Deuteronomy III juxtaposes the lives of a contemporary American military family involved in the Middle East conflict with the life of one of Israel’s greatest, yet lesser known Biblical kings, King Josiah discoverer of the ancient scroll of Moses, the Deuteronomic law and military leader of the people of Israel, circa 641-609 BCE.
Beginning in the eighth century and on into in the seventh century, Assyria reestablished its authority over the eastern Mediterranean area. The northern state of Israel is obliterated in 722/721 by King Sargon and its inhabitants taken into exile. Judah, in the south accommodates Assyrian control, but towards the end of the seventh century, as the Assyrian empire begins to disintegrate, the people of Judah taste the sweetness of freedom. Learning of a possible threat from Egypt’s newest pharaoh, Necho II, Josiah assembles an army and leads them to war in the name of God as a people determined to be free.
Interspersed throughout this story is the contemporary story of international occupation and war, land and resource rights, and the struggle for survival. Based on individual accounts of soldiers and civilians caught in war, news reports and readings on occupation and war world-wide, our contemporary characters honor our present day military and the warrior in each of us, while the personal stories of the men and women from both time periods cause us to reflect on how each of us deals with our personal needs and how these in turn affect larger decisions regarding war, occupation, land and resource ownership and human rights.
As the opera reaches its final climax in Act III, five of the seven main characters, now devastated by their own life crisis, reach a simultaneous point of insanity. From the depths of their anguish they will either lose their minds or create a powerful change.
Josiah – Bass, King and leader of the nation of Israel circa 630 BCE
Jedidah – Mezzo-Soprano, Mother of King Josiah
Shaphan – Tenor, Scribe to King Josiah
Hilkiah – Baritone, High Priest to King Josiah
Hulda – Contralto, Prophetess
Paul – Bass-Baritone, USA Four-star Army General
Clara – Lyric Soprano, Archaeology Buff
Paul and Clara are married. Their son is Michael.
Sammy – Dramatic Soprano, Drama Therapist, married to Michael
Michael – Tenor, USA Lieutenant, son of Paul and Clara, husband of Sammy
Michael and Sammy are married. Their children are Jonathan and Amber.
Todd – Baritone, Director of Ground Operations
Jonathan – Young child of Michael and Sammy, around age 5-6
Amber – Infant daughter of Sammy and Paul