Libretto by Mike Lala
Music by Joshua Abraham Getman
Conducted by Jesse Brault
Directed by Arthur Makaryan
“Breaking news specials flash on the back screen of the performance. In general, Oedipus, Antigone, and the news editor-in-chief play their drama against the backdrop of television screens, flashes and spotlights - all these iconic manifestations of today.
An interesting and unexpected reading of the ancient Greek tragedy [that] plunges the spectator...into complete delight!”
- Sona Meloyan, Voice of Armenia
The year is 401 B.C., or 2016 A.D. Or 2020.
Oedipus, exiled from Thebes for crimes against nature, arrives on the outskirts of Athens, blind, guided by his daughter Antigone, with a Delphic plan. Bent on taking the throne (and holding the gods to their promise), Oedipus makes an offer to the people: install him as their leader, rewrite their constitution, and protect him from an investigation emerging from Thebes. In return, Oedipus will channel the gods' power to protect and raise up Athens—above cosmopolitan Thebes, above warring Persia—and above a freakish storm brewing on the horizon.
But Antigone misses glittering Thebes (and her heartthrob brother Polynices), and as Oedipus turns his sights on the city that exiled him, a prophecy extending the family curse threatens to upend his revolution. Reinventing Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus and inverting the Oedipal impulse toward female agency, Oedipus in the District is an opera about rhetoric, family, wealth, and power—how power given can't easily be taken back, and power taken can't easily be kept.