Hervararkviða (The Incantation of Hervor)

2016

Composer:
Melissa Dunphy

Librettist:
Melissa Dunphy

Composer website:
https://www.melissadunphy.com/compositions.php

Composer contact:
melissa@mormolyke.com

Performance forces:
mezzo-soprano — vln, harp

Length:
0:12

Languages:
English

Notes:
Hervararkviða tells the story of Hervor, a Viking warrior princess immortalized in Old Norse Poetic Edda, in which she raises her father from the dead to demand a cursed sword that is her birthright. In "To my mother," Hervor asks her mother to assist in hiding her gender; she will embark on her journey as a man, Hervarth. In "To a stranger," Hervor encounters a frightened shepherd who refuses to help her in her quest. The final song addresses Hervor/Hervarth's father in his grave. Despite its age, the story resonates with modern-day issues of feminism, patriarchal expectation, and gender fluidity. Text adapted from the Icelandic saga Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks by Melissa Dunphy.