george heathco: ravens & radishes

by George Heathco & Misha Penton

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ravens & radishes is an EP operatic fairytale song cycle by composer George Heathco, setting the fairytale poetry of soprano, Misha Penton:

Rapunzel is locked in the tower, the witch's granddaughter comes for a wintery visit...Little Red Hood, lost in the forest, is relentlessly stalked by a She-Wolf...Snow White's stepmother muses in her mirror....Seven brothers are turned to birds and only their little sister can save them...And the firebird, encountered on a wooded trail, flies free...

ravens & radishes music video on Vimeo:


released April 27, 2014

George Heathco, music
Misha Penton, lyrics and concept

Misha Penton, soprano
George Heathco, electric guitar
Daniel Saenz, cello

Produced by Misha Penton and George Heathco
Recording engineered by Todd Hulslander and George Heathco
Mastered by Paul Connolly of brightbluebeetle

Recorded at The Geary Performance Studio Houston Public Radio
Design and Photo by Misha Penton



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: ravens & radishes: witch in winter
wind whooshes through fissures in darkhour shingles
something on the evening stairs sounds december
and my porch, a tundra of bone chimes,
through seaglass casement curtains
my heart a tangle in their filaments
I watch grandma’s fingers weave
winter kitchen incandescence
readying silk for the telling of stories
she leaves garden radish tending for spring
when duranta blooms
and hollyhock cultivate the land for moth-tide:
the season of air shaft whimsy
and spin-past-on-the-breeze wings
when digging ‘round the little plants’ sproutgreens,
their iron tangy fleshy folds red lipped, bundled
oozing a low ache
earth blood beneath her fingernails
between the tiny plot’s molting ash wood fence stakes
up to their shoulders high with snows
and iced barbed wire keeps the love inside
— Misha Penton
Track Name: ravens & radishes: mirror
my looking glass, its edges a tangle of serpentine tresses
a frame carved in deep sanguine sleep
a breath in
a breath out
frosts my likeness
a reflection of dark lashes and lips,
fingertips and speckled brown iris
evening wishes Its images cast behind me:
of Night carrying stars,
Her baskets high above hills
the wind at Her back
delicately transporting clouds upon her apron
reflected moments ripple and whirl
what if I shatter? in shards?
and each fragment spun out across distances of forest
and dream:
and each is myopic, illusion-inducing
and stabs its way into every heart
and laid bare
all our delusions?
who, then, to heal us?
— Misha Penton
Track Name: ravens & radishes: october ravine
Ah! so here is where I left it!:
a little grotto nestled in the wet greens
of an october ravine
open to me, rock agape
its sacred seeming granite edge laced
in winter-nude wisteria
I shake and shudder
as I pull my expansive feathered cloak close
its warmth at last! an ebon-aubergine of quills
that shimmer and ruffle and weave
enfolded in my lost skin
I walk out and into the winds
at my back, the Glass Mountain sings
its bluegreenbluegreenblue iridescence
translucent against firmament
unnoticed, six ravens rise
black wings beat a dissonance against mists
whitened by moonlight
and I? I am the seventh
— Misha Penton
Track Name: ravens & radishes: sheep's clothing
a vein of yarn leads a passage
over forest floor branches, a-tangle
a last leaf hangs iced in orangebrownredblack
an inky ash
slippery slate path peeks through midwinter snows
all the better to step upon –
all the better to –
children wait
growing like greenwood fiddlehead ferns unfolding
scent of curls and chocolates
laced skirts and frock shirts swirl past:
a blur of ball-toss and hide-and-seek
their shout in the night nightmares
catch on breeze and briar
all the better to –
all the better to stalk –
forepaws, hind paws, tail
my breath along the trail
fang and claw, expectant
— Misha Penton
Track Name: ravens & radishes: l'oiseau de feu
his hooves run clap ring
sprint clop zing over Sky’s grasses
his breath is chervil and dandelion, fennel, and hyssop
birches and bamboo, tall tangled twisted:
a tempt – a blur – we dash
my quiver arrows speak sharp and true across my bow
star trails smear and slash:
whips across emblazoned firmament
glisten, flash! splash!
he rears and the muddied road reaches up
shhh! wait!
I hear the swoop and swoosh, whirl and whoosh
the dive of the Firebird alights upon the path
feldspar eyes, plasma plumage
as quickly as she graced us, she is gone:
in a whisper and a rustle she gifts a single tail feather:
I resist the glint of its lightning barbs
the steely cut of its vane
the melisma of its lava quill
I will not possess her
— Misha Penton