The Stronger Child (2013)

For Mezzo-soprano and Electric Guitar

Text by Carla Spataro

[ca. 7 minutes]

In 211 CE, Septimius Severus died leaving his two sons, Geta and Antoninus (later known as Caracalla) as co-emperors of the Roman Empire. This led to disastrous results, as the two siblings could not tolerate each other. At the urging of the Praetorian Prefect, Marcus Macrinus, the brilliant and influential Julia Domna, widow of Severus and mother of Geta and Antoninus, requested a private meeting with her two sons to work out their differences. Unknown to Julia and Geta, Antoninus stationed his private guards outside of his mother’s rooms. During the meeting, Antoninus called to the guards – they entered, and immediately fell on Geta, killing him. Antoninus stormed from the room, shouting that he had prevented an attempt on his life by his brother, leaving Julia, covered in blood, holding Geta in her arms.

The Stronger Child is an imagined monologue by Julia Domna, as she recovers and reflects on the events and their implication for the future of Rome.

The Stronger Child was premiered by Mezzo-soprano Kyle Engler with Jason Love playing electric guitar on Columbia Orchestra’s Second Chamber Concert, January 19, 2014 at Christ Episcopal Church, Columbia, MD.