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This daring, visceral new opera refracts one of the most monumental novels in the English language through the consciousness of a character still gaining her voice 100 years after its publication. The epic journey of Homer’s Odyssey—as retold through James Joyce’s earthy modernist portrayal of a single day in Dublin, Ulysses—is infused into the interior lives of interconnected characters rocked by grief. NIGHTTOWN presents the debaucherous “Circe” chapter of Joyce’s story through the perspective of Molly Bloom (Joyce’s “Penelope” character), whose final-chapter soliloquy is the only time she holds narrative focus in the novel. The opera portrays Molly’s own odyssey—rife with contemporary overtones on this timeless story—from dreamy musings in bed next to her sleeping husband into a wild world of her own imagination. Through dramatic forays into sexuality, sedition, collision, confrontation, transgression, and ultimately, profound loss, NIGHTTOWN shows us that time and time again, the “longest way round is the shortest way home.”
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