Uncharted Waters


First place, National Opera Association new opera competition

Nicole and Donald are followed everywhere (including the bedroom) by their astrological signs, Aries and Scorpio respectively.

Length: 30 minutes

Excerpt - Uncharted Waters     pdflogo (click to launch matching score)

Nicole and Donald, seated next to each other at the opera, feel an attraction but don’t know how to proceed, so – as usual – they ask their astrological signs what to do.

Performed by the Northwestern University Opera Workshop


NICOLE Soprano – A young career woman, confident of herself but inclined to be cautious about everyone else. She wants simple answers, even though she knows there aren’t any.

DONALD Baritone – About Nicole’s age. He likes intellectual pastimes, and is drawn to astrology because it seems a rational way of understanding certain irrationalities – women, love.

SCORPIO  Soprano – As close to the image as possible: pincers, stinger, scaly skin. She moves in ways suggestive of a scorpion – grabbing the air, whipping her tail – while still conveying a stereotypical femininity.

ARIES Baritone – As close to the image as possible: woolly coat, horns. He is grandiloquent, theatrical, with a decisiveness frequently unwarranted by the situation.

Piano only or orchestration: Flute/piccolo, oboe/English horn, clarinet, bassoon, marimba, piano, bass