The “visual styles” shown in the slide-show above pertain to Acts I, II, and III of In a Mirror, Darkly — a full-length opera with music (the score) by Christopher Weiss and words (the libretto) by me.  Here’s a mini-synopsis:

In a Mirror, Darkly: A Composite Opera

Act I – The Lady of Shalott

Act II – A Woman Scorned

Act III – That Dame

Three artists, three eras, three locales – Camelot in the medieval period, then Paris in the 1890s, then Manhattan in the post-war 1940s.

The opera written by Mags and Christopher consists of three one-act stories.  Each act tells the story of an artist who also happens to be a woman.  Elaine in Act I is a Weaver; Elaine in Act II is a Painter; and Elaine in Act III is an Actor.  Each woman wants the freedom to create, but each is stymied by gender stereotypes and restrictions.

The performance moves swiftly through one artist’s story, then the next, then the next – with the final explosive quartet of Act III followed by a shattering denouement.


Christopher and I were (as Chevy Chase would say) “happy campers!” when we were notified by New York City Opera that In a Mirror, Darkly won a performance spot (excerpts, not the whole opera) in VOX 2012.

Please feel free to read more about Christopher and about me as a librettist by clicking on the following links:

1. VOX 2012: An Opera Lover’s Buffet of What is in the Works (New York Times)

2. Mags:Opera Fest Will Give DeLand Librettist Chance to Schmooze (DBch News Journal)

3. Mags:DeLand Librettist Heading to New York Opera Festival (DBch News Journal)

4. Mags: DeLand Librettist Holds Meet and Greet (DBch News Journal)

5. Pellicciotti Prize: In a Mirror, Darkly Named a Winner of Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize (Crane School of Music)

6. Christopher Weiss: Composer

Oh and by the way, our composite opera is the first ever.  It’s true.  Opera buffs always want to cite Puccini’s Il trittico or Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman as precursor composite operas, but they’re not.  Puccini’s is three separate one-acts that bear no conceivable relation to each other, and Offenbach’s is a classic example of an integrated “frame tale.”

Though we didn’t specifically set out to do so, therefore, Christopher and I broke new ground with our opera.  What’s the meaning of “composite”?  Basically, it means that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.  It’s a gestalt.  It’s like Margaret Atwood famously said: “A fist is more than the sum of five fingers.”

And the point of a composite opera is that the audience wins because there’s no downtime, no long boring middle section where the old guys in tuxedos get to doze.