An opera tale of star-crossed lovers

By John Zirkle WMPAC Artistic Director

BIG SKY – For the first time ever, an opera is coming to Big Sky.

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center is bringing to the stage “The Dybbuk,” a contemporary and critically acclaimed opera, the likes of which you may have never seen before.

But don’t rely on whatever vague and likely inaccurate image you may have in your mind. Opera explores life’s biggest questions and confirms the turmoil and comedy that permeates the human condition, which makes the genre accessible to all.

Everyone can learn something from opera, and everyone can enjoy it.

Consider the big question that begins “The Dybbuk”: “Oh, why and wherefore the soul descends from the highest heights to the deepest depths? From the depths it will rise much higher.”

When you think about it, this is the same question Bruce Wayne’s father asked his son in the film “Batman Begins”: “Why do we fall, Bruce?”

And indeed, “The Dybbuk” is a contemporary show. Written by Ofer Ben-Amots, featuring opera superstars like Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, and staged with projected imagery, “The Dybbuk” – which is Hebrew for a “malevolent wandering spirit” – is a modern take on a tale as old as time.

Think of the story as a mix of “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Exorcist.” Leah is rich. Channan is poor. Leah’s father doesn’t want Leah to marry a poor man, which puts Channan in a tricky place.

Later in the story, Channan’s “dybbuk” finds his way back to Earth and possesses Leah right before they break the glass at the wedding. Leah is confused, not knowing what to do with her dead lover’s spirit possessing her body. The Rabbi takes action and decides to perform an exorcism, which is when things really take a turn for the melodramatic.

To see if Leah figures it all out, come to the WMPAC production of “The Dybbuk,” and become part of local history as the opera comes to Big Sky for the first time.

“The Dybbuk” on Feb. 27 will feature a pre-concert Q-and-A with the composer Ofer Ben-Amots, as well as an art opening at 6:30 p.m., featuring abstract works by local students and regional artists.

Visit warrenmillerpac.org for tickets and more information.