life she’s ever known. p r i s m explores the elasticity of memory after trauma, and the lengths to which one will go to “feel better” – no matter the price.
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, Kiki & David Gindler, Linda & Stuart Nelson, and Elizabeth & Justus Schlichting, with additional commissioning support from Nancy & Barry Sanders, OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers, funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and The Opera Fund: Repertoire Development; The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust; and National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works.
This project was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
p r i s m was developed by Beth Morrison Projects, Lyric Theatre @ Illinois/Krannert Center, Arizona State University School of Music, Trinity Wall Street, and PROTOTYPE Festival
Teatro Municipal, São Paulo, Brazil
The Kennedy Center, Washington DC
"like nothing you have ever heard before."
"Reid, in a word, has arrived."
“the strongest orchestral and choral writing I’ve heard.”
"[Reid] conjures an artificial lyric realm, then brutally revokes it"
“With p r i s m [Ellen Reid] takes her place among the host of promising young American opera composers”
“There is so much to absorb in Reid’s eclectic score–the timbre, texture, melody and harmony of which transport listeners to an alternative reality.”
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