November 8, 1983
The Gospel at Colonus
Composer:Bob Telson
Librettist:Lee Breuer
Sophocles' Gospel at Colonus is re-conceived as parable-like sermons about fate and death. The Telson/Breuer work is set in a Black Pentecostal church. After years of wandering with his daughter, Antigone, suffering and repentant for his earlier sins done in innocence, Oedipus comes to Colonus, the holy resting place that has been promised for his death. The citizens of Colonus turn him away. His second daughter, Ismene, finds him with Antigone and brings Oedipus the prophet, that he shall now be blessed and anyone he blesses will also be blessed. He is instructed to pray to the gods he once offended. Theseus, King of Athens, hears his prayer and is moved by Oedipus' story. Oedipus and his daughters are welcomed to Colonus. Hearing this, Creon, King of Thebes, tries to bring Oedipus back to that city. Oedipus refuses to go, so Creon seizes Antigone and Ismene, but Theseus has the daughters returned. Oedipus' eldest son, Polyneices, comes for his father's blessing but is rebuffed. At his death, Oedipus passes on to Theseus alone his knowledge of life and his blessing. The final sermon reminds the congregation to mourn no more, for Oedipus has found redemption.

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Opera MississippiThe Gospel at Colonus1/1/2005 - 1/29/2005

OPERA America/Opera.ca Grants Awarded
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The Opera Fund: Audience Development 2005

Title Information

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Musical Style
American gospel music blended with jazz, rock, and popular music

Vocal & Musical Forces
Drums, electric bass, electric guitar, piano, organ, synthesizer, trumpet, trombone, soprano, alto, and baritone saxophones; several small gospel vocal groups, one large gospel chorus, seven actors

Original Cast
Morgan Freeman, Isabell Monk, Carl Lumbly, Carl Williams, Jr., Jevetta Steele, Robert Earl Jones, Kevin Davis, Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, J.J. Farley and the Original Soul Stirrers, J.D. Steele Singers, The Colonus Messengers, Wesley Boyd's Gospel Music Workshop Choir, and others.

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