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Night of Blue Magic (2012)

View and purchase at MusicaNeo

A setting of 22 haiku by Karen Hesse;
2 leads (sop., bar.), small SAB chorus, piano;
(14") 1 continuous act
Video excerpt

A woman is held against her will in a secret place in the center of a lake. A horseman, assigned to guard her and prevent her escape, may also be the man to whom she has been sold. The woman’s dreams give her a chance at escape, but the horseman intercedes. A terrible battle ensues as the horseman seeks to destroy the power of her dreams. Both falter as they “drop into the soundless lake.” But the struggle and seeming defeat has transformed the horseman, and they are now able to encounter each other free of the past.  The opera ends with the hope of a new beginning. 

Witness (2006)

Contact Zae directly to see score.

Based on a book by Karen Hesse;
8 leads, chorus, 7 instruments
(90") 3 acts


Witness is set in a small town in Vermont in 1924. As the Ku Klux Klan's influence grows in the town, choices are made and lines are drawn.  The few Jews and blacks in the town are special targets of the Klan, but the church, the newspaper and local businesses are drawn into the battle as well.  Pressure to join grows and many townspeople are drawn into the Klan. Cross burnings, a shooting, a poisoning, a suicide--all are tied to the Klan, and the community is frayed to the breaking point. Gradually, through the perseverance of individual love, ethical strength, and an underlying sense of justice, the town is able to rebuff the Klan and to embrace and enhance their community's tradition of tolerance and diversity.​

Minnita Daniel-Cox, Erin (Anhut) Schwanger, MalloryO'Brien Gerster, 

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