Change Comes in Full Glory
Time & Location
About the Event
Caroline Spaeth, soprano and Eugenia Forteza, mezzo soprano perform original works by rising composer Felix Jarrar. Jarrar’s Cantata The Unsleeping Ones, which details the religious awakening of St. Alexander the Unsleeping, is presented first. Forteza sings the role of the angel Selaphiel while Spaeth sings the role of the angel Jehudiel. In addition, Forteza sings Jarrar’s original song “Yellow.” Spaeth performs “Voyelles,” with music by Jarrar and text by Rimbaud.
The Unsleeping Ones is telling the story about how Saint Alexander the Unsleeping, recognized in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, received a message from God about how to achieve unceasing prayer. He failed to achieve this earlier in his life when he was a priest, but succeeded by establishing his own monastery. He divided the monks into 24 groups that rotated on the hour, so prayer never stopped. In my cantata, this story is told from the perspectives of two archangels, Selaphiel and Jehudiel. Selaphiel is the angel of prayer and Jehudiel is the angel of the Lord's glory. I felt strongly that this symbolism was pertinent to the story and its message. Outside of the religious narrative, the main theme of this piece is the idea of perseverance through trials and tribulations. As I am not a religious person myself, I found inspiration through the passionate motivation St. Alexander had to reach his goal. This is what makes the cantata's first aria, 'No Thought for Tomorrow' such a special piece for me. It was written at a time when I was losing inspiration and creative joy in music. Through the exploration of this story and bringing together an emotionally compelling narrative in this aria, I fell in love with music again, and, more importantly, learned to appreciate myself and all people who persevere to realize their dreams. “Voyelles” is a setting of a mystically surreal poem about vowels by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. “Yellow” is a song I wrote the music and text for in 2019. “Yellow” symbolically equated intimacy to the color.
-Felix Jarrar on The Unsleeping Ones, “Voyelles,” and “Yellow”
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