Chicago Opera Theater streams Kamala Sarankam and Jerre Dye’s Taking Up Serpents, a story of “power, purpose, and salvation in the American South,” according to a spokesperson. This opera focuses on Kayla, whose father presides over an isolated community of snake handlers – a sect of Pentecostals who willingly take up venomous snakes to prove themselves before God. When her father’s ritual ends in a venomous snake bite, Kayla returns home to rural Alabama to face the family she left behind, reckon with her past, and take control of her future.
Taking Up Serpents incorporates electric guitar, whirly tubes, and waterphone with elements of honky-tonk, bluegrass, and Appalachian shape-note singing. Inspired by librettist’s own childhood in a Pentecostal church, this opera “takes a thoughtful and complex look at a uniquely American story,” according to a spokesperson for the group.
Editor's Note: Taking Up Serpents will be released as Digital-Only Album
For more information, visit Chicago Opera Theater website.
Images courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater