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“Storm Light”

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Waller, Leon (American playwright, museum educator, artist, librettist, July 6, 1949-____), and Stephen Cronin (Australian composer, 1960-____), “Storm Light,”

a 45-minute chamber opera drama in three scenes in English, set in the mythical West African Yoruba Kingdom, just before dawn, mythical past,


; • © 1991, 2002 by Leon Waller and Stephen Cronin; • in Leon Waller and Stephen Cronin’s Storm Light (New York: The Authors, 1991, 2002); • script/rights available from Leon Waller, 121 East 10th Street #4C, New York, New York 10003, U.S.A., e-mail lwaller@brooklynkids.org, telephone (home) 212-228-8402, extension 3. • Cited by Leon Waller via ftp August 3, 2004; Waller says,

§ Dramatis Personae Shango (m), Yoruba king; Eshu (m), trickster god; Oya (f), Shango’s chief wife.

§ Synopsis “The play takes place on the eve of these disastrous events. The king is very much in love with his chief wife Oya, with whom his relationship is passionate. The arrival of the trickster god Eshu interrupts this; he is about to change everything by a confrontation and eventual seduction of the king.

§ Comment “This work is called an opera because of the musical nature of the language. It was written as much for singers as actors. It has the potential to be set as an opera, yet it can also be spoken. The actors should be sensitive to the poetic and musical quality of the words. The play is the playwright’s personal version of an African legend concerning the Yoruba King Shango. Traditionally, Shango is said to have been a real king who brought about the death of his wives and children through misuse of magic. He was eventually elevated to the status of Storm god. Storm light is a term I picked up in Australia; it refers to the quality of light just before the arrival of a storm. • I have had a successful collaboration with the Australian composer Stephen Cronin for the last ten or more years as his librettist.” • “Stephen Cronin (1960) was born in Brisbane, Australia. He studied composition and piano at the University of Queensland and was awarded the Master of Music degree in composition and subsequently a Doctor of Philosophy in Composition from that institution. During 1985-86 he studied at the University of London and on his return to Australia was appointed to the staff of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Stephen's works have been performed and commissioned by leading Australian and overseas groups including various orchestras, Duo Contemporain, Octomania, The Seymour Group, Synergy and The Song Company. Many of his vocal works are settings of text written by New York artist Leon Waller. Awards he has received include a Rotary Foundation scholarship, the Percy Brier Memorial Prize for Music Composition (Univ. of Qld 1980, 1982), the Dalley-Scarlett Memorial Scholarship (Univ. of Qld 1986), the inaugural Paul Lowin Song Cycle Award (1991), the A. H. Maggs (Univ. of Melbourne, 1992), Vienna Modern Masters recording project (1992) and an Australia Council Composer Fellowship (1994). As a teacher Stephen believes in exposing students to a broad variety of styles and genres. His composition teaching focusses on the establishment of a solid compositional craft based on strong aural and theoretical foundations. Various projects at QCGU have supported these aims such as The Rag Project and the Composers in Schools Project which have resulted in publication of compact discs of new music by young composers.”—Bio. - Stephen Cronin, http://www.stephen.cronin.name/cronibio.htm, accessed August 3, 2004.

§ Themes Africa, dance, folktale, history, magic, mask, music, mythology, opera, poetry, ritual, song.

See also Leon Waller and Stephen Cronin's

  • "In Kilwa Waiting," a 45-minute chamber opera drama in three scenes in English, set in Kilwa, on the East African Coast, on the eve of the bombardment and fall of the City of Kilwat, 17th Century, 3m (+ m extra)

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Page mounted September 18, 2004, by the Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


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