Premiere New York Premiere
Production Language English;Hindustani;Sanskrit
Country of Origin United States
Description The conflict between emotional and spiritual desire takes center stage in multifaceted theater/film/new music composer Douglas J. Cuomo's cross-cultural chamber opera Arjuna's Dilemma. Based on the Hindu epic Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna's Dilemma finds a great warrior prince looking over a sea of soldiers on the eve of civil war. Recognizing friends and even family in the opposing army, Arjuna falters, fearful of destroying them in the ensuing slaughter. Enter the Hindu god Krishna and cue a choice—for a man with morals in a labyrinthine world—that continues to echo across centuries.
Through a richly syncretic score combining the crisp drumming and vocal work of North Indian music with Western choral, improvised, and new music idioms, Arjuna's Dilemma takes as its spiritual center Krishna, whose counsel to Arjuna (Tony Boutté, operatic tenor) is brought to life by the extraordinary vocal fireworks of Hindustani singer Humayun Khan. In piercing laments and cascading improvisations, Krishna reveals both the splendors and horrors of true reality to Arjuna, urging him to rise above his affections—and fight.