A new opera exploring ideas of science, spirituality, the nature of consciousness and our search for meaning

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Notes from The Theory of Everything
by Librettist Nancy Rhodes

Physics and science have been interests of mine since childhood, inspired by long walks through nature with my grandfather, a physics teacher. He taught me how to observe and analyze, to appreciate the invisible forces, and unleashed in me an insatiable curiosity to explore the grand design of our universe.

Nancy Rhodes and John David EarnestIn 1987, I read an article in The New York Times about an astounding new physics theory postulating the simultaneous existence of at least ten dimensions, known as superstring theory. Pushing the envelope of the mind to embrace multiple dimensions, sister universes, and the possibility that everything from our bodies to the farthest star, is made up of vibrating strings, fascinated me.

During this time I was working in different countries; while riding on trains, I read metaphysical literature, Eastern philosophy, science, and poetry. Turkey was one of the places that resonated deeply within me, the ancient city of Ankara with its Hittite Museum, and Istanbul, the crossroads of Europe and Asia. I found layers of history everywhere, sensed ancient voices, as I walked through the ruins of Ephesus.

Upon returning home, it came to me in the middle of the night: Act I, Scene 1, a Planetarium. Thus began The Theory of Everything. The story revolves around the lives of 8-year-old Cassy, her mother Rachel, a documentary filmmaker, and her father Tomás, a quantum physicist from Brazil. A series of dramatic events catapault a scientific and metaphysical search into other dimensions and alternate universes.

Further research led me to the writings of physicist David Bohm and his ideas of a holographic universe, to Native American spiritual conferences, healing seminars, and the laboratories of physicists at Columbia, CUNY, and Princeton.