Keri Lee Pierson, stage director
Allana Bogan, music director
Franci de Castanheiro de Freitas, piano
Trinity Peace as Orinda
Selah-Marie Castellano as Rosania
Sara Murray as Lucasia
Premiered February 9, 2024
Soprano, lyric (Eb4-Bb5)
Soprano or Mezzo, colluratura (E4-A5)
Mezzo, lyric (Bb4-E5)
Katherine Philips was a 17th-century English poet known during her lifetime as “The Matchless Orinda.” She and her close friends took on nicknames as members of a Society of Friendship, a group she created to discuss religion, art,
and the nature of humanity. Other nicknames included Lucasia and Rosania, two of Philips' closest female friends. Philips' sexuality has long been under question due because of her poetry's perceived sapphic nature,
the belief that her husband was 40 years her senior, and her reactions to her friends getting married (notably Lucasia.) However, her husband's age has recently been disputed,
and many poetic scholars argue that her poetry adheres to the Society's neoplatonic ideals and represents a spiritual love devoid of any sexual or sensual connotation.
Matchless tells a fantasized story of Orinda struggling with writer's block, while Rosania and Lucasia manifest as opposing sides of her personality to help her meet her deadline to restore her reputation after her last failure.
The poem used in this micro-opera is Philips' “To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship.”