The Pillar (Excerpts)

Excerpts for Solo Voices, Chorus and Chamber Ensemble (2014)

Piano/Vocal Score

Winner of Opera America's inaugural Discovery Grant for female composers, in The Pillar, a prominent woman confronts the tragic consequences of her own compromise. Embracing a role that brought her position and affluence, Ruth centered her whole life on her husband Bernie, a seeming pillar of the community. When he is finally revealed as a world-class confidence man and gaslighter, all of her choices—indeed her very identity—comes into question. Digging beneath the surface of an historic scandal, The Pillar unearths an all-too-timely parable of corruption, complicity, family dysfunction and the nature of contemporary love.

by Luna Pearl Woolf


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Luna Pearl Woolf
The Pillar - Trailer
Washington Chorus Summit for Gender Equity in Opera, Sept 22 2018
Aria from Luna Pearl Woolf's "The Pillar"
Kristin Hoff, Mezzo
Jennifer Szeto, Piano

THE PILLAR tells the tale of a woman who has dedicated her whole life to her husband, a pillar of the community. When he falls into disgrace, she must finally confront choices—and consequences—of truly operatic proportions. That woman is … Ruth Madoff.

Based on Diana Henriques’ bestselling The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, THE PILLAR digs beneath the surface of this contemporary scandal to uncover a timeless meditation on loyalty, corruption, and the nature of love.

This workshop presentation was made possible by an Opera America Discovery Grant, and we are now seeking a producing partner to continue development of the project.


35 min


The Washington Chorus, Julian Wachner, Music Director


Opera America Development Grant Recipient


solo SATB / M-S,BB choir / piano


David Van Taylor

Program Notes


“According to the splendid performance by all the singers and instrumentalists Woolf’s THE PILLAR is off to a great start… what wrenching, realistic theater it was — the rise and fall of the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and the resulting human tragedies.”
– The Washington Post“THE PILLAR focuses on Ruth Madoff, a woman who has dedicated her life to her husband, a pillar of the community. When he falls into disgrace, she must confront choices, and consequences, of operatic proportions. The Pillar uses this contemporary scandal to deliver a timeless meditation on loyalty, corruption and the nature of love.”
– Georgetown Patch

“Ruth Madoff’s struggle is Shakespearean … as if Gertrude from Hamlet has been fleshed out for us.”
– Loretta Toscano, Actor/Educator

“The drama is so moving … all we wanted was more than thirty-something minutes!”
– Opera-L

“Musically inventive and powerful … such economy in the language … It’s brilliant!”
– Elizabeth W. Scott , Dunch Arts

“It made me look at the whole event in a different way … it becomes deep, tragic and human … a Biblical story.”
– Dillon McCartney, NYIOP International