Powers of Two (1995) (excerpt)13:05
In Memoriam A.H.H., Hymn to the Moon, Beyond and Sonnet to Orpheus are excerpts of the electroacoustic opera Powers of Two. In Act 1, a duet (a setting of one of 131 stanzas written by Tennyson in memory of his friend, Arthur Hallam) is sung by the two male characters, one gay, the other straight; however, in keeping with the “twin souls” theme, the recorded version is performed by the same singer doing both parts, and is followed by a solo using a Whitman text from Leaves of Grass which also celebrates male bonding. The Hymn to the Moon is sung in Act 2 by the Sibyl in celebration of female powers. Beyond is in Act 4 where the male singer appears to have passed into another realm beyond our reality, yet longs for his lover.The Sonnet to Orpheus closes Act 1 of the opera. Through Rilke’s sonnet, the soprano sings of her longing for the ideal lover who she calls Orpheus, even as she is frustrated by the base desires of her actual lover. The poem expresses her longing for a spiritual epiphany.
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