Kepler's Trial: An Opera

source: Cambridge University   2016年7月6日
Johannes Kepler - 1571-1630, is one of history’s most admired astronomers. He defended Copernicus's sun-centred universe and defined the three laws of planetary motion. Less well known is that in 1615, when Kepler was at the height of his career, his widowed mother Katharina was accused of witchcraft. The proceedings led to a criminal trial, with Kepler conducting his elderly mother's defence. The opera, Kepler's Trial, responds to Paul Hindemith's Harmony of the World and other accounts which present Katharina as deranged and witch-like. Based on fresh historical research, by Professor Ulinka Rublack in her book "The Astronomer & the Witch", the new work counters the endemic misogyny against old women which prevailed in the ‘witch-craze’ and continues to be a cultural force. Instead, the book, opera and film explore with sensitivity, empathy and nuance what it meant for Johannes and Katharina to face accusations of witchcraft. The performance is the outcome of a highly unusual creative process, in which a group of scholars met regularly to explore the story. Tim Watts’ opera seeks to illuminate the story through the combination of allusions to the music of the early 17th century with video sequences by Aura Satz that amplify its themes of darkness and light, sight and illusion. At its centre is the depiction of the ageing woman.
Premieres on the 28 October 2016 at St John¹s College, Cambridge.

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