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Philomel

dramatic song cycle

 

EXCERPT - V. Tereus Chases the Sisters (03:07)


music and text by Justine F. Chen (inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses)
Performed live by Jennifer Zetlan, David Shimoni/piano.



 

synopsis:
Philomel is raped and locked away in a hut with her tongue cut out by her treacherous brother-in-law Tereus.  After sending a tapestry she had woven telling the terrible story to her sister Procne, Philomel is rescued by Procne, and they exact revenge on Tereus by killing his son, Itys, and cooking Itys to feed to Tereus.  When Tereus discovers that he has eaten Itys, he grabs his sword and chases after the sisters, who run to the forest, then are transformed into a nightingale and swallow, while Tereus gets transformed into a hoopoe, a bird that nests in its own feces.



 

Philomel was premiered by Jennifer Zetlan and David Shimoni at the Church of Christ and St. Stephen in New York City at the Marilyn Horne Foundation concert series On Wings of Song, March 8, 2009.  In 2010, a septet version that premiered in Oregon was created for Lucy Shelton and Beta Collide, and premiered in New York in 2012 with Jennifer Zetlan, the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and Constantine Kitsopoulos.  Click here for program notes.

JUSTINE F. CHEN

COMPOSER AND VIOLINIST

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