Miriam and the Women of the Desert
A spiritual musical journey that speaks to the Exodus through the eyes of Miriam the Prophetess. Stories are drawn from Torah and from midrash. Miriam, the keeper of the well, the voice of the women, along with her brothers Aaron and Moses, lead the journey. Explores family relationships of mothers raising strong women, father’s influence, meaningful love relationships, offspring and generational heritage. As we wander through the desert searching for meaning, the cast of seven beautifully trained voices tells the stories of Miriam, Zipporah, Yocheved and significant others.
Book, lyrics and music by composer Sheila Firestone.
Review by Dr. Barry Naroff
The production of Miriam and the Women of the Desert by Sheila Firestone is a beautifully composed Operetta styled musical with costumes and live accompaniment.
The piece is undoubtedly a labor of love, as the composer, Sheila Firestone, a retired teacher of the gifted, embarked on a compositional journey, while visiting Israel after the birth of her first granddaughter.The work was designed with the assistance of dedicated mentors she had met along the way. This work is dedicated to those mentors, Joseph Ford. dec.2017, Dr. Keith Paulson-Thorpe and Dr. Tom McKinley. Sheila was encouraged to study harmony and counterpoint, as she labored on this life work over 25 years. She adapted beautiful and delightful lullabies some of which were composed when several of her grand-children were born. These profoundly riveting songs form the structure of the piece, with fugues and canons woven into the work’s fabric.
The performances were very much enjoyed by friends, family, and theatre-goers from the South Florida community. The messages from the Bible, including mystical lessons from the Midrash and Kabbalah, were portrayed with heart and soul by the cast. Bravissimo to the entire production. A final kudo to the Pianist, Lonnie White and husband Lehins Aragon on violin. Bonita Tabakin’s artistic canvases added ambience to the settings. The work will hope to be performed every year at Passover time: a great programming idea for your local Synagogue, Church or Community Center.
Pictured from left to right – Soprano, Heidi Marie Salonia as Seporah, Bass, Cantor David Presler,as the voice of God, Pharaoh and Hur; Mezzo Soprano, Jackie Kaskel, as the the Egyptian Princess; Soprano,Cantor Rose Lopater as Yocheved; Tenor/Bariton, Cantor Walter Munoz, Jr. as Moses, Caleb and Betzalel; Baritone, Sanford Lopater as Aaron, Amram, Jethro and Joshuah Seated at the front is Soprano, Cantor Rebbekah Faustin as Miriam the Prophetess.
Jacqueline Kaskel as The Egyptian Princess Batya
Cantor Walter Munoz, Jr. as Caleb
David Presler as the Egyptian Pharaoh
Bonita Tabakin Artist, and Sheila Firestone Composer, after Miriam and the Women of the Desert Performance 4/7/19
Sheila Firestone – Composer/Educator Member National League of American Pen Women, Women Cantor’s Network, Sigma Alpha Iota Patron. Recently completed musical, Miriam and the Women of the Desert. The Exodus as told through the eyes of Miriam and the women.
In 2019 Sheila was named the Pen Woman of the Year for the Florida State NLAPW,
Additionally she earned an Exceptional Achievement Award for her opera Miriam and the Women of the Desert, from the Florida State NLAPW.
Videos, MP3 and MP4s
Sheila makes her life’s work available for others to use. There are many great video lessons and of course music files available on our website or through Oy Songs or Sheet Music Plus for a small fee.