A new opera that retells the biblical story and asks:

what if Eve fell in love with the snake in the Garden of Eden?

Aubrey Lauren and Hunter Hanson

About the Creators

Aubrey Lauren is a librettist and vocalist based in Chicago, Illinois who has spent the past few years fostering her passions for new music, narrative creation and female representation in the classical scene. She received her Bachelor’s in opera performance as well as music business where she studied with Sunny Joy Langton, Victor Goines, and Donald Nally. Since then, she has gone on to participate in performances of Idomeneo at Lyric Opera of Chicago and debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall in 2016 at the New York Lyric Opera Gala. She is currently working as a vocal coach and music business professional at Altered Stage in downtown Chicago where she lectures on a variety of different genres and singing techniques.

Lauren has collaborated with Hanson for over two years on fusion projects that marry traditional styles with a modern flair and technology so as to best connect with the today’s audience. Other collaborations include but are not limited to: It’s Circling the Sky with Ben Zucker, Song Cycle no. 1 and The True Meaning of Christmas with Dante Zubel, and The Moon Suite for Ballet with Mark Burns which debuted in fall of 2019. In 2018, Lauren received first place awards for her lyrics in the aforementioned song cycle with Dante Zubel in the MTNA, NFMC and UMTA Composition Competitions, respectively.

Hunter Hanson is a composer and performer based in New York City whose musical interests span concert works, film and video game scores, songwriting, and music production and technology. He received his Bachelor’s in music composition with a minor in music technology from Northwestern University where he studied with Juan Campoverde, Jay Alan Yim, Hans Thomalla, and Chris Mercer. At Northwestern he received the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award for the Bienen School of Music. He went on to receive his Master’s in Screen Scoring at New York University where he studied with Paul Chihara, Mark Suozzo, Chris Hajian, and Irwin Fisch. While studying at NYU, he was awarded the NYUO1 Orchestra residency. Hanson is now an adjunct professor and administrator in the Screen Scoring department at NYU Steinhardt.

Hanson’s concert music includes collaborations with ensembles such as The Fonema Consort, The Crossing, and Bearthoven, an NYC-based new music trio for whom he composed “Decision Fatigue,” (“Merit Award” – Tribeca New Music). His scores often combine live electronics and instrumental performance, frequently searching for interplay between pop and classical idioms. In 2019, he arranged music for the VISION ensemble, a string trio whose mission is to perform music and raise awareness for refugee and immigrant communities around the world. He also sound designs and scores films and video games, experimenting with new sounds to discover distinct palettes. One such project is the horror feature Dead Tongues which won “Best Feature Film” at the Portland H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Hanson is a founding member of the band Gregular in which he writes material and performs guitar, violin, and vocals. Gregular released their debut album, “The Body,” in 2018.

Opera Overview

Asmoday, the “snake in the Garden of Eden”, notices the beautiful and new Eve wandering around and falls deeply in love with her upon first sight. In an effort to keep her for herself and away from Adam, she convinces Eve to take the forbidden fruit so that Eve could join her in being “divine”. Not understanding that the fruit is in fact enlightenment, Eve shares it with Adam and they commit the Original Sin, to which God responds by taking Asmoday the Snake to Gate of Heaven for sentencing. By being damned to Hell, she meets the fallen angel, Lucifer who laments his loneliness and pridefulness. Lucifer asks Asmoday about her “love for Eve”, wondering if it is not so much love, as it is lust (which is a sin) as she has not existed long enough to understand the meaning of true love. Asmoday rejects the accusation and accepts her punishment; to live amongst man as a fallen angel for eternity. She initially is elated by the idea, surrounded by Eve’s children. Asmoday sees this punishment as being as close to Eve as possible, but the other half of the punishment is that she is never able to find satisfaction which consequently begins her torment upon earth. The opera then continues to explore the meanings behind love, lust and the root of evils.

In Aubrey Lauren’s perspective, this opera is a manifestation of feelings that she faced while growing up in a Catholic household. Having spent a large portion of her professional career singing in religious institutions of various denominations, she was fascinated by the different stories and how they still instigated conversations today. Her inspiration for creating Asmoday came when she was studying comparative religion during her undergraduate degree and was looking for representation of LGBTQ+ in the literature. Finding a massive lack of female and gay stories, she decided to reinterpret the original Latin name of “Asmodeus” into the American casual spelling of “Asmoday”. Lauren realized that if one were to spell it in a more latinate format of “Asmodae” it becomes a feminine name, and she decided to explore the changes to the original story that would ensue.

Demo of Asmoday’s First Aria: “What is This?”

Vocalist: Aubrey Lauren

Instrumentation: Hunter Hanson