The American Premiere of Odaline de la Martinez’ Song Cycle After Sylvia will take place on the 21st of February by the Illinois Modern Ensemble at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Originally written in 1976, After Sylvia is a cycle of four songs inspired by two Plath poems. The first song, Morning Song speaks of the birth of Plath’s first child. It is joyful and full of light. The second and fourth songs Lady Lazarus and Comeback are based on words from Plath’s one poem Lady Lazarus. The song Lady Lazarus shows Plath’s fall into depression and finishes with the text ‘The flesh the grave cave ate will be at home on me’. The third song Out of the Depths uses texts out of the Bible and is a sort of prayer in which the poet asks God to listen to her supplications. The fourth song, Comeback returns to the Lady Lazarus poem, but this time with a more positive outlook. It finishes with a victorious tone and the words ‘Beware, Out of the Ash I rise And Eat Men like Air!’
The work won the Joyce Dixie prize from MCPS soon after the first performance.