Composer Marjorie M. Rusche


Our American Odyssey opera

October 16, 2023

South Bend Lyric Opera presents world premiere of Marjorie Rusche's 'Our American Odyssey' - South Bend Tribune

By Cheryl Morey

"Our American Odyssey" blends the worlds of mythological and modern men and women. The opera was inspired by Homer's "The Odyssey."

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August 22, 2023
South Bend Lyric Opera to Present ‘Our American Odyssey’ -- OperaWire
By David Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

South Bend Lyric Opera is set to present Marjorie Rusche’s “Our American Odyssey” this October. 

The opera is inspired by Homer’s famed epic poem, but seen through a modern context that blends opera, contemporary theater, minimalism, and world music. In the opera, Odysseus travels through Wall Street, Malibu, and the Cayman Islands on his way home. 

“I hope the audiences take away laughter and tears; the importance of fostering a compassionate and just American democracy; and experience the eternal power of love,” Rusche told OperaWire. 

Taking on the role of Penelope will be Mary Martin. Odysseus will be interpreted by Emanuel Caraman, while Cyclops, Circe, and Calypso will be interpreted by Carl Ratner, Elizabeth Schleicher, and Eleni Taluzek, respectively. Rounding out the cast will be Emma Sorensen as Clea

Ellis Anderson will be at the piano. 

The opera opens on Oct. 20 and 21, 2023 in the Joshi Performance Hall at Indiana University.

Dreams and Visions (Searching the Shadows) for oboe, viola, piano . . . “Rusche’s ability to summon spiritual energies in her compositions.” (Ingle) . . . “We wanted to present a female creative consciousness.” (Rusche) -- both quoted by Jack Walton, Tribune Correspondent, South Bend Tribune, February 2020.  This article re-published in the International Double Reed Society Quarterly Journal The Double Reed, Vol. 43, No. 2 (2020). 

Eclipse and Piano Portraits: Nightwatch (piano solos) . . . “It’s music just as wonderful as you can hear in Manhattan, or anywhere else, and obviously we heard that here tonight.” -- Randall Horton quoted by Andrew Shilling, Arts Writer for Queens Ledger, Forest Hills Times, Greenpoint Star, New York City press, March 2013  

Eclipse (piano solo) " . . . a particularly evocative piece -- Rusche conjures extremes of sunlight and darkness, then the moon's shadow hiding the sun's light, finally resolving into an embodiment of the sun's renewed brilliance . . . In 'Eclipse" Rusche has managed to write a complicated intellectual piece while still presenting a pleasant, highly listenable musical narrative." -- Jack Walton, South Bend Tribune, February 2010  
Dreaming the Ragwaltz Blues (piano concerto) . . . “The powerful melodies told a story ending in a whisper of silence.” -- Marcia C. Porter, South Bend Tribune, April 2003  
Fanfare for the Millennium (full orchestra) . . . “an international flavor, combining folk- inspired melodies, vigorous percussion and sometimes playful exchanges between sections of the orchestra . . .. accessible and echoing with recognizable motives.” – Julie York, South Bend Tribune, April 2000  
She Stoops to Conquer (chamber opera) . . . “Moments of dramatic revelation play in counterpoint to tightly crafted comedic scenes . . . Rusche’s instrumental accompaniment sets the tone for each scene . . . ‘I wanted a variety of textures on stage – musical textures, dramatic textures, emotional textures,’ Rusche said.” -- Julie York, South Bend Tribune, May 1999  
Goddess Songs (choral dance opera) . . . “musical exploration of the mythology of seven Greek goddesses . . . The evocative text, by Rusche, creates images of each goddess, poetic yet emphasizing the feminine as it most clearly resonates with modern concerns about love, desire and relationship. The music is dramatically apt, at ease with the text, and heartfelt.” – Mike Steele, Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 1996