Directors' Choice Award Winner
by Jeff Baker
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Psyche (Soprano) A Princess. The most beautiful girl in the world. A willful, moody 16 year-old looking for true love. Brave, smart and ultimately, wise.
Eros (Tenor) Son of Venus. The God of Romantic Love. Handsome, mischievous, an eternal youth.
Venus (Mezzo Soprano) The Goddess of Beauty. Powerful. Expects worship, but has a motherly side.
The Oracle of Venus (Baritone) Ambitious. Pompous. Cartoonish.
The King (Baritone) Psyche's father. A loving father trying as best as he can to bring up his teenage daughter after losing his wife.
The Chorus- (SATB) The Villagers, with Yolanda, the fruit lady (S)
The Skeptic (A)
The Baker (T) The Zealot (T) The Drunk (B)
Love that goes beyond physical attraction has been well explored from at least one point of view: A woman able to love an unattractive man. Think "Beauty and the Beast,” "Phantom of the Opera," even “The Honeymooners.” The reverse, however, a man and an unattractive woman has received less, if any, attention. The Greek myth of Psyche offers an opportunity to examine that possibility, for what begins as an archetypal romance: a fairy tale between the most beautiful princess on Earth and the most handsome “prince,” Eros, the God of Love, faces a real test when sacrifices made for love lead to the Princess's disfigurement.
Psyche is 16 and the most beautiful princess on Earth. Her father's subjects are celebrating the Festival of Venus, The Goddess of Beauty, where they intend to worship Psyche, the incarnation of the Goddess, they believe. This upsets Psyche. She is afraid she will never find true love and happily marry because of this supernatural status. Her father, the King, insists Psyche go. Reluctantly, Psyche attends the festival.
The Oracle of the Temple of Venus appears at the festival and rebukes Psyche and the villagers for their heresies causing her to flee. Venus, the real Goddess, appears and furious at being replaced by a mortal, decides to curse Psyche by having her son Eros, The God of Love, make the young girl fall in love with something hideous.
Meanwhile, Psyche persuades her father to ask the Oracle to divine her marriage prospects. At the reading, the Oracle seizes the opportunity to 'wed' her to a monster on a near-by mountaintop.
Eros has saved Psyche from the monster and taken her to his heavenly palace.
With worship returning to her temple, Venus summons Eros to congratulate him. Eventually, The God of Love confesses everything. Furious, Venus commands him to bring Psyche to her.
Eros disobeys and he and Psyche are about to embrace when Venus appears, imprisons Eros in a glass cage, and gives Psyche a task: If she wishes to free Eros she must travel to Hell and retrieve the Urn of Eternal Beauty. Feeling honor- bound because he saved her life and in love, she agrees.
Psyche succeeds and returns to the imprisoned Eros but soon realizes that her trial has left her disfigured and no longer attractive so she drinks the beauty potion herself. Having anticipated this possibility, Venus had already switched it with one containing a sleeping spell. Eros is awakened and runs to Psyche but finding her repulsive, flees. Venus commands the Oracle to bring Psyche back to Earth.
Years later, Eros appears to Psyche, now a Queen, and confesses that he cannot live without her and presents her with the real Urn of Eternal Beauty. She considers drinking but realizes that Eros cannot love her as she is, for who she is. She tells him she can not blame him for remembering the way she was, that she also loves him, but is no longer a child.
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