The Weeping Woman

Premiering at MASS MoCA on August 30th and 31st at 4pm.

December Years (Erin Nafziger, Soprano, Karen Schwartz, Piano)


Through the Benefit of Time (Erin Nafziger, Soprano, Karen Schwartz, Piano)


If I Should Come Down from the Mountain (Erin Nafziger, Soprano, Karen Schwartz, Piano)


The Weeping Woman is an opera based on the relationship between Pablo Picasso and one of his lover/models, Dora Maar. The lyrics and libretto are by Brian Leahy Doyle.

The Weeping Woman


The Weeping Woman is based upon the relationship between Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar, who was Picasso’s “official mistress” from 1935-1943. Born Henriette Theodora Markovitch, Dora is a poet, photographer, and painter in her own right and affiliated with the French Surrealists when she meets Picasso. The opera charts the course of their relationship beginning with their first meeting at Deux Magots, a Paris restaurant frequented by the Surrealists, where she catches Picasso’s attention by taking a knife and playing with it between her fingers on a table top. Picasso desires Dora, finds her physically attractive and intellectually stimulating, and they become lovers and collaborators even though Picasso is also in a relationship with Marie-Therese Walter, his “secret concubine,” with whom he has sired a child. Picasso plays upon both women’s feelings for him, encouraging their rivalry and animosity toward each other. Dora also sits for Picasso, who at times humiliates and abuses her so that he can paint in extreme emotional distress. Dora also plays a part in Picasso’s painting of his masterpiece, “Guernica.” In the end, though, Picasso abandons Dora, and in the final moments of the opera she strives to feel a sense of closure and freedom in her life.

Below are computer generated recordings of the pieces from the opera.

December Years


Through the Benefit of Time


Starting in Paris before the War


Au Revoir, Secret Concubine


Now the present


Our Excursion into Madness


In Picasso’s World


Right Before a Thunderstorm


Kissing to be Clever


A Moment of Discovery


Could This be a Song About You


Being a Surrealist


He Leaves My Bed in the Morning


The Minotaur Song






Paris is Without its City Lights


In the Studio


Now, My Love, About Your Divorce


Here or There or Anywhere


A Thunderstorm Followed by a Rainbow


If I Should Come Down from the Mountains