Top row: Alan Schneider, Hillarie O'Toole (née Stevens), Bert K. Johnson; bottom row: Emily Ogden.
Overview of the Opera
The opera The Captivation of Eunice Williams dramatizes the life story of this girl.
While the rest of her family was ransomed over the next several years, Eunice married
a Native American man and spent the rest of her life in Kahnawake. Later, when given
the opportunity to return to Deerfield, Eunice refused.
What caused Eunice to forsake her early Puritan years and become
the Mohawk woman, A'onkáhte, "she who is planted"?
She left behind no written records. The only knowledge of her life
comes from others—a passage or two from her brother's diary
and reports from English officers stationed near Canada. Yet the
conflicts that played out through Eunice's tumultuous life—Native
vs. Colonist, French vs. English, Catholic vs. Protestant—remain
of vital concern in today's world.
In The Captivation of Eunice Williams, composer Paula
Kimper (Patience and Sarah, Bridge of San Luis Rey) draws musical
inspiration from the several cultures engaged in this struggle.
The English colonists brought with them the rich folk music of the
British Isles and the solemn hymns of the Puritan Church. The French
brought a lively secular music and the soaring Roman Catholic Mass.
The Mohawks had their own deep and powerful tradition of Iroquoian
music and chant. Inspired by the 300th anniversary of the attack
and captivation, this opera uses the power of music and theater
to offer a fresh, unique, and compelling perspective on an extraordinary
American story that speaks directly to the world in which we live.
Commissioned as one of a number of perspectives examining the complex legacy of 1704
by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, The Captivation of Eunice Williams is not
"accurate" in the sense that pleases academic historians. Although strongly
informed by what is actually known, some historic characters have been combined or imagined,
and some events have been creatively interpreted for dramatic purposes.
Susannah Lowry and Christina Gagnon
Bert K. Johnson
Kariwiiósta: Christina Gagnon
Kanenstenhawi: Elaine Valby
John Williams: Bert K. Johnson
Bruno Magog: Daniel Popowich
Child Eunice: Susannah Lowry
A'onkáhte/Eunice: Emily Ogden
Mother Eunice: Yvonne Field
Stephen: Alan Schneider
Esther: Hillarie O'Toole (née Stevens)
Arosen: Jay Salvi
Ensemble: Allan Briggs, Sarah Jordan,
Janet Larkin, Jennie McAvoy, Curtis Minns,
Tom O'Toole, Janet Ryan, Lawrence Valby
Composer: Paula Kimper
Librettist: Harley Erdman
Co-conceiver and co-creator, producer, and stage director: Linda McInerney
1. Hymn/Sermon (duration 3:02)
2. The snows are drifting up (duration 3:21)
MP3 format (file size 4.1MB)
3. Are you there? This day (duration 1:53)
4. The planting moon (duration :51)
5. She hears me calling (duration 5:35)
MP3 format (file size 6.8MB)
6. Seventeen moons (duration 1:10)
7. Tell her/We survive (duration 2:53)
8. Once, many winters ago (duration 3:55)
9. Tsí'tha kí:ken (duration :20)
10. War song/dream (duration 1:54)
11. I once came falling (duration 2:28)
12. Contradance (duration 1:21)
13. John Williams' daughter (duration 2:10)
These songs were recorded by James LaGrand of LaGrandice
Audio in collaboration with WFCR and recorded at the Reid Theatre
at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA on July 24, 2004. The audio
files were engineered by Tony Jillson at Ratite Studios. For more
information on the opera go to www.eunicewilliams.com.