flower and hawk
Flower and Hawk is based on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women of the Middle Ages. Born the Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitou, she became Queen of France through marriage to Louis VII and later became Queen of England when she married Henry II.
Flower and Hawk takes place in 1189 in Salisbury Tower, where Eleanor of Aquitaine has been a prisoner for nearly sixteen years: her husband Henry II had her confined after she and her sons led an unsuccessful revolt against him. Overcome by feelings of despair, abandonment and betrayal she is contemplating to end her life by taking poison. Instead however, she resolves to distract herself by looking back on her life shifting from recalling happier times such as the day she became Queen of France or the nightly visits of her troubadour lover to the recurring tormenting memory of her beloved son Richard's death. In the end she comes to an understanding of this tragic event and is finally able to bury her son emotionally and to find release from her guilt and self-doubt.
As her inner monologue chronicles her past, it reveals the dualism in Eleanor’s character; the possession of qualities that show her gentle heart and her strong mind. The title of the opera is derived from her seal (on view in the Louvre) in which she stands holding a flower in one hand and a hawk in the other.
Dunja Pechstein performs the hour-long piano version of the mono drama.