From Arthurian legend we enter the world of Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s half sister and full sister to Elaine and Morgase. Historically Morgan has been called a witch, sorcerer and evil hag but old celtic writings tell us differently. The Monks called her evil but the Celts called her a healer. It is from the celtic women’s perspective that the story of Morgan is told. This is Morgan Le Fay’s voice before it was changed. It is her story back to a time when Britain was changing culturally and spiritually. In Morgan le Fay we enter the latter part of Arthur’s rule. Morgan has retreated to Avalon, an ancient mystical island that worships the goddess. One day Morgan is visited by her sister Elaine whom she has not seen in many years. Something is going on in Britain. Women are being persecuted. Villages burned. Morgan’s name and the name of Avalon are being called evil. Morgan must leave Avalon and save Britain. There is an evil plot to destroy Avalon by Arthur’s nephew Mordred, who has taken over Britain while Arthur is away. Will Morgan be successful? Will Avalon survive? Morgan le Fay is a Opera based on Arthurian legend. In it women with the power hide in Avalon. Merlin is watching from the edges, and a misguided Bishop along with Arthur’s twisted nephew Mordred fight to control Britain, enslave the druids, ruin Arthur’s reputation and destroy Avalon.
Opera Canada Spring 2012
It speaks well for the production of a brand new opera that your first experience of it leaves you wanting to hear it all over again. Such was the case last November with Maritime Concert Opera’s presentation of Morgan Le Fay. Singer, songwriter, voice teacher and Lunenburg native Mary Knickle drew her Celtic opera from Arthurian legend, Le Fay being King Arthur’s half sister. She was branded an evil sorceress by medieval Christian monks, but considered a healer and priestess of the Old Religion by the Celtic people. The opera centers on the dichotomy of Morgan’s legacy as she struggles against rumours of her own infamy and the political gloom of Britain. The story is intriguing, compelling and gripping, and certainly merits a fully staged version.
As a new opera, Morgan Le Fay lacks the comfort of a well-known opera story and familiar tunes, but this was more than offset by the sheer delight of the music. The score is ambitious, melodic and very colourful, clearly influenced by the composer’s own broad range of musical interests. A very strong cast rendered it exquisitely, with powerful harmonies. The two-hour performance was too short to tell an intricate story that needs to be more tightly controlled. Amber Bishop sang her heart out as Le Fay, projecting a character vocally that could easily catch you in her web of sorcery. Her three attendant ladies provided tremendous musical support, with Pamela Rogers contributing an outstanding solo number about the wind. In the end, however, the premiere performance was less about all the artists who joyfully participated in project, led by Music director Andre Haines, than about a talented composer who has created a wonderful new work. – Daphna Levit
Selected Sheet Music can be made available please contact Mary to be notified when it becomes available.
The Seers Song
Morgan, Elaine and Norah trio
Evid’s Solo – I can Remember
Power of the Fianna
I Will Find Them – Bishop’s Song
I Am King Here