THE MAIDEN TOWER
This chamber opera was inspired by the Azerbaijani legend of The Maiden Tower. Spring of 2001, on trip to Azerbaijan, I discovered the story through travel guides. Since there are a few versions of the story, here's the one I remember from my guide book:
There is a building in Azerbaijan whose original function is unknown. It was obviously built in several stages (the brick type and patterning changes dramatically every few meters), an aerial view reveals a paisley shape (a native shape in this Zoroastrian land), and there is one chamber in the building that has no entrance or exit. No one knows what is in the room.
The most haunting of the stories associated with the building involves a King and his daughter, who is approaching adolescence. Having incestuous feelings towards his daughter, and fearing her mutual attraction to the adolescent boys of the kingdom, he decides to keep her safely locked in a tower.
Upon seeing the tower and understanding her fate, the daughter requests, "If I must be locked in the tower, at least make it tall enough so that I can have a good view of your magnificent kingdom."
At her bidding, the king has his builders add a few meters to the top of the structure. When the daughter visits the improved tower, she climbs to the top, looks around, then informs her father the building is not tall enough. So the king has the builders add more on to the structure. When it is finished, again she visits the roof, and again the princess is not satisfied with the height.
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JUSTINE F. CHEN
COMPOSER AND VIOLINIST
SAVE THE DATE! Thrilled to announce my upcoming workshop with the Maryland Opera Studio for their New Work Reading: a new opera with librettist Jacqueline Goldfinger! TWA - Feb 17, 2023!
EXCITED to announce my new commission with the mighty Matt Haimovitz's PRIMAVERA PROJECT!
Check out my Know Them Now video on YouTube! Thanks, BMI!
GET YOUR TICKETS to the long-awaited WORLD PREMIERE of my opera with librettist David Simpatico, THE LIFE AND DEATH(S) OF ALAN TURING!! March 23 & 25 2023! Get your tickets here!
THANK YOU to THE Divine CROSSING and Donald Nally performing the world premiere of my SHALLOW BREATH AND STEALTH on WRTI.ORG 12/19/21!
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