Westminster Conservatory will present the world premiere of the opera Youth Without Age and Life Without Death on Sunday, June 11 at 3 p.m. in the Robert L. Annis Playhouse on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton. A free-will offering will be taken at the door.
Written by Carmen Aurora Mateiescu, the one-act opera is based on a Romanian folk tale. Performers are Nancy Froysland-Hoerl narrator; Jonathon Feinstein, tenor; Melania Andrejev, soprano; and Timothy Urban, bass. They will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra featuring Westminster Conservatory faculty and a choral group composed of Westminster Choir College students and singers from the area, under the baton of by Ruth Ochs.
The Romanian folk tale’s theme about defying time appears in similar stories in many cultures around the world, such as Japan’s The Fisher Lad Urashima Taro and the Ireland’s Celtic tale Connla and the Fairy Maiden. The story focuses on a young man’s arduous journey to a land where he is promised youth without age and life without death. Yet, after achieving that ideal, he longs for the family and life he had left behind.
Carmen A. Mateiescu is adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Composition, Theory, and Music History at the Westminster Choir College and faculty at Westminster Conservatory of Music. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Music in Bucharest, Romania and a doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She has conducted extensive research in the traditional music of Romania, where she was a recipient of the Constantin Brailoiu Grant for Ethnomusicological Research. She has written articles on ethnomusicology issues, collaborated on recordings of Romanian traditional music, wrote musicianship textbooks for children, and led a “bridge” course in the theory of western art music for musicians educated in non-European traditions. Her compositions are performed regularly in Princeton, New York, and Philadelphia venues.
This performance has been funded, in part, by PNC Bank, Princeton Friends of the Opera, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy, The Orthodox Christian Fellowship of Princeton University and Westminster Conservatory families.