Certitude and Joy was chosen as one of the ten best Classical works of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The newest chamber opera by Erling Wold, “a true California eccentric and polymath” (Bachtrack), Certitude and Joy is a “bold, heartbreaking operatic meditation on madness and religious faith [that draws] explicit connections between the infanticide stories of the Bible and those of our own day, and [finds] a probing musical language in which to express those ideas” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Wold’s libretto centers on the 2005 story of LaShaun Harris, who was told by God to throw her three children into the San Francisco Bay, which she did, undressing them and killing them all in a brief ritual after a day spent in the city, sightseeing and eating hot dogs. The story is combined with “Wold’s own conflicted attempts to find spiritual reconciliation in a world that holds [the Abraham and Isaac story] to be an act of admirable faith and the [LaShaun story” to be an instance of reprehensible insanity. The genius of Wold's libretto is its ability to successfully and simultaneously create a palpable sense of horror and empathy for both stories, casting doubt about how we as a culture view religious certitude and what is an acceptable source, or definition of, joy” (A Beast in a Jungle).
As a member of the diverse cast, Laura Bohn is “simply astonishing” in the role of Harris, when “in a long and gorgeous monologue of Wagnerian intensity, lovingly offers up her precious children to their heavenly father. You know it’s coming, but the power of the scene is unbearably wrenching even so” (SF Chronicle).
released January 27, 2015
Laura Bohn, Jo Vincent Parks,
Talya Patrick, Bob Ernst, and the ZOFO duet –
Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmermann
Musical Director Bryan Nies
Recorded by Karen Stackpole
Mix by Jay Cloidt