Music of Avalon

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Carlota the Grand Opera

Music of Avalon is the creation and dream of young Texas composer and pianist, Robert Avalon. Long known as a brilliant musician, electrifying composer and passionate artist, Avalon discovered the tragic story of Carlota, a European princess who - along with her husband, Maximilian, became the first and last Imperial Rulers of modern Mexico. This ill-fated pair came to Mexico thinking they had been invited by the people to rule over them. In fact, they were the political pawns of the French Emperor Napoleon III, who had dispatched the couple in the midst of a French Army with the objective of extending the imperialistic power of France across the Atlantic to the New World. Carlota and her husband, Maximilian, loved their new domain, eagerly adopting the customs and culture of the country. Maximilian diligently and methodically studied Mexican history, art and political institutions, hoping that his sincerity would make up for the dishonorable circumstances of acquistion of the crown of Mexico through French power and political pressure. The Mexican people rose up against the French occupiers, eventually forcing them to evacuate the country, leaving Maximilian and Carlota abandoned in a country that viewed them as foreign interlopers. In 1867, after five short years on the Mexican throne, Maximilian was captured, tried and executed. Carlota was in Europe when this occurred, she had rushed to Europe to plead fruitlessly for help for his husband. The strain of rejection by her friends and Napoleon III himself drove her mad and she lived on for sixty years in a Belgian Castle as a recluse, always addressed as Her Imperial Highness, Empress of Mexico by her loyal servants and retainers.

Robert Avalon has taken this story and delved into the clash of cultures that occurred when Carlota and Maximilian encountered the ancient culture and beliefs of Meso America. With the insight of an artist with an eye for the primal forces at work, Avalon began work on "Carlota" an Opera in seven parts, which dramatizes in music, dance and art the fateful, and ultimately tragic, clash of Europe and Mexico. In the opera we see the journey of Carlota's soul as she experiences doubt, revelation and ecstasy. Catholicism and the gods of Meso America clash and eventually merge within her and produce an immaculately conceived son, the child of the plumed serpent Quetzacoaltl and her husband, Maximilian, merged into one.

Avalon was decided, rightly, to deliver the opera in the Spanish language, calling upon the mystical writings of the 17th century Mexican nun, Sor Juana and the poetry of Mexico's 1990 Nobel laureate, Octavio Paz. Now, the brilliant libretto has been set to breathtaking music of undeniable power and passion, thus creating the "Music of Avalon". The composer and a committed group of artists, performers, danseurs and patrons of the arts have joined together to bring Robert Avalon's vision of Carlota to the stage. They have chosen the year 2000 - the second milllenium - to premier the work. From now until that date exerpts from Carlota will be performed around the country to introduce the public to this upcoming historic event in the cultural history of North America. Visit a concert in your area and discover for yourself Carlota and the Music of Avalon.

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