Galileo Galilei is an opera based on excerpts from the life of Galileo Galilei which premiered in 2002 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Music by Philip Glass, libretto by Mary Zimmerman and Arnold Weinstein. The piece is presented in one act consisting of ten scenes without break.
From a Boston University performance...
Scene One (Opening Song): In the final days of his life, the now blind Galileo Galilei remembers the things in his life that he can no longer see.
Scene Two (Recantation): The officials of the Catholic Church rebuke the scientist for not relenting on his theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The Pope hands down his sentence, and then reminds Galileo of a time when they walked in the garden as friends.
Scene Three (Pears): Marie Celeste, the daughter of Galileo, sends her intense devotion love and support through letters that are accompanied by elements of her garden at the convent.
Scene Four (Trial): Galileo is summoned before two Cardinals of the Catholic Church to answer questions regarding his book "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World".
Scene Five (Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World): As Galileo pens his book, the fictitious characters come alive to discuss the theories presented.
Here, the Older Galileo becomes the Younger Galileo.
Scene Six (Incline Plane): The theories and experiments are put to the test in Galileo's laboratory.
Scene Seven (A Walk in the Garden): Galileo and his great friend Cardinal Barberini discuss Galileo's newest book in the Garden. After the Cardinal's feeble attempt at poetry, Galileo expresses his fear of his enemies. Barberini warns Galileo not to continue with his theories regarding the planets.
Scene Eight (Lamps): While at mass with his daughter, Galileo observes the swinging of a lamp suspended from the ceiling moving in pendulum fashion and explains his theory to Marie.
Scene Nine (Presentation of the Telescope): Galileo presents his invention to the Duchess and her Ladies in Waiting. The Duchess and Galileo reminisce about a time in their youth when they watched an opera together composed by Galileo's father, Vincenzo.
Scene Ten (Opera within the Opera): The Duchess and Galileo, now children, are in the audience as his father's opera is performed. The magical story of the planetary figures becomes the vehicle through which Galileo is reunited with his deceased daughter.