Dominick DiOrio: The Captured Goddess

by Misha Penton & Dominick DiOrio

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The Captured Goddess
An elemental goddess at the mercy of humankind

American poet Amy Lowell’s 1914 prescient and haunting poem, "The Captured Goddess" is set to music by composer Dominick DiOrio. Also included on the digital EP: two scenes from "Klytemnestra, the original subversive female" a chamber opera by Dominick DiOrio with a libretto by Misha Penton— an intense portrait of the powerful anti-heroine, Klytemnestra, of Aeschylus' drama, "Agamemnon."

Visit the music video on Vimeo:

Fiery flames and smoldering vapor plumes. Wildflowers and wild grasses. An elemental goddess at the mercy of humankind. "The Captured Goddess" told through intense imagery: from Houston's Memorial Drive wildflowers to the blazing flares and glowing smoke plumes of our city's ship channel. A seven minute mini-opera, The Captured Goddess illuminates contemporary urban life and our ever-pressing forward, ever-changing world.


released October 27, 2015

Music by Dominick DiOrio
Misha Penton, soprano
Meredith Harris, viola
Kyle Evans, piano
Toni Valle, dancer and choreographer

Produced by Misha Penton
Audio recorded by Todd Hulslander at The Geary Performance Studio, Houston Public Media



all rights reserved


Misha Penton Houston, Texas

Misha Penton is a contemporary opera singer, performance creator and writer. She spearheads highly collaborative multidisciplinary projects and champions new music and the work of living composers.

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Track Name: The Captured Goddess
The Captured Goddess
— by Amy Lowell (1914)

Over the housetops,
Above the rotating chimney-pots,
I have seen a shiver of amethyst,
And blue and cinnamon have flickered
A moment,
At the far end of a dusty street.

Through sheeted rain
Has come a lustre of crimson,
And I have watched moonbeams
Hushed by a film of palest green.

It was her wings,
Who stepped over the clouds,
And laid her rainbow feathers
Aslant on the currents of the air.

I followed her for long,
With gazing eyes and stumbling feet.
I cared not where she led me,
My eyes were full of colors:

Saffrons, rubies, the yellows of beryls,
And the indigo-blue of quartz;HydrangeaForeverPink2.jpg
Flights of rose, layers of chrysoprase,
Points of orange, spirals of vermilion,
The spotted gold of tiger-lily petals,
The loud pink of bursting hydrangeas.
I followed.
And watched for the flashing of her wings.

In the city I found her,
The narrow-streeted city.
In the market-place I came upon her,
Bound and trembling.
Her fluted wings were fastened to her sides with cords,
She was naked and cold,
For that day the wind blew
Without sunshine.

Men chaffered for her,
They bargained in silver and gold,
In copper, in wheat,
And called their bids across the market-place.

The Goddess wept.

Hiding my face I fled,
And the grey wind hissed behind me,
Along the narrow streets.
Track Name: Klytemnestra, the original subversive female scene ii, Deception-Attraction
(As signal fires light the hills, heralding the Greek victory over the Trojans, Klytemnestra awaits her husband’s return)

Skyfire sear across forest, breathe and simmer over lake and swirl of stream:
Bring me Troy!
I carry spices and blossoms through our streets
Offering water and wine
Blessings of aconite and windflower clutched close in chants
and shouts strewn bell-high
Sacred fire releases perfume of cinnamon, laurel, sage and clove
Tended by women’s hands
And for you, my love
I plan
In your absence, my bath: herb steeped with flower oil
Dreamlight on travertine knows only the pleasure of women - their soft milk a tang of lavender and summer over hips
belly inside ache chamber threshold
I am unknown to any other man

— Misha Penton, libretto
Track Name: Klytemnestra, the original subversive female scene iii, The Weaving Aria
(Agamemnon returns a hero and Klytemnestra lays the sacred tapestries of the House of Atreus at his feet— inviting him to meet his fate)

I weave into the sting and pulse of Night
And my loom
Strand to strand, ties and knots, lash and strap, warp and weft, dyes and breaths
Patterns, figures revealed
My oracle: the distaff yielding to its sister axis spinning
What once was perfect, still, placid, pure
I make balanced complete essential primitive whole:
Myself the design: in each thread, twist and braid
Every fiber river soaked, blood inspired: washed in the surge the waning moon draws from me, a supplication collected
in tender swells along my thighs
How flawless and bare I am, wrapped in my creation
And my love? He will softly step upon these: my finest silks, a flood over our threshold.
He returns
I await

—Misha Penton, libretto