David T. Little’s ‘SIN-EATER’ to Get U.S. & European Premieres

By Afton Wooten
(Photo credit: Maria Allen)

“SIN-EATER” is set to get its U.S. and European premiere this fall.

First up, the work, co-commissioned by The Crossing and Penn Live Arts, premieres Oct. 14, 2023 at Penn Live Arts’ Harold Prince Theatre in Philadelphia, PA.

A few weeks later, “SIN-EATER” will get its European premiere on Nov. 9, 2023, at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with a second performance scheduled for Nov. 10, 2023 at Verkadefabriek Grote Zaal in Den Bosch, Netherlands.

David T. Little’s “SIN-EATER” is rooted in the history of the Sin-Eater itself: “an ancient practice in which bread, placed on the corpse of a person of means, would absorb that person’s sins. A poor ‘rascal from the outskirts of town’ would then be brought in to eat the bread, taking on the sins of the deceased, and allowing them to enter Heaven.”

Little uses this lore to investigate whom we ask to sin or suffer for us today. “SIN-EATER” includes texts by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Stephen Crane, Wilfred Owen, Harold McGee, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Jonathan Swift, and others, using juxtaposition to reveal deeper meaning.

Donald Nally conducts The Crossing and Ragazze Quartet with Jorinde Keesmaat directing. The opera/oratorio runs 70 minutes and is scored for 24 voices, string quartet, percussion, and synthesizer.