Enigma Chamber Opera to Present ‘The Prodigal Son’

By Francisco Salazar

The Boston and U.K.-based Enigma Chamber Opera will continue its exploration of chamber works by Benjamin Britten with two performances of “The Prodigal Son.”

The work is the third of Britten’s three Parables for Church Performance and will be directed by Artistic Director Kirsten Z. Cairns.

“The Prodigal Son’s” libretto is by William Plomer, and tells the story of two sons of a farmer – the older a hard-working laborer who tends to the family business and the younger, whose reckless ways see him leaving with then squandering his inheritance in a far-off city. Destitute and defeated, the younger son returns home, begging his father to take him back.

In a statement, Cairns noted, “Often with this story we are meant to identify with the Younger Son or the Elder Son. I found myself wondering if we ought to identify with the Father. I am struck by the biblical line, ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.’”

The production will star Omar Najmi as The Tempter/Abbott, Aaron Engebreth as The Father, David McFerrin as the Elder Son, and Matthew DiBattista as the Younger Son. Paul Soper, Tom Oesterling, and Daniel Fridley are chorus members playing servants, beggars, and other characters.

“The Prodigal Son” will be performed on Oct. 21 and 22 at Boston’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul. The work will be streamed on the Enigma Chamber Opera YouTube page for one week starting Oct. 28 at 7 pm.