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The rock opera, Magdalene, Woman of Light taps into the groundswell of interest created by the DaVinci Code, but its genesis occurred before Dan Brown set forth for mass public consumption the premise that Mary Magdalene was not merely an ancillary Biblical character but a major figure in the Christian hierarchy. In 2000, Michele Wagner and Susan Griffin began an intense study searching for the true story of the Magdalene. They began conceptualizing the plot, writing lyrics, and in 2004, Luma Lor (Kama Devi) joined them and began creating the music. The first full production of Magdalene, Woman of Light was performed in October 2008 with 15 shows at the New Denver Civic Theatre. It is the intention of the collaborators to take the opera to an even larger audience in the future, with the ultimate vision being to take it to audiences world-wide.

 

The first read through of the opera for an invited audience occurred in February 2004. The first public performance of some of the music took place at Unity Church in Boulder, Colorado for over 600 people in July 2005 where both performances received standing ovations.

 

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A Preview of the opera was performed at Old Main Theatre on the University of Colorado Campus in August 2005 as part of the Boulder International Fringe Festival. There were standing ovations at each of the five performances with increased audience attendance at each subsequent performance. In December of 2006, an interactive and experiential performance was given of the opera's core music in Lafayette, Colorado. In November 2007, a Staged Reading of the completed opera was performed at the Boulder Dinner Theatre for an invited audience of 300.

 

In a three-act libretto, the story is told through haunting music, drama and dance. With minimal set design, the opera capitalizes on the use of light, sound, and multi-media to convey and move the story along, taking Magdalene from her early beginnings in ancient Egypt where she was trained as a priestess in the tradition of Isis and Osiris, to the search for the beloved and her sacred union with Jesus. The story continues with his elevation of her as the first of Apostles, the one entrusted with carrying out his legacy, the rift this causes with Peter, and both Magdalene and Peter's descent into darkness.

 

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Magdalene's call upon her ancient lineage brings her back into the light, as Peter, lamenting what he has done, finds it within himself to trust once again the love that is his. Together they embark on a new way of being in this world.

 

Based on the millions of copies that sold around the world of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code and the explosion of publications on related topics, the opera's story is destined to appeal to a wide audience. The general public has begun to re-evaluate the centuries old patriarchal grip that has so long dominated Christian thought. Roger Woolger, a British psychologist, author and expert on the Holy Grail, believes that the past decade has seen a huge change in the collective consciousness. “The attraction to Magdalene has to be seen as a profound awakening of modern consciousness to the idea that the divine – the idea of God, and his human incarnation and son, Jesus – can no longer be separated from their female counterparts and partners," he says in the publication, Inner Vision.

 

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He further asserts that people are realizing that acceptance of the exclusively masculine image of God in Christianity is not only distorted, but dangerous in its neglect of the reverence for a complementary female figure. “After being suppressed, denigrated, and persecuted for two thousand years," says Woolger, “the Great Goddess is finally returning in all her beauty, wisdom and glory – as the Magdalene." She's coming . . .