Manifest Destiny (opera)

Manifest Destiny (opera)

Manifest Destiny is a British opera composed by Keith Burstein with a libretto by Dic Edwards. The opera is notable for dealing with the subject of Islamic suicide bombers, and with the ramifications of both the Middle Eastern conflict and the War on Terror.

Set in the present day or "near-future", the complex plot centres on a harrowing journey through the War on Terror by the Palestinian poet Leila who - along with her friend Mohammed - is radicalised and drawn into a suicide bomber cell, leaving her lover (the Jewish composer Daniel) in a state of hysterical blindness due to his despair at her loss and at the state of the world. Leila and Mohammed subsequently undergo a profound change of heart and, on the eve of their suicide mission, renounce violence and reject their own bombs. However, their attempts to achieve a more peaceful resolution to their lives (in the face of a brutal and cynical war campaign involving the President of the United States of America and her Director of CIA) result in them becoming further - and fatally - entangled in the conflict when Mohammed takes the fatal step of "saving" Leila by turning her over to American forces, leading to her internment and subsequent death in Camp X-Ray. The plot is resolved when Mohammed retrieves the dead Leila's poetry as a completed libretto, which he brings back to Daniel to set to music (effecting a symbolic reconciliation between Jewish and Palestinian cultures in spite of realpolitik interests and personal tragedy).

Manifest Destiny has attracted a large amount of press attention due to its themes, content and subject matter - including scenes showing the preparations for a suicide bomb raid and the incarceration and maltreatment of Leila in Camp X-Ray (the latter of which was a scene written prior to public knowledge of the events at Abu-Ghraib). An accusation in the press was the subject of a libel action (Burstein vs Associated Newspapers) in the British High Court.

The opera has been staged twice: once at London's Tricycle Theatre in 2004 and once at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005.

Six years after the Edinburgh performances, the opera was extensively rewritten and restaged in London as Manifest Destiny 2011.

Read more about Manifest Destiny (opera):  Composition and Inspiration, Performance History, Critical Response, Recordings

Other articles related to "manifest":

Manifest Destiny (opera) - Recordings
... Although performance recordings (both audio and video) exist, ManifestDestiny has not yet been recorded for professional release ...

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