Episodes of women drowning their children have caught an exhaustive volume of sensationalist news coverage. Did you notice? Who are these matriarchs rolling their offspring into the deep with such conviction? The year 2001 saw the highly publicized and horrifying spectacle of Andrea Yates, who calmly and methodically drowned her five children in her own bathtub. Closer to our Bay Area home was Lashaun Harris, a mother who pushed her three naked sons into the bay off of Pier 7 in San Francisco. She reported that she heard instructions from God in her head. Having grown up in a strongly religious family, acclaimed local composer Erling Wold took interest in Harris’ story. Combining powerful conviction in a higher power with such a ghastly act confounded Wold, and he has translated his thoughts into an unconventional chamber opera, Certitude & Joy. A dancer and an actor are each paired with a singer, who follows them in their performance. The accompanying musicians are anchored by two grand pianos, whose output soars between light and lofty, and dark and obscure. Such compelling interpretation is sure to thrill audience members.
Sun., March 25, 8 p.m., 2012