HERESY an electronic opera - Act 1

by Roger Doyle

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    The complete 2 hour 8 minute opera on 2 CDs with 24 page booklet, on the Heresy label.

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02:12
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02:32
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02:37
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about

HERESY Act 2 can be heard here: rogerdoyle1.bandcamp.com/album/heresy-an-electronic-opera-act-2

I never thought I’d compose an opera. As a science fiction fan I loved the expression ‘Space Opera’, given to multi-volume series of science fiction novels.
I met opera director Eric Fraad a few years ago, who also ran a record label called Heresy Records, and we began talking about the possibility of working together on something. I suggested a space opera (whatever that might be) and he suggested that we should look for a Heretic in history that we could build an opera around, in line with the name of his label.
He sent me a list of heretics and I immediately picked out the name Giordano Bruno, because his name kept cropping up in my constant dipping into and being rebuffed by James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake over many years.
Mystic magus, heretic priest, hermetic philosopher, spy and playwright, Giordano Bruno was one of the renaissance’s most brilliant and controversial figures. Burned at the stake in 1600 after a nine-year trial by the Roman inquisition, Bruno envisioned a cosmos without a centre, infinite galaxies and inhabited planets. Watch the trailer here: vimeo.com/250368750.
Bruno’s writings prefigured quantum theory by 350 years since he contended that opposites can exist together at the same time – thus the double meanings and simultaneous interpretations of text in Finnegans Wake. Bruno remained a lifelong hero for James Joyce.
A martyr for truth and tragic hero, a complex visionary who challenged the intellectual, religious, and social conventions of his time, Bruno is the ideal subject for opera. A cultural superstar in his own time, whose importance and relevance has grown over the centuries. Heresy features episodes from Bruno’s life and fantastic scenes that allow for great theatricality and effect.

To come to the work itself: After the overture, ending with wordless singing from Aimee Banks as the young Bruno, act 1 begins with a scene where Bruno – sung by Morgan Crowley - demonstrates his system of magic memory before the court of Henry III of France. In the next scene the young Bruno sings in direct quotation from his ‘On the Infinite Universe and Worlds’ – again with Aimee, with the moving concluding lines: ‘Take comfort - the time will come when all men will see as I do’.
Next is Bruno's love song, a transformation of Circe, Goddess of the Sun – sung by mezzo soprano Caitriona O’Leary - and Sophia, Goddess of wisdom – sung by soprano Daire Halpin - into real people, from deeply personal literary inventions; and finally, to close act 1 - scenes from the court of Elizabeth I of England (Daire Halpin again) where Bruno is invited to become a spy for her and her spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham – sung by male soprano Robert Crowe.
(...notes continued on the Heresy - Act 2 page).

credits

released October 3, 2017

On this recording: Morgan Crowley - tenor on tracks 2,6,9,10,12; Daire Halpin - soprano (tracks 6,8-10,12); Caitriona O'Leary - mezzo soprano (tracks 2,5,6,12); Iestyn Morris - counter tenor (track 2,); Robert Crowe - male soprano (tracks 9,10); Alex Smith - boy soprano (tracks 2,3,7,12); Aimee Banks - girl soprano (tracks 1,4 ).
Lyrics are supplied for tracks 2,4,6,9,10.
Cover image is of Robert Crowe as Cardinal Belarmine in the trial scene - taken by Tara Slye.
Design: Ciarán Byrne. Recorded at Rabbit And Costelloe's.
Total time: 58'51
All music composed, recorded and produced by Roger Doyle © PRS/MCPS 2013-16.
rogerdoyle.com/discography/

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Roger Doyle Ireland

Roger Doyle – composer, keyboardist and producer of own music, in concert and in the studio. Likes to work on large projects and to collaborate with others. His music is a celebration of the multiplicity of musical languages and evolving technologies.

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Track Name: The Throne Room Of Henry III
A BOY walks on stage, a court page. In his hand is a wooden model of the solar system which he raises high and begins to sing.

BOY: Stand forth, Lightseyes.
Bruno of Nola.

Giordano BRUNO in the court of Henry III. The KING of France sits on a throne with two COURTIERS.

BRUNO: To one who is about to behold the Daughter of the Sun,
she who is learned in magical lore,
and who comes from the hidden places:
you shall go as a free man into the House of Circe,
not bound by the fetters of Night.
Whose center is the earth and the eye.

COURTIER 1:What is this strange monk saying?

COURTIER 2: It is sorcery and magic!

KING: Is the memory you possess natural or acquired by art?

BRUNO: It is the Art of Memory, sire.
This art aids all other arts.
It shows the way and the entrance
which lies open to many other inventions.

KING: Is it a magic art?

BRUNO: It is a work of nature and reason.
A composition of images, signs and ideas
Which is not to be read by the eyes of the body
But by the eyes of the mind.
Only those men who are disciplined
with keenness of mind
will be able to understand All.

COURTIER 1&2: He is the King of France!

COURTIER 1&2: The King understands all!

KING: Teach me this sublime method.

COURTIER 1&2: Do not trust this Giordano Bruno, sire!
He speaks heresy!
Track Name: There Are Countless Suns
There are countless suns and countless earths all rotating round their suns in exactly the same way as the planets of our system.
We see only the suns because they are the largest bodies and are luminous.
The countless worlds in the universe are no worse and no less inhabited than our earth. For it is utterly unreasonable to suppose that those teeming worlds which are as magnificent as our own, perhaps more so, and which enjoy the fructifying rays of a sun just as we do, should be uninhabited and should not bear similar or even more perfect inhabitants than our earth.
Destroy the theories that the earth is the centre of the universe! Open the door through which we can look out into the limitless, unified firmament... show us that the other worlds float in an ethereal ocean like our own!
Take comfort, the time will come when all men will see as I do.
When all men will see as I do.
Track Name: The Divine Sophia
 BRUNO (Seated at a writing desk – writing and deep in thought).

The Divine Sophia have I loved and sought from my youth; Ever have I desired you to be my wife. Ever have I loved your beauteous, radiant form, Ever have I prayed that you be sent to abide with me, that you work with me to the end that I might know what I lacked and what in me God would find acceptable
 
SOPHIA (Appears)
I have ever known and understood you Giordano. Ever have I desired to be your wife and prayed that I may guide you in all your life’s activity unto the end
 
BRUNO
And guide me in all my life’s activity, unto the end
 
CIRCE
In the atrium of Study a young man with wings on his right hand strives for the heights
 You shall go as a free man into the House of Circe, not bound by the fetters of the Night, not bound by the prison of the Night.
We have ever known and understood you and guided you in all our life's actitivitiy.

BRUNO (To both Circe and Sophia)
I am persuaded that even after death you will ever keep me safe, wrapped in your constant love.
Track Name: At The Court Of Elizabeth I (pt.2)
WALSINGHAM
The Nolan is a man of universal intelligence and well versed in all sciences. He has no religion.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
Bring him to me.
BRUNO
Your Majesty. There is a soul flame kindled at the sun of thought which lends us wings, lends us wings.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
We do not trust the King Of France nor Monsieur Mauvissiere
WALSINGHAM
The Duke Of Guise, the Catholic League they're serpents in our lair.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
We do not trust the King Of Spain and fear the Holy See
WALSINGHAM
And Mary Stuart Queen Of Scots will never let us be.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
We do not trust the King Of Spain nor Monsieur Mauvissiere.
QUEEN ELIZABETH & WALSINGHAM
The Duke Of Guise, the Catholic League they're serpents in our lair.
We do not trust the King Of Spain and fear the Holy See
And Mary Stuart Queen Of Scots will never let us be.
Track Name: At The Court Of Elizabeth I (pt.3)
WALSINGHAM
We need a friend at the French Embassy. Mauvissiere and the Spanish Ambassador abuse our hospitality and plot against us. You're well placed Bruno. Will you be our spy?
QUEEN ELIZABETH
I may not be a lion but I am a lion's cub. And I have a lion's heart. Men fight wars, women win them. I have need of your talents Bruno.
BRUNO
I am your servant Your Highness.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
Will you be our eyes and ears against the French Ambassador who plots against us night and day?
BRUNO
Let me but write and publish my books and I will do as you command.

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