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Playwright      Opera Librettist      Musical Bookwriter      Lyricist     Screenwriter

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White Witch is based on the 19th century Jamaican legend of Annie Palmer, a woman notoriously known as “The White Witch of Rose Hall.” At the beginning of the opera, Annie appears in the moonlight in the garden of her plantation, amid her voodoo totems to prepare herself to kill her rival, the young girl Giselle whose slave husband Henry Taylor is her current lover. As she undergoes the voodoo ritual of calling to the chief voodoo god Father Legba to give her strength and become an instrument of his power, Annie remembers her previous conquests. First she murdered her first husband John Palmer, the weak, impotent master of Rose Hall, then her second husband Antoine, her ardent slave lover whom she dispatched because he was socially beneath her class, then her third husband Clarence Hutchins, a fraud and imposter, as well as a host of other slave lovers from the plantation. As she continues to prepare for the death of Giselle, Annie recalls how she learned the sacred arts of voodoo from her island nursemaid Marie Toussaint in Haiti. She also remembers with bitterness the sexual abuse by her own father and how her mother stood by and let it happen, and how the sacred arts were her only salvation. With these charms she casts a spell, a curse upon Giselle.
Annie goes from the lusty highs of empowerment to the stark lows of loneliness when her reverie is interrupted by three calls of the raven. She realizes that Father Legba has abandoned her for her abuse of her voodoo powers and that he will empower the slave Takoo, grandfather of Giselle and one of Annie’s former lovers, who will kill her using his own voodoo charms. As her impending death looms ahead, Annie becomes circumspect, recalling her unhappy past. Only then does she show regret and acknowledges her own human frailty. In true operatic fashion, Annie faces her fate stoically. With regal bearing she leaves the sacred voodoo circle with her head held high.
 Premiere: The Thalia at Symphony Space (NYC), October 23-25, 2014
                        Directed and Choreographed by: Lynn Neuman
                        Contralto: Christina Ascher
                        Percussionist: Jared Soldiviero
                        Video and Projection Design: Gail Scott White
                        Costume Design: Malinda Crump

Concert: Roulette (Brooklyn, NY), December 8, 2016
                        Mezzo-Soprano: Blythe Gaissert
                        Percussion: Jared Soldiviero

Published: American Composers Alliance, Inc. (2014) 



A Monodrama in One Act

Music by Brian Schober

Libretto by Joan Ross Sorkin

World Premiere of Contemporary Opera White Witch 

October 23-25, 2014, 8pm at

Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space 

Brian Schober  •  Composer  /  Joan Ross Sorkin  •  Librettist

Poster Design: Victor Johnson