The Wanton Sublime

Tarik O’Regan

Anna Rabinowitz

Performance forces:
mez — fl/picc, 2perc, acoustic git, electric git, vln, vla, vc, db, pre-recorded mezzo soprano



Monodrama for mezzo-soprano and ensemble. “What does it mean to be chosen?” The Wanton Sublime, a 2014 commission from Tarik O’Regan and Anna Rabinowitz, explores the human and mythic aspects of the Virgin Mary. In this one-act monodrama for mezzo-soprano and amplified chamber ensemble, Mary struggles to retain her flesh and blood identity in the face of external forces intent on symbolizing her as the ideal woman. The music for The Wanton Sublime highlights the interplay, as found in Anna Rabinowitz’s libretto, between the iconic image of Mary and her physical being. The instrumentation of the amplified ensemble gives weight to this bifurcation: at times it is light and celestial, and on other occasions heavy and of the earth. The voice of Mary, although sometimes fragmented and layered, inhabits the territory in between. This musical drama is played out in mosaic form, with small glimpses of thematic ideas repeated and combined in differing combinations throughout the work. The overall image, formed from various permutations of the protagonist’s myriad fleeting, juxtaposed thoughts and utterances, is only seen from a distance.