A new small British opera, Between Worlds, is attempting to dramatize what it was like for victims in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Composer Tansy Davies and librettist Nick Drake have collaborated on a work Drake calls “a requiem for those who died.” He and Davies were terribly moved by what Drake calls, “ … the profound need of those inside the towers to make contact with their loved ones.”
The duo decided to limit the opera to the single day of the tragedy, telling the story of four fictional protagonists, each of whom says goodbye to their loved ones at the beginning of the opera as they go off to work. Drake writes that they listened to tapes of the victims which recorded their journeys from “daily normality, … confusion, terror, and finally the desperate need to communicate last words.”
Accompanied by other characters, The Janitor, The Shaman, who carries messages between the living, and later, between the living and the dead, and witnesses who function as a Greek chorus, the four fictional characters take the audience on a journey “to the emotional place where human beings, in extremis, confront life and death; to the place where words cease, and only music can help us forward,” says Drake.
Drake concludes, “ … in the end, the message is only this: “my love, my love, my love ….”