press to zoom

press to zoom


chamber opera

Program notes:

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.


click here to ​continue to p. 2

To return to the previous page, click here.



SO EXCITED to announce the long-awaited WORLD PREMIERE production of my opera with librettist David Simpatico, THE LIFE AND DEATH(S) OF ALAN TURING!! March 23, 25, 26 2023!
Get your tickets here!

TREMENDOUS GRATITUDE to the amazing, wondrous performers in our workshop of SEVEN SISTERS at Manhattan School of Music 4/8/22!

BRAVI to the terrific students of UMD's prestigious School of Music and Maryland Opera Studio, in their phenomenal performances of my residency concert

and Donald Nally performing the world premiere of my SHALLOW BREATH AND STEALTH on WRTI.ORG 12/19/21!


 All content in this website, including text,

most images and sound files, is ©Copyright 2022 by Justine Fang Chen.