Elisabeth Mehl Greene
Composer & Writer
HAJAR - February 15, 2019 - Maryland Opera Studio - University of Maryland, College Park
Elisabeth Mehl Greene's new opera Hajar synthesizes the Jewish and Islamic stories of Hagar/Hajar into a modern tale of a Syrian refugee mother and her son trying to reach safety in America. Hajar confronts the immigration crisis in the United States and worldwide, challenging the acceptance of policies that resist compassion.
Maryland Opera Studio students premiere an opera by the winner of the annual Opera Composition Contest. In its third year, the contest is a joint initiative of the Maryland Opera Studio and Artist Partner Program to support the cultivation and performance of new work.
in eleven movements for choir and instruments
Premiered by Six Degree Singers of Silver Spring, MD
Composer Elisabeth Mehl Greene collaborates with blind poet A. J. Nolte to imagine worlds of color in this muli-movement work for choir and instruments. Each poetic reflection on color invents a culture and landscape, filled with the emotions and imagery of that color. These works became the lyrics for eleven movements for choir. Blue imagines the people of an island, lounging on docks under infinite skies, the lapping of water, and sunset dances on the beach. The Yellow land is a sun-drenched savanna; its riders race its prairies, fearing neither the enemies nor lions they might find there. Red is a country filled with dragons and volcanoes, spice filling the air, its citizens turned veterans of the battle with a violent landscape. In the Green poem, there is a fruitful spring garden. In Orange, we find a burnt desert. Purple castles float in the air with winged carriages and the alchemy of heat and moisture in the clouds. Ten movements interpret the images, moods, and relationships of each color text, and the Palette movement concludes the work combining all the colors.
Most recent performance by Tapestry Opera.
Collaborations with five Canadian librettists written at Tapestry Opera's Composer-Librettist laboratory. Stand-alone scenes have been performed in Toronto, Winnipeg, Texas, and Washington, DC. The Theory of Everything - libretto: Sheldon Rosen | Merk's Dream - libretto: Nick Carpenter | Guitar - libretto: Norman Yeung | Lost and Found - libretto: Sharon Bajer | Naila and Lolo - libretto: Anusree Roy
Resource Publications, 2016, 170 pages
"Poet and biblical scholar Elisabeth Greene has done the nearly impossible in her portrayals of women in scripture, virtually bringing them alive and letting us hear their unique voices by skillfully turning her scholarship into beautiful poetry." -- Christian Feminism Today
"In this accessible collection, Greene gives voices to women in the Bible who have been silenced for too long. Greene's well-informed poems bear witness to the ways women have contributed to God's grand story, while also challenging readers to see the Bible in all its complexities. Reading these poems has deepened my appreciation for scripture and for the women whose lives are inscribed there." --Melanie Springer Mock, Professor, George Fox University
"Greene simultaneously upholds the importance of the scriptural stories in continuing to offer meaning to spiritual seekers today, as well as a willingness to question, dig deep, seek after and find God, and grow in one’s faith through tenacity, hope, creativity, birth, prophecy, grace, wisdom, and friendship." -- Cherice Bock
Journals & Anthologies
- "No Imbalance of Power" and "Unconscious Bias" Erase the Patriarchy Anthology (forthcoming).
- "Running with Hajar," Mizna 19.1 (2018): 55.
- "She Is," Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 33, no. 2 (2017): 177-78.
- "Woodstock Theological Library at Georgetown" District Lines IV Anthology.
Elisabeth Mehl Greene is a composer/writer working in the Washington DC area with a doctorate from the University of Maryland. Her scenes written at Tapestry Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory receive performances around the US and Canada. DC area choir, Six Degree Singers, premiered her choral works including COLOR, an eleven-movement piece for choir and instruments. Greene’s bilingual children’s opera, Ce que raconte le conte / How the Story Goes was read at the Lycée Rochambeau. Her first opera, Reading Lolita in Tehran, was read by the Maryland Opera Studio’s New Works Initiative. Elisabeth is the author of Lady Midrash: Poems Reclaiming the Voices of Biblical Women and her recent literary work appears in the Mizna: Prose, Poetry & Art Exploring Arab America and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. She is a visiting researcher at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.