A village couple stumble upon the winged senior. They wonder: is he an angel? Or just an “old, senile vulture”? Cautiously disregarding their neighbor’s advice to club the old man to death, they instead furnish the sickly creature with temporary room and board—in their chicken coop.

Quickly realizing that the old man’s otherworldly appearance betrays a robust potential for profit, they transform the coop into a carnival exhibition, with an admission-charge of five centimos. Just as business begins to boom, however, a traveling Spiderwoman, a freakish circus act in her own right, steals away their precious clientele.

By the opera’s conclusion, the old man has at last recuperated from his lengthy infirmity. He stands and takes flight.

Although told through a comical and surreal turn of events, Márquez’s parable poignantly reveals how greed and superstition blind us to the miracles before our eyes. Musically, I attempted to strike a balance in the piece between the dreamlike lyricism of the author’s tone and riotous invocations of the macabre cabaret. Punctuated by eccentric splashes of musical space-dust, hinting at the old man’s possible extraterrestrial origins, the score also makes a place for contagious grooves inspired by Latin-American dance music, ranging from the clave to the rumba. 


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