Now Eleanor's Idea
2007 release. Now Eleanor's Idea was made possible by grants from The Rockefeller Foundation (1984 and 1993), the National Endowment for the Arts' Opera Musical Theater Program (1985) and InterArts Program (1992). Robert Ashley's Now Eleanor's Idea is a quartet of short operas based on the notion of a sequence of events seen from four, different points of view. At the same time, each opera is an allegory, like Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678), for an individual's self-realization within the context of a major religion found in the United States. Improvement takes its imagery and plot from Judaism, Foreign Experiences (LCD 1008CD) from Pentecostal Evangelism, eL/Aficionado (LCD 1004CD) from Corporate Mysticism, and Now Eleanor's Idea from (Spanish) Catholicism. The inspiration for these works came specifically from four sources: the work of the historian, Frances A. Yates (1900-1983), whose specialty of interests included the influence of Kabbalistic mysticism on the birth of modernism and scientific philosophy in Italy in the 16th century (as a result of the expulsion of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition); the writings of Carlos Castaneda (and the arguments about him as a writer and about the intentions of his work); Low Rider Magazine, the fan-cult magazine of the Low Rider movement in the Southwestern United States; and finally, corporate vocabulary, what it sounds like and how it is used in popular publications, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or Fortune Magazine. While working at the bank, the title character, Now Eleanor, has a sort of "religious experience" that fills her with an "approach of the end of the world feeling." This feeling compels her to leave her job in the Midwest, move to New Mexico, and become a newscaster to try to discover the point where the religions of America -- Judaism, Protestantism, Business and Catholicism -- merge. But there is more in store for her than she realizes... Music and libretto by Robert Ashley. Featuring: Joan LaBarbara as Now Eleanor, Amy X Neuburg as Now Eleanor's Low Rider Double, Marghreta Cordero as Now Eleanor's Guardian Angel. Ensemble Voices: Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert. Mixing and electronics: Tom Hamilton.