“Penelope and the Geese,” an opera in progress that gives a different perspective on “The Odyssey,” will be performed at the University of the South at 5 p.m., Friday, July 12. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Sewanee Union Theatre. It will include a concert reading and a first showing of the full score.
In a traditional read of the Odyssey, we’re meant to admire “faithful Penelope” and consider her and Odysseus’ relationship a beautiful love story. In “Penelope and the Geese,” composer Milica Paranosic and librettist Cheri Magid (former Tennessee Williams Playwright in Residence, 2015-16) tell a different kind of love story, one that levels the playing field. Their opera explores and explodes the issue of faithfulness, asking what the concept really means.
“Penelope and the Geese” is scored for harp, flute and cello and those instruments’ ancient twins, ancient lyre, aulos and Serbian gusle. The singers are all women and they play all the female characters in the Odyssey.
The performance is part of Paranosic and Magid’s two-summer residency at Sewanee and is a co-production with the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, the Office of the Dean of the College and the University of Delaware, where Magid was the inaugural Susan P. Stroman Playwright in Residence.