MasterVoices: Myths and Hymns
The central project of MasterVoices’ 2020-2021 season is a virtual rollout of award-winning composer Adam Guettel’s theatrical song cycle, Myths and Hymns, in an online staging conceived by Ted Sperling. Inspired by Greek myths and a 19th-Century Presbyterian hymnal, the 1998 cycle is a kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres as it explores the nature of faith and longing in a secular world. New short musical films illustrate the protagonist’s attempt to seek answers in four ways – through Flight, Work, Love, and Faith. The four chapters of this personal voyage will be released in free digital installments throughout the winter and spring – Flight (January 13), Work (February 24), Love (April 14), and Faith (May 26). All installments will remain available after their premieres for on-demand streaming on MasterVoices YouTube channel until June 30, 2021. Star artists include Anderson & Roe, Yazmany Arboleda, Julia Bullock, Sammi Cannold, Cloud Chatanda, Lear deBessonet, Khristian Dentley, Renée Fleming, Annie Golden, Joshua Henry, Capathia Jenkins, Steven Kellogg, Mykal Kilgore, Norm Lewis, Jose Llana, Lucy Mackinnon, Danny Mefford, Kelli O’Hara, Elizabeth Stanley, Take 6, Ted Sperling, The MasterVoices Chorus, and more.
The first chapter, FLIGHT, explores the possibility of finding fulfillment by rising up or away. After a jaunty prologue (“Prometheus”), Guettel frames the myth of Icarus as the story of a young man striving to get out from under his famous father’s shadow and shine like the sun. After his crash, the solace and hope of Migratory V expresses the human aspiration to fly together and soar above the troubles below. The retelling of Pegasus explores the fall of the hero Bellerophon when he angers Zeus. The chapter ends with the cycle’s first hymn text, Jesus the Mighty Conqueror, with its refrain consisting of the single word, “rise,” repeated over and over.