I don’t know yet if it’s simply the general times we are living in, or if the “Great Pause” alone has given rise to ever deepening and restless queries within, but as Gene Scheer perfectly captures in the text of our world premiere, The First Morning of the World: “I am filled with nothing but questions.” EDEN has emerged as an integral part of the journey towards finding answers.
You see, I’m a problem solver, a dreamer, and – yes – I am a belligerent optimist who believes in the incredible power of not only the human spirit to overcome, but with each passing day I trust more and more in the perfect balance, astonishing mystery, and guiding force of the Natural World around us. How much Mother Nature has to teach us through her awe-inducing majesty, her staggeringly complex simplicity, and her ever-present patience. It’s almost as if She has all the time in the world.
EDEN is an invitation to return to our roots. To remember. It is an overture to contemplate the sheer perfection of the world around us, and to explore whether or not we are connecting as profoundly as we can to the pure essence of our being. It is a clarion call to consider if our collective suffering and confusion isn’t perhaps linked to the aching separation from something primal within and around us.
During the pandemic, I observed closely the flowers that emerged from the ground as the “real world” went quiet. Despite our pressing issues of shutdowns and closures, these wondrous miracles arrived – unassuming and unheralded – bursting out of their seed coverings after the long winter’s sleep, modestly employing the water and soil at hand to reach ever higher towards the sky, soaking up the full glory of the sun. But the doubt persists, often in the darkest hours of the night:
“What can I alone do?”
“What difference can I possibly make?”
And the truth is, I’m not at all sure of the answer. The immense and deafening pain and destruction of the world at large often overwhelms me. Any hope of “saving it” seems to float further and further away.
This is then the moment when I seek out the comfort and connection of Music: with each passing day I trust more and more in the perfect balance, astonishing mystery, and guiding force of the Musical World with which we are blessed. Story tellers and creators from Handel to Ives and from Rückert to Portman, who have so much to teach us as they sort through the simple complexity of our human dilemma and search for universal truths, give us guidance and wisdom to aid us in our questioning. Time often seems to stand still when absorbed in the integrated harmonies and rich poetry of great music, and in that beautiful suspension we are afforded the gift to examine, expand and feel. We connect. The painful separation begins to dissipate and we are empowered to act.
EDEN is a call to action to build a paradise for today: to fertilize, nourish, and protect the pure bliss that the deepest part of us knows and yearns for: the unpolluted perfume of a linden branch; the comforting shade of a towering tree; the breathtaking sanctity of pure love; the generosity of the endless light that breaks open for us every single morning; the dying to the world we have known, only to embrace and live aloud in our heaven, our love, and our song. The way I look at it, this is the precise moment in time when each of us is called to participate in nourishing and healing our world and our hearts: repairing where broken, rebuilding where barren, replenishing where exhausted. Both Nature and Music are showing us the way.
Will we answer the call? With that in mind, I ask you:
In this time of upheaval, which seed will you plant today?
Both nature and music are showing us the way – a way dictated by harmony and balance.
Will we answer the call?
EDEN is an invitation to return to our roots and to explore whether or not we are connecting as profoundly as we can to the pure essence of our being.
We always talk about the planet and nature as if we’re apart from it. In truth, we are a living, breathing element – just like the leaves, the trees, the ocean, the stars.
We are all part of this creation.
Joyce DiDonato would like to graciously thank the following for their generous support of EDEN:
Sara Morgan, Ann Ziff, John Studzinski, Franci Neely, Helen Berggruen, McDermott Foundation, Linda Nelson, Kern Wildenthal, John Singer, Michael Beverley DL, The Getty Foundation, David Jacobs, Eva Haller, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon Foundation, Sir Simon Robey, Katherine G. Farley, Tom and Pamela Frame, Ellen Marcus, and Richard Gaddes.
EDEN has been commissioned by University Musical Society of the University of Michigan; the Harriman-Jewell Series, Kansas City; Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation; Cal Performances at University of California, Berkeley; and Stanford Live.