Winner of the 2007 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Music Composition for Opera, The Wooden Sword received its fully staged world premiere performance at the University of Connecticut’s Nafe Katter Theater in November, 2010. It recieved it’s second production by the Stony Brook Opera in March, 2011.
Chamber Opera in One Act
Music by Sheila Silver
Libretto by Stephen Kitsakos
This folk tale of how a simple cobbler’s humility and cleverness provide insight for a mighty king is one of the world’s great archetypal stories. With origins in both Afghan and Jewish cultures, this operatic telling focuses on the powerful but anxious King Zamani who seeks to discover the secret of happiness from Hazim, the poor cobbler. Zamani, disguised as a wanderer, visits Hazim and his family at night and witnesses their joyful singing. The king then makes a series of decrees designed to reduce Hazim to despair, not believing that the cobbler can stay true to his simple philosophy — to trust in joy and not in fear. Hazim, unaware that he is being personally challenged, outwits the king’s obstacles at every turn.
The score incorporates the exotic and lively rhythms of the Near East, straight tone chant, and a contemporary lyricism making it engaging to audiences of all ages. The 70 minute one act opera is scored for 5 soloists, chamber chorus, and an ensemble of 11 players.