32 Hours to Rock Opera Debut!

Hello from Wittenberg. It's Friday night here, and the first stage performance of "Luther the Rock Opera" opens on Sunday. Lot's left to do tomorrow. (Like, impossibly lots!) but we've got Michael Bridges and George Baum and Jonathan Rundman on stage to make the music and the brilliant Jonathan Koelsch behind the scenes finishing the art and animations and 500 of our closest friends with seats reserved at the Stadthaus Theater. What could go wrong?

Ha! Aside from everything.

And either way, we're going to have a blast celebrating the 500th in style. Bring it on!

(26) Luther the Musical

LUTHER ROCK OPERA - Small Stage/Large Stage Versions

Michael Bridges and George Baum have just finished the recording of the Small Stage Version of the Rock Opera, and it's an absolute fun and funky blast! We're prepping their music for upload this weekend. It will be available in both vocal and instrumental versions to review, along with the comic book art powerpoints, scripts and initial promotional materials shortly thereafter. The Small Stage Version will debut live on stage June 23 at the Stadthaus Theater in Wittenberg http://wittenberger-stadthaus.de before we put the final tweaks on it and send the finalized scripts, projections, pdf props and set-building instructions to churches who want to perform it in October. This version can be done with minimal props, costumes and musicians. Press "play" on the powerpoint with music embedded and start singing! The Large Stage Version's orchestration with coaching by Michael Rapp (musical director for Broadway's Jesus Christ Superstar) will be ready for downloading and consideration June 15, with final tweaks in the scripts and animations delivered July 15. This version will feature vocals by Rachel Kurtz, Peder Eide, Robert Robinson (Twin Cities Gospel Choir), Sarah Renner, Tonia Hughes, John Hermann, and... just signed... Joe Davis (who sings with Agape). This version can be as simple or elaborate as you wish to make it. Full costumes, staging, 3-D props and animations by Jonathan Koelsch and advanced director's notes will show you the options to make this a whole-community 500 year event! Both versions will include a direct link to a new Lutheran World Relief fund-raising efforts with refugees in Alepo, coffee farmers across the globe and a renewed effort in Cross+Generational guilt-making. More on that soon. For now, email me directly if you'd like an immediate pdf of the script, and links to the music and promotional materials within a week or so. rich@faithink.com.

 

ROCK OPERA INTRODUCTORY PACKET

The Introductory Packets for people wishing to explore putting on the Luther Rock Opera this fall will be send out within the next two weeks to all interested. If you've registered on the front page of www.lutherstudy.com you'll be getting a personal email early in the week to see if you'd like a copy. Be watching (and check your SPAM filters). If nothing comes by Wednesday, contact us directly: info@faithink.com and we'll make sure you are on the list.  

(2) Rich Melheim - Peter Eide (The voice of Martin Luther) says...Sta

The Introductory Packets for people wishing to explore putting on the Luther Rock Opera this fall will be send out next week to all interested. If you've registered on the front page of www.lutherstudy.com you'll be getting a personal email early in the week to see if you'd like a copy. Be watching (and check your SPAM filters). If nothing comes by Wednesday, contact us directly: info@faithink.com and we'll make sure you are on the list.  

Sneak Peek: Luther 2017 — Luther

Where and when and how did the Luther Rock Opera begin?

It started with a comic book written for a guerrilla marketing campaign for the Luther Movie. (Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov, Alfred Molina, etc.)

It was resurrected when George and Michael announced their retirement from Lost and Found and Rich Melheim said, "This is simul eustis et disaster." And then it got invited to Comic-Con. And then it sold German, Portuguese, Dutch and Danish rights. And then....
Hey, watch the video link! https://youtu.be/oqCLqChZWOY
 

 

Care to be Part of the World Debut of the Rock Opera in Wittenberg?

Join Rich, Michael, George in Wittenberg June 19-25 and be part of the first cast for the Luther Rock Opera! http://luther500festival.com

Sign up for this historic event and you’ll not only enjoy the festivities Michael and George have set up, but you'll take part in daily sessions with Rich on the nuts and bolts of staging the performance. You'll literally :

* Learn how to attract a top team (Director, Stage Manager, Musicians, Dancers, Marketing Team)
* Discover how the issues of Luther's day and the issues of today collide when brave young people speak truth to power
* Build the first set with Jonathan Koelsch (our graphic novel artist and set designer)
* Conspire together on how to raise significant funds through the performance to support local food shelves, international relief and refugee resettlement projects
*Explore the building of Cross+Gen relationships that can strengthen your community for years to come (there's nothing quite like theater to bond people!)
* And, yes, you'll be on stage June 25 at 9:30 AM for in the world premier of Luther the Rock Opera.

Space is limited for Dr. Rich's private class/coaching on how to tell this world class story in a world class way.  The first 30 who sign up will have a spot. For more information,visit http://luther500festival.com  or contact info@faithink.com

SONG COMPETITION AT HIGH SCHOOL OF RECORDING ARTS

We had a wonderful day yesterday with Tony Simmons and the core leaders at www.hsra.org in St. Paul. We're collaborating with them and their students to add some youth, life and fun to the Luther Rock Opera by turning the creation of some of the songs into a song-writing competition. George Baum is flying in from Cleveland on Monday to outline the songs that will be in the contest. I'll explain the historical context from the Graphic Novel. The young people will have one week to come up with a concept piece and rough recording for the songs. They'll post them, and Michael Bridges and George Baum will choose the ones they like best for polishing and recording. It will be a blast working with them,  and I'm thinking it will make the Rock Opera even better and more relevant. 

We had a wonderful day yesterday with Tony Simmons and the core leaders at www.hsra.org in St. Paul. We're collaborating with them and their students to add some youth, life and fun to the Luther Rock Opera by turning the creation of some of the songs into a song-writing competition. George Baum is flying in from Cleveland on Monday to outline the songs that will be in the contest. I'll explain the historical context from the Graphic Novel. The young people will have one week to come up with a concept piece and rough recording for the songs. They'll post them, and Michael Bridges and George Baum will choose the ones they like best for polishing and recording. It will be a blast working with them,  and I'm thinking it will make the Rock Opera even better and more relevant. 

(3) ELCA Clergy

We're pretty pumped for our friends at the High School of the Recording Arts this week. They're helping us with the Luther Rock Opera, and this week will travel to LA to the NAACP "Image Awards" with their song "Royalty", which they did with the Grammy Winning "Sounds of Blackness." https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=0b3Z_ewfnnE They have a shot at winning... but the other 3 nominees are Bruno Mars, Beyonce and Alisha Keys. So, what are the odds that a bunch of homeless Twin Cities kids (70% don't have an address) can beat the likes of those heavy hitters? Listen and you tell me!

 

Good luck HSRA!

Getting Ready To Rock the Rock Opera

Getting together with the amazing Todd Ernster (MN Music Hall of Famer) today and Tony Simmons (CEO of www.hsra.org) today to start the process of turning Michael Bridges and George Baum's music and lyrics for the 25 songs in the Luther Rock Opera into the three-piece offering we'll get to churches/colleges/community theaters who want to do it next fall. There will be a minus mix (instruments only), a minus+background mix (with some rather amazing vocalists... for those who don't have a big band and choir but want to sound like broadway) and the full mix (with instruments, background and solos). Todd has engineered 500+ songs for us over the years at Faith Incubators and the new RICH Learning preschool curriculum. Tony is on our RICH Learning board, and leads the school in St. Paul that one of Prince's band members started for street kids to get their high school diplomas and a trade. 

I'll be with Tony and Michael in LA next week. Tony's school, with 60% homeless teens and 100% graduation rates, is up for the African Ameriican Image award for a project they did last year with the Grammy winning Sounds of Blackness.

If you'd like to support them to bring some of their kids to the awards, here's the link.

And after they win that, LUTHER THE ROCK OPERA!!!

It Was An Age (First draft of first song)

It Was An Age (First draft of first song)

It was the age of turmoil
lust and power 

It was the age of turmoil
lust and power                           

The black plague was encroaching

Süleyman was poaching

Holy cities one by one

Rome fought to defend Christendom

It was an age to fear, submit
and cower

Thrones were bought by
pope and king

Human rights were not a thing

The stake - the price of all dissent

Flesh aflame and body rent

To question was to die,

So no one dared to try

It was the age of turmoil
lust and power

The Church controlled the daily life,

Salvation called for sacrifice

There were relics to be venerated

From purgatory to be separated

Commonerswere urged

to pay money to be purged

It was an age when seeds
might come to flower

For buried in the darkness long

The yearnings of the
people strong

The stage was set for Renaissance

Sure, the kings might say
“bon Chance,”

 

But the winds behind the storm

Were blowing toward reform

It was the age of turmoil
lust and power 

It was the age of turmoil
lust and power    

 

Progress on Luther: The Rock Opera

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Luther: The Rock Opera

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This article is about the musical production. For the 2017 graphic novel, curriculum, giant “Table Talk” Coloring pages and other related resources, see www.lutherstudy.com. For the rock opera album, see Luther: The Rock Opera (album).

 

Luther

 

Album cover for the 2017 American
release of Luther

 

Written by

Rich Melheim

Music

Michael Bridges & George Baum

 

Productions

            2017 Concept album

            2017 Off Broadway?

            2017 Bollywood?

            2017 Seoul?

            2020 Broadway? 

 

Luther, a 2017 rock opera written and produced by Rich Melheim, Michael Bridges and George Baum. Art and Staging by Jonathan Koelsch and Sherwin Schwartzrock. The musical started as a comic book and a series of study guides written to publicize the feature film Luther in 2003 (Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov, Alfred Molina, Claire Cox, Jonathn Firth.) The project was resurrected in Graphic Novel and Rock Opera to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in October 2017. The musical is sung-through, with no spoken dialogue. 

 

The story is carefully based on the life and times of Martin Luther, a Catholic Monk who protested against what he considered corruption and un-Biblical practices of the Roman Catholic Church of his day. Luther’s initial objection to the church was the selling of “Indulgences” - certificates guaranteeing forgiveness of sins and escape from purgatory. On October 31, 1517, the protesting monk-turned-professor nailed 95 Thesis addressing abuses of the church onto the Wittenberg University Church Door - the community bulletin board of it’s day. What was intended as a scholarly debate quickly turned into an international political fire-storm. Within days, students grabbed the works and translated them into a dozen languages. Thanks to Gutenberg’s printing press and the new pan-European postal service put in place year earlier, within months 18,000 copies of the seditious writings were lighting fires of protest across the Holy Roman Empire. Luther was summoned to Rome to answer for his heresy, but thanks to his protector, Elector Fredrick the Wise, the trail was held in Germany. When Luther was condemned as a heretic, Frederick arranged his kidnapping and hiding in Wartburg Castle. Sought as an outlaw but bored to despair in his exile, Luther translated the Bible into German, wrote letters fanning the flames of Reformation across the Empire, and finally returned to stop a Peasant’s uprising and guide the reforms.

The unlikely anti-hero of this story is the most Catholic of kings, Charles V. Crowned at 19 and presiding over Luther’s trial at 21 during the Diet (Council) of Worms, Charles first condemned the monk as an outlaw and a heretic, then spent the next 35 years trying to control, cajole, bribe and threaten the German princes, peasants and throngs of protesting (Protestant) priests to hold the Empire together. With Henry VIII of England threatening succession, King Francis I of France conspiring with Pope Clement VII and the Muslim Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to whittle away at his empire
Charles V lived in a constant battle between his loyalty to his beloved Catholic church, his contempt for Pope Clement VII (whom he later imprisoned when his soldiers sacked Rome, and his practical political/military needs to keep Sulyman from capturing Vienna and invading all of Europe. 

 

The work's depiction offers a free interpretation of the psychology of the troubled monk, two troubled kings (Charles V and Henry VIII), two troubled popes (Leo X and Clement VII), and the princes, professors, monks and pawns who played major roles in ushering in the end of the Medieval Era and the birth of the Modern Era. As with “Jesus Christ Superstar” and the recent hit “Hamilton”, contemporary attitudes and sensibilities blend with historical records and writings to pervade the lyrics. Ironic allusions to modern life are scattered throughout the depiction of political events. To date, the Graphic Novel, stage play, and study resources are being translated into German, Dutch, French and Portuguese. Other languages are pending and a future film is on the drawing boards.

Contents  [hide

1. Plot

            1.1 Act I

            1.2 Act II

            1.3 Act III

2. Principal roles

3. Musical Numbers

4. From graphic novel to stage

            4.1 Graphic Novel

            4.2 Stage Design

            4.3 Musical Album

5. Recordings and broadcasts

6. Films

7. Awards and nominations

8. Further reading

9. Refernces

10. External Links

 

1. Plot[edit]

            1.1 Act I

            1.2 Act II

            1.3 Act III

  

2. Principal roles[edit]

CharacterVoice type

Description

Martin Luther

tenor (A2–G5?)

Title role, tormented monk-turned-reformer, seen as heretic by some and a hero by the bulk of the German nation

Katie von Bora

mezzo-soprano (F3–E5)

Narrator, nun who escapes her convent. When Luther arranges her marriage to a colleague and the man weds  another, Katie proposes to him.

Abbot

baritenor (A2–B4)

Head of the most disciplined, harsh Augustinian monastery in  all Germany

Staupitz

baritenor (A2–B4)

Luther’s mentor as a monk, priest, professor and reformer

Fredrick the Wise

bass (C2–F4)

Elector of Germany who helps put Charles V in power, then fights him and the Pope to protect Luther’s life

Leo X

countertenor (G2–D5)

Pope who issues the St. Peter’s Indulgence that prompts Luther’s protest. Leo wants Luther to comply or die.

Tetzel

baritone (A2–G4)

The slickest salesman in the indulgence trade.

Ulrich von Hutton

baritenor (A2–B4)baritenor 

Poet knight philosopher who sees Luther asn an opportunity to start a war for German independence on the spot

Wolfgang

tenor (C3–G4)

Peasant who embraces Luther’s revolution as a means to bring freedom to the peasants. 

Charles V

tenor (C3–G4)

Ruler of both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. He needs peace and compliance to hold the Empire together and fight off the Ottoman Turk expansion across Europe.

Aleandro

tenor (C3–G4)

Prosecuting attorney at Luther's Trial. Sees Luther as a demon.

Clement VII

bass (C2–F4)

Illegitimate cousin of Pope Leo who bribes his way onto the Vatican throne, then conspires with King Francis (France) and Sultan Sulyman (Turkey) to carve out chunks of Europe from Charles V's empire.

Hans Luder

tenor (C3–G4)

Stern, harsh, judgmental copper-mining father of Martin Luther

Margarethe Luder

bass (C2–F4)

Luther’s broken-hearted mother

 

 

Musical numbers[edit]

Act One

   "Overture" – Orchestra

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   ""xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

 

Act Two

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   ""xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

    

Act Three

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   ""xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

   "xxxtitlexxx" – xxxList of Singersxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luther: The Rock Opera