Chamber opera for soprano, baritone, sopranino recorder, bassoon, cello, and piano
Turnsole is a narrative of obsession: at dawn, a girl admires the Sun’s light and warmth (Scene 1). She sings to the Sun, but he can only give affection and love to the flowers (Scene 2-3). As sunset approaches, the girl wonders what makes the flowers worthy to receive the Sun’s attention. She eventually resolves to plant herself in the earth in order to become a flower (Scene 4). As night falls, the girl’s transformation begins (Scene 6). With the sunrise, the girl is finally united with the Sun (Scene 7).
“The term turnsole refers to a plant which is said always to follow the path of the sun across the sky—a sunflower. Generally, all plants exhibit a violent longing for light. When kept in the shade, they twist and turn and stretch their leaf-stalks beyond all expectations in order to catch some rays of the sun. In olden days this curious habit of theirs was attributed to an occult sympathy between flowers and sunlight. This affection between plants and the great luminary gives them life and beauty and the power of unceasing regeneration. As one approaches a blooming meadow from the east, he will see not a single blossom on the green carpet, but all the tiny, bright cups and clusters looking steadfastly toward the west. All flowers follow with loving devotion the brightness of its light, gazing at the sun, and turning towards it from sunrise to sunset.”
adapted from Appletons’ Journal of Literature, Science, and Art: Volume V, No. 111 (May 13, 1871)
Premiered January 31, 2017 in Bryan Recital Hall at Bowling Green State University.
Libretto by David Chacon
Directed by Brett Pond
Hannah Stroth, soprano
Luke Serrano, baritone
Alex Meaux, recorder and bassoon
Aleks Tengesdal, cello
Emily Morin, piano
Mercedes Diaz, conductor
Version for soprano, flute, bassoon, cello, piano
Scenes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7
Recorded March 24, 2018 in the Conrad Choral Room at Bowling Green State University.
Please contact me if you are interested in performing this work.