OUR AMERICAN ODYSSEY opera production by South Bend Lyric Opera October 21, 2023  

Penelope, Mary Martin, soprano; Odysseus, Seth Johnson, tenor; Circe, Elizabeth Schleicher, soprano; Clea, Emma Sorenson, mezzo; Calypso, Eleni Taluzek, mezzo; Antinous/Cyclops, Carl Ratner, bass-baritone; Maids and Suitors Chorus; Ellis Anderson, piano; Juan Carlos Alarcon, conductor; Carl Ratner, stage director, Emily Chidalek, costume designer; Damen Mroczek, set design; Ethan Brentlinger, lighting design. 

ACT ONE, Sc.1  Open stage, then The New York Stock Exchange.  Odysseus and Cyclops   Dur: 15:18

ACT ONE, Sc.2  Penelope's banquet hall.  Maids, Suitors, Antinous, Penelope   Dur: 15:28 

ACT ONE, Sc.3  Circe's Malibu Spiritual Retreat.  Circe, Odysseus, Penelope   Dur: 15:05

ACT TWO, Sc.1  Penelope's home fiber arts studio.  Penelope and Clea   Dur: 12:38

ACT TWO, Sc.2  Calypso's Cayman Island luxury resort paradise.  Calypso and Odysseus   Dur: 15:10

ACT TWO, Sc.3  Penelope's home fiber arts studio.  Penelope and Odysseus   Dur: 12:04

ACT TWO, Sc.4  Open stage, wedding celebration.  Clea, Antinous, Maids, Suitors, Penelope, Odysseus  Dur: 15:36



Scene 1    
Open stage. Lighting suggests sky and water. Orchestral introduction.    
Odysseus enters carrying a bow and arrow "I am Odysseus, man of triumph and sorrow, I sing of your past, present, and tomorrow." Traveling home from the sack of Troy, the sea tosses him through endless space, he lands in "A place so wondrous and strange, The New York Stock Exchange." The Cyclops enters holding fistfuls of ticker tape and entices Odysseus to join him in wild speculative trading. Odysseus plays along, the mortgage-backed securities slump in value and the Dow keeps sinking. The Cyclops struts around the stage and boasts "I'm too big to fail." Odysseus shoots an arrow into the eye of the Cyclops, who stumbles offstage. Odysseus rues his losses in battle and the market, “The market’s bust, now I’m no one.” Hope and unexpected grace lead him to envision a better world and strengthen his resolve to return to his true home, Penelope.    Dur: 15:18

Scene 2    
Postmodern Ithaca. Penelope’s banquet hall.    
The chorus of suitors clamor for more food and drink while harassing the frazzled, tired maids. Their power-mad ringleader, Antinous, plans to marry Penelope and thus become King of Ithaca. Penelope enters and stops the chaos. Antinous proposes to Penelope. She refuses - Antinous is objectionable to her in every possible way and she is still waiting for the return of her husband, Odysseus. Antinous declares that Odysseus is dead, and the suitors will not leave her house until she marries one of them. Custom decrees that she must provide hospitality. She asks for privacy in order to fulfill her duty of weaving a burial shroud for her father-in-law. The crowd leaves and in “Penelope’s Lament” she sings about the precariousness of her position and her grief and longing for Odysseus.      Dur: 15:28 

Scene 3    
Circe’s Malibu Spiritual Retreat.    
Circe, a ditzy New Age hustler, is peddling enlightenment. Odysseus marches in and demands the release of his crew, Circe has turned them into pigs. He agrees to pay a ransom and undergo a past life regression session so Circe can write off her expenses. To everyone’s surprise, the session works and Penelope appears. Odysseus asks Penelope to wait for his return home, she agrees.   Dur: 15:05