The audience roared to its feet at the conclusion of the premiere of the new opera, Slaying the Dragon on Thursday night, with music by Michael Ching and an original libretto by Ellen Frankel. Perhaps you know the name, Ellen Frankel? Former long-time CEO of Jewish Publication Society and author of numerous books, a life-time goal, to create opera was satisfied in this powerful event at the Prince Music Theater in downtown Philadelphia. A renaissance woman among us and there’s another week of performances ahead!
Inspired by the true story about a Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan and a transformative series of experiences with a rabbinic couple that was chronicled in the book Not the Sword by Kathryn Watterson, Slaying the Dragon stimulated voluminous lobby discussion of the challenging events portrayed which challenge each of us to find our own courageous voice in a world increasingly rife with racism, hatred and intolerance.
How was it for Ellen? In her own words:
After working on the opera, “Slaying the Dragon” for two years, through nine revisions of the libretto, seven workshops, and hours of collaboration with a team of talented artists, it’s hard to believe that the opera has finally taken its bow on the stage before live audiences — and to enthusiastic applause.There’s no feeling like it in the world!
Slaying the Dragon continues at the Helen Corning Warden Theater June 14 & 16 at 8:00 pm and June 17 at 2 pm. It is appropriate for a wide age range and those from all backgrounds. As Ellen added: “I’ve been incredibly gratified by the audience’s positive reaction, especially from a group of African-American high school students, who told me how meaningful and real it was to them. ‘It was so real, so emotional,’ one said.”