Helios Opera’s Modular Opera Project Presents Felix Jarrar & B.L. Foxley’s “Stardust”

By Chris Ruel

Helios Opera’s second project to emerge from their Modular Opera Project (MOP) is Felix Jarrar and B.L. Foxley’s monodrama “Stardust.”

The world premiere is scheduled for December 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET, with affinity groups co-hosting future screenings.

The creatives behind “Stardust” form an entirely BIPOC team. Using a variety of media and musical forms, “Stardust” explores issues of racial identity, the perils of self-criticism, and the transformative power of nature; themes which fantasy writer Foxley imbues her text. Inspiration from Richard Strauss to contemporary science fiction influenced Jarrar’s music for what MOP bills as part music video, part song cycle, and part concept album. The monodrama features soprano Victoria Davis. Jarrar will serve as music director and collaborative pianist, and Helios is hiring for a BIPOC stage director.

“I was drawn to writing ‘Stardust’ because in B. L. Foxley’s text I could see my own childhood experiences with racism, relate to being my own worst enemy as a self-critical musician, and find an escape into a fantasy world with a powerful feminine figure. Watching Kamala Harris in the vice presidential debate inspired me while I was writing the final piece in the cycle,” Jarrar stated in the Helios press release.

Ten percent of ticket proceeds will be donated to Color of Change, the United States’ largest online racial justice organization.

Helios initiated MOP in August as a response to artists’ inability to rehearse and perform during the COVID-19 pandemic. MOP enables singers to produce work in their homes, providing artists with audio-visual training, professional equipment and editing, marketing support, and artistic partnership. The Social Enterprise Initiative at Harvard Business School provides additional support.