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THE PRIESTESS OF MORPHINE (Rhino Fest)

Curious Theatre Branch

Composer Rosśa Crean’s operatic monodrama “The Priestess of Morphine” pays homage to Marie-Madeleine, the Jewish lesbian erotic writer whose works were sought to be destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. Born Gertrud Gunther in 1881, Marie-Madeleine published her first novel “Auf Kypros” at the age of 19, and by the end of her life published 46 works. Sapphic themes, as well as her tumultuous relationship with morphine, were the central theme of much of her work. All of this was further complicated by her marriage to a Nazi official. Her addiction led to her death from overdose in 1944 while in a Nazi asylum. In this collaboration with librettist Aiden K. Feltkamp, Crean paints the depiction of a woman whose literal genius took Germany by storm, and whose mercurial nature and double life led to a nationalist agenda to deem her work unfit and be destroyed. Sopranos Katherine Bruton and Jessie Lyons portray two different aspects of this unusual LGBTQIA+ icon. CW: drug use and forced drug use.

Location: Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Avenue, Chicago IL 60618

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