Scene 1 The Mixing of the Saltwater and the Freshwater (or the Big Bang)
The opera starts with the Sumerian epic poem of creation, the Enuma Elish, which fits poetically into the Big Bang theory. Tiamat, the saltwater ocean and her consort, Apsu, a river of freshwater have sex. They birth the universe in a huge explosion like the Big Bang.
Scene 2 Just after the Big Bang
Tiamat and Apsu rest in each other’s arms after giving birth to the universe. Their children drag Tiamat from Apsu’s arms. Qingu, their son, and Tiamat’s lover, enters with Little Tia, the daughter of their incestuous union. Tiamat makes love to Qingu, enraging Apsu. He plots with Vizier Mummu to kill the children and reclaim his place. When Tiamat finds out, she casts Apsu away.
Tiamat teaches the children their creation story, about the primacy of Chaos to natural development and their destiny to bring the love to the universe. Marduk, another of Tiamat and Apsu’s sons, enters. He overhears Tiamat speaking about the power of love to change the world. He sneers and counters with “Power” – raw naked Power – that’s what he believes will change the world. The children cower before their brother, but Little Tia stands up and tells Marduk he’s wrong.
Scene 3 The Slaughter of Apsu
Apsu’s plan to kill his children is leaked. Marduk preempts Apsu by killing him in his sleep. He seizes the Scepter of Winds which gives him control over the winds of the world, vowing to eliminate all Chaos and Tiamat’s teachings.
Scene 4 The Vengeance of Tiamat
Tiamat makes Qingu Commander of her forces. She gives him the Table of Destinies which controls the fate of all things and commands him to kill his father’s assassins.
Scene 5 The Great Battle
A great battle ensues. Marduk appoints himself Commander of the opposing forces. He captures his mother in his Net of Winds. Qingu tries to save her but is struck down. As Tiamat dies, her tears form the rivers, her body the Milky Way. Marduk exterminates all her people, but one – Little Tia escapes through a wormhole. Marduk vows to hunt her down and eliminate her, the last trace of Tiamat, of Chaos. He determines to bring Order to the world.