We often believe that operas have older ideologies that do not touch us in our modern world. I tend to disagree. Vanessa is a modern opera written in 1956. It captures the fragility of the human psyche, and is what I perceive as a story about mental illness. A story about loss, loneliness and isolation, not unlike the present day pandemic, which could threaten the mental stability of so many of us.
Introducing my vision of Erika, frozen in grief, based on the aria “Must the Winter Come so Soon” from S. Barber’s opera “Vanessa”. Erika is a ray of sunshine in a twisted and broken world. She is hope, joy, youth and innocence amidst a home filled with deception and loss. Although we hope that she escapes the darkness of the world surrounding her, she does not end up overcoming it. She loses her will to fight, lies outside and uses the cold to put an end to her pregnancy.
So as Winter approaches and as the lights dim low, do not forget to check on your loved ones. A holiday season in quarantine will be hard, especially for those alone. Love the people around you, let them know you are there, because even the brightest of stars can lose themselves in a night sky.
Vanessa : Must the Winter Come So Soon (Barber)

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