The Gospel at Colonus
Composer: Bob Telson
Librettist: Lee Breuer
Other Artistic Personnel: The work was conceived, adapted, and directed by Lee Breuer.
Original Cast: Morgan Freeman, Isabell Monk, Carl Lumbly, Carl Williams, Jr., Jevetta Steele, Robert Earl Jones, Kevin Davis, Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, J.J. Farley and the Original Soul Stirrers, J.D. Steele Singers, The Colonus Messengers, Wesley Boyd's Gospel Music Workshop Choir, and others.
Premiere Date: November 08, 1983
Producing Company: Brooklyn Academy of Music
Description: Sophocles' Gospel at Colonus is re-conceived as parable-like sermons about fate and death. The Telson/Breuer work is set in a Black Pentecostal church. After years of wandering with his daughter, Antigone, suffering and repentant for his earlier sins done in innocence, Oedipus comes to Colonus, the holy resting place that has been promised for his death. The citizens of Colonus turn him away. His second daughter, Ismene, finds him with Antigone and brings Oedipus the prophet, that he shall now be blessed and anyone he blesses will also be blessed. He is instructed to pray to the gods he once offended. Theseus, King of Athens, hears his prayer and is moved by Oedipus' story. Oedipus and his daughters are welcomed to Colonus. Hearing this, Creon, King of Thebes, tries to bring Oedipus back to that city. Oedipus refuses to go, so Creon seizes Antigone and Ismene, but Theseus has the daughters returned. Oedipus' eldest son, Polyneices, comes for his father's blessing but is rebuffed. At his death, Oedipus passes on to Theseus alone his knowledge of life and his blessing. The final sermon reminds the congregation to mourn no more, for Oedipus has found redemption.
Reviews: The New York Times, Mel Gussow, 4-3-88; The New York Times, Frank Rich, 3-25-88; The New York Times, Wendy Smith, 3-20-88; The New York Times, John J. O'Connor, 11-8-85; The Washington Post, Courtland Milloy, 12-16-84; The Wall Street Journal, Edwin Wilson, 12-13-84; The Washington Weekly, Bob Mondello, 12-10-84; The Washington Post, Megan Rosenfeld, 11-25-84; The Washington Times, Hap Erstein, 10-30-84; The New York Times, Stephen Holden, 10-26-84.
Comments: Based on an adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus (Fitzgerald version) and incorporating passages from both Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and Antigone (Fitts/Fitzgerald versions). The work was conceived, adapted, and directed by Lee Breuer.
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: Gospel Chorus
Orchestration: Drums, electric bass, electric guitar, piano, organ, synthesizer, trumpet, trombone, soprano, alto, and baritone saxophones
Musical Style: American gospel music blended with jazz, rock, and popular music
Contact: Boodle Music, c/o Bob Telson
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2005 Audience Development Design
Project Name: GOSPEL AT COLONUS - Audience Survey
Awardee: Mississippi Opera Association
Audio Visual Materials

From left to right: Dr. Earl F. Miller
Courtesy of: Mississippi Opera; Photo credit: T.C. Perkins

From left to right: Dr. Earl F. Miller, Tonea Stewart, Cynthia Goodloe Palmer, The Reverend Teddy Cross
Courtesy of: Mississippi Opera; Photo credit: T.C. Perkins
Schedule of Performances Listings
The Gospel at Colonus (Telson)
Saturday, January 29, 2005 - Mississippi Opera
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

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