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MARA: A Chamber Opera

Libretto by Stephen Batchelor + Music by Sherry Woods

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

No great transformation is without its obstacles. Upon leaving home at the age of 29 on his quest for enlightenment, Siddhattha Gotama (Siddhartha Gautama) engaged in a sustained struggle to understand and overcome the forces that stood in his way. Once he had realized his goal and become the Buddha, he still had to contend with forces that resisted the establishment of his teachings and community. These psychological, physical, social, and institutional powers are personified in the complex, demonic figure of Mara. In MARA: A Chamber Opera, these deeply human conflicts are played out in a 75-minute performance with a libretto by best-selling Buddhist author Stephen Batchelor and music by Sherry Woods.

This program is co-presented with Tricycle Magazine.


About Stephen Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor is a writer and teacher known for his secular approach to Buddhism. Born in 1953, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of twenty and spent ten years training in the Tibetan Geluk and Korean SÅn orders. Since disrobing he has been engaged in a critical exploration of Buddhism’s role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer. In particular, he regards Buddhism as an evolving culture of awakening, not a system of unchanging doctrines, and considers some traditional Buddhist concepts such as rebirth and karma to be relics of ancient Indian civilization rather than essential teachings.

Since 1986, he has taught at Gaia House meditation center in Devon, England.Ӭ In 2015 he co-founded Bodhi College, a European educational project dedicated to the understanding and application of early Buddhism. He is the author of the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs (Riverhead). His most recent publications are After Buddhism and Secular Buddhism (Yale University Press). He travels worldwide to lecture and lead retreats and lives in southwest France with his wife, Martine.


About Sherry Woods

Composer Sherry Woods‘ music has been described as “beautiful and riveting” (Charleston Post). Her string quartet, Chambers, written for the Ciompi quartet was called “a winner” that “swarmed with shimmering color and buzzing rhythms, fluttering and flitting in a busy rush” (Classical Voice of North Carolina). Woods’ music has won numerous awards and has been performed internationally at concerts in Thailand, Taiwan, and Kiev and also in the United States with performances from California to New York. She earned her DMA Composition degree (1997) and her DMA Viola Performance degree (1991) from the University of South Carolina.

Talk + One performance of Mara: $50.00

One Mara performance: $25.00