A chamber opera in one act, based on texts by Margaret Atwood dealing with witch hunts in Puritan New England. Experimental but lyrical. Avant but accessible. A new kind of opera.
Produced by Seattle EXperimental Opera (SEXO)
During the frenzy of the witch hunts in 17th century
Massachusetts, Mary Webster was accused and
convicted of witchcraft. According to several historical
accounts, she was hung from a tree and left all
night to die. When she was cut down the following
morning, the townspeople were shocked to find that
she had survived the hanging and was still alive.
The Gospel of the Red-Hot Stars recounts the story of
Mary’s fateful night on the tree.
Mary Webster – Maria Mannisto
Paul Karaitis – Cotton Mather
Julia Tai, conductor
Tom Swafford, violin
Jesse Canterbury, clarinet
Chris Stover, trombone
Tom Baker, guitar
Brian Cobb, bass
Greg Campbell, percussion
Libretto, photos and other information at: www.tombakercomposer.com/gospel.htm
The poem “Half-Hanged Mary” is from the poetry collection Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood © 1995 Margaret Atwood, published in the U.S. by Houghton Mifflin. Adapted with permission of the author.
released March 1, 2008
Recording and production made possible through the Artist Residency Program at Jack Straw Cultural Center.
Recorded at Jack Straw Productions by Doug Haire
Mastered at Seattle Disc Mastering by Mark Guenther
CD Design by Mikiko Williams
Produced by Tom Baker for Present Sounds Recordings (www.presentsounds.com
Present Sounds Recordings PS0801
Special thanks to Alissa Rupp, Doug Haire, Allison Van Dyck, Reed Nakayama, Toni Radonich, Greg Carter, The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and the Seattle EXperimental Opera.