Eve of Life - Oratorio - Work-in-Progress
Oratorio by Peter Elyakim Taussig
(Freely adapted from the Gnostic Gospels)
Characters (in order of appearance):
- Narrator - Actor
- Adam - Tenor
- Celestial Choir - Mixed chorus
- God - Bass
- Eve / The Serpent - Contralto
- Pure Spirit - Soprano
The biblical story of the Garden of Eden as we know it is put on its head in this early Christian alternative version. The libretto is freely adapted from Gnostic texts discovered in the 1970s in Nag Hamadi, Upper Egypt, which date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It is radically different from the mainstream Jewish and Christian versions in that it is told from the perspective of Eve and the serpent. In this tale Eve is the bringer of life and consciousness (Gnosis) to humanity, with the serpent, the most enlightened of all creatures, acting as her messenger. The act of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, far from being seen as the "original sin", is portrayed as the first conscious act of humankind, a gift from Pure Spirit and her daughter Eve of Life in defiance of an evil god determined to keep humanity in the darkness of the material world.
Little wonder that this strand of early Christianity was suppressed and exterminated by the church fathers, and yet it rings eerily contemporary in its feminist and spiritual sentiments.
Eve of Life is inspired by various stylistic elements not usually considered compatible, Jewish cantorial, Middle-Eastern, Soul, and orchestral Neo-romantic. The work can be performed with either prerecorded electronic backup or with orchestral accompaniment, or a combination of the two. In live performance it calls for a full symphony orchestra, mixed choir, and soloists.
1. Introduction (1:07)
2. Adam's song (8:00)
3. Birth of God (3:55)
4. Celestial Choir (2:08)
5. Creation of Adam (2:47)
6. Eve's Song (5:34)
7. Narration (0:53)
8. Don't eat (1:37)
9. Narration (0:54)
10. The Serpent's song (4:16)
11. Where are you? (1:05)
12. Narration (0:43)
13. Expulsion_Finale (4:27)
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