If Only I Could Give You The Sun

Chamber Opera | 30′

In a nonbinary/trans, utopic reimagining of the original myth, Icarus finds themselves entrapped in a never-ending maze played by the instrumentalists and an aleatoric chorus of unstable, disembodied voices. The maze beckons them to submit to the societal expectations of their body/gender or fall to their death in the same way we know the myth ends. Daedalus, shifting in and out of different roles they’ve played in Icarus’s life, pushes Icarus to take risks and figure out what they want for themselves. Finally, with acceptance and the willingness to take the leap of faith, Daedalus and Icarus build the wings together and Icarus flies up and away, claiming life and agency for their body/gender beyond the myth and beyond expectations.

It was important to us that the role of Icarus be accessible to anybody regardless of birth assigned gender. Icarus was composed and designed to be flexible about what octave it’s sung in, making it accessible to a wider variety of trans and/or nonbinary singers. In contrast, as Daedalus shifts between the different roles in Icarus’s life, the music was crafted to have some musical similarity throughout to help ground the audience in the idea she is an avatar that’s morphs into those roles but is still Daedalus. Overall, the key centers throughout the narrative progress from timbres that are dark/worried, to nostalgic and then warm/bright, while maintaining an undercurrent of instability transitioning to stability within the harmony.

Finally, in this queering of the myth, in which we insert our own agency as nonbinary artists over the music + myth, we made sure to subvert the idea that queerness results in tragedy and instead turn to utopia. While this is Icarus’s story, we wanted both Icarus and Daedalus to have a sense of discovery and growth within their character arcs. In the end, we believe that we can have self-autonomy, the support of our family and friends, and continue to live life to the fullest.

Text:

If Only I Could Give You The Sun features a libretto by Brain Dang