Aeneas in the Underworld

A chamber oratorio for guitarist/orator
with second guitar, string quartet, fixed media and video
60 minutes

Begun as a collaboration guitarist Colin McAllister and composer Christopher Adler in 2006, Aeneas in the Underworld is an ambitious and unique project combining oratory and music for a solo performer who recites the sixth book of Virgil's epic story, Aeneid, in the original Latin, while playing a guitar that is subject to drastic retuning, preparations and playing implements. The soloist, embodying the extraordinary mastery of Aeneas, the hero, is accompanied by a second guitarist, string quartet and electronics. The story recounts the hero's descent into the underworld and fateful meeting with the shade of his father, which reveals to the hero the future glories of Rome. Projected subtitles feature a brand new English translation by classicist Khang Le, commissioned specifically for this production.

Following premiere performances in spring, 2019, at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, and ArtShare Los Angeles, this production is now available for booking. Colin McAllister (guitar) and Christopher Adler (media) will work with a local guitarist and string quartet to minimize travel costs. Both the second guitar part and the string quartet parts may also be undertaken by advanced students. Please contact us to book a performance!

Download the full program note as a formatted PDF here.

Complete performance video



Premiere performances

Complete oratorio premiered by Colin McAllister, Pablo Gómez and the Veronika String Quartet, March 18, 2019
Act II premiere by Colin McAllister and Derek Keller, July 30, 2015
Act II, Scene 3 premiered by Colin McAllister, February 17, 2012
Act I premiered by Colin McAllister, May 12, 2011

Additional performances

Complete oratorio, with Colin McAllister, Pablo Gómez, Batya MacAdam-Somer, Emily Call, Annabelle Terbetski and Jennifer Bewerse:
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, presented by San Diego New Music, March 29, 2019
ArtShare L.A., presented by L.A. MicroFest, March 30, 2019

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Christopher Adler, University of San Diego Music Program, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, 92110-2492

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