(Willoughby, Ohio) Americans United (AU) admitted in a fiery rebuttal of a Plain Dealer editorial, "Yes, we do poke our nose into other people's business..."
Despite the National AU's efforts, the show went on and "I Am Martol," the controversial opera, was performed at Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, OH on June 9th and 10th. Almost $2500 had been raised on "Go Fund Me" for the new venue.
According to one attendee at the nearly packed house,
"... It is an opera, after all. Some of it may even have been in Norwegian — the language of the original composer. The themes were all there — light vs. dark, good vs. evil. Subtitles, anyone?Americans United for the Separation of Church and State will continue to bully. Congratulations to Willoughby's South High School students – oops, "The Willoughby Singers" – for persevering!
I don’t know if the audience knew any better than me what it was all about.
But there was dance. Photography. Music that was spectacular, truly collegiate level in its sparkling excellence. Outstanding musicians. Simple staging. The audience was riveted.
And that’s when I had an epiphany. This audience knew EXACTLY what was going on.
Forget the plot. Art was going on. And they loved it."
Updated by Note Taker
Controversial Opera Is Squashed
[Previous 4/25/15 post]
(Willoughby, OH) This weekend's Willoughby South High School presentation of an original opera has been canceled due to a lawsuit threat that suggests that the opera promotes religion and is a violation of the separation of church and state.
The production, called "I am Martol" was written partially by Ben Richard, the school's choir director. According to the school district, Richard used music by Ola Gjeilo, a young Norwegian composer.Students say "I Am Martol" is simply an opera about the struggle between good and evil. Participation was voluntary and no students are being forced to attend the production. The Willoughby-Eastlake School District’s legal department is reviewing the situation. A Go Fund Me account has been created to raise money for a new venue for the performance in anticipation that the show can be presented at a later date.
[Alex Luchenitser, a legal director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State] called it a religious opera and said public school teachers have no business promoting religion. He acknowledged he had not read the opera and relied on the complainant's description.
Interesting that Mr. Luchenitser has not even read the opera.
Posted by Note Taker