I first met Cerise Jacobs after one of my productions with Boston Baroque. She hugged me and told me how funny the show was (yes, Baroque can be funny!). I told her I liked to do comedy and got really antsy when I couldn’t find anything in an opera for the audience to at least chuckle about… (directing Lucia di Lammermoor was hellish for me!) So, I was very pleased when she asked me to direct her operatic farce—REV. 23—an imagined extra chapter of the Book of Revelation.
At that time, my knowledge of the Book of Revelation was restricted to faint references to the horsemen of the apocalypse, the number 666, and the whore of Babylon, all of which I imagined were great fodder for jokes! But when I was faced with the original libretto, I soon realized that I was out of my element. Funny yes, but it was crafted with a great knowledge of biblical literature. Since I come from an orthodox agnostic family I was worried I was unsuited for the job, but Cori especially encouraged me to take it on—and bring the non-church going perspective to the project. Also, Sun Tze made me laugh, so I thought, what the hell?
Oddly, on the day I decided to enter this REV. 23 world, including characters from Greek mythology interacting with Christian icons, I was sitting in my local café and found myself next to the minister of the local community church. He became extremely excited when I told him about the project. He shared that Revelation is his favorite book of the bible and that a farcical continuation of it was a perfect idea. If that wasn’t a sign telling me to do the project, I don’t know what is. It’s been my great joy to work with Cerise, Julian, and Cori on REV 23. I hope you enjoy experiencing it as much as I’ve enjoyed helping it to its premiere.
Learn more about director Mark Streshinsky.