What She Saw

Douglas Anderson composer
Words by Andrew Joffe

Release Date: December 8, 2023
Catalog #: RR8099
Format: Digital
21st Century
Stage Works
Vocal Music

WHAT SHE SAW features two epic, large-scale works from composer Douglas Anderson. These gripping vocal works focus on the lives of two archetypal women: Cassandra of ancient Greece and The Woman of modern times. The first work, Cassandra Songs, tells the story of a Trojan priestess gifted with the power of prophecy but cursed to never be believed. The 11 songs that comprise this first work depict the arc of her tragic struggle. THROUGH/IN, the second major work on the album, is a one-woman chamber opera in which the modern Woman confronts herself through the looking glass. With words by Andrew Joffe, WHAT SHE SAW is a dramatic tour-de-force.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Cassandra Songs: Proœmium Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 1:10
02 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra Prepares for Bed Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 2:30
03 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra's Youth Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 1:26
04 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra Waits Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 1:27
05 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra Foretells Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 1:25
06 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra Loves Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 2:26
07 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra Weds Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 2:56
08 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra Violated Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 1:28
09 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra in the Wilderness Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 6:09
10 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra's Death Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 3:58
11 Cassandra Songs: Cassandra at the End Douglas Anderson Rachel Arky, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano 5:52
12 Through/In: Prelude Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 0:35
13 Through/In: Deserted Street Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 1:52
14 Through/In: Best Face Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 2:27
15 Through/In: Surprised Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 1:26
16 Through/In: Eyes Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 1:01
17 Through/In: They Do Not Stop Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 2:47
18 Through/In: The Sweet Breeze Blew Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 3:16
19 Through/In: The Stairs Are Steep Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 2:12
20 Through/In: Pounding Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 2:50
21 Through/In: What Are They Saying Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 1:18
22 Through/In: I Like It As I Like It Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 2:40
23 Through/In: Time To Go Douglas Anderson Nicole Salamon, mezzo-soprano; Elizabeth Rodgers, piano; Scott Still, percussion 1:45

Cassandra Songs
Recorded June 2, 3, 2023 at the Martin Patrych Memorial Studios in Bronx NY
Producer Kurt Briggs
Engineer Joseph Patrych

Recorded March 25, 2023 at Klavierhaus in New York NY
Producer Kurt Briggs
Engineer Joseph Patrych

Mastering Melanie Montgomery

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Jeff LeRoy

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Chelsea Kornago

Artist Information

Douglas Anderson


Douglas Anderson is a composer, conductor, educator, and producer who has been active in the New York area for 45 years.  He studied music and psychology at Columbia University, where his three degrees culminated in a doctorate in music composition in 1980. His professional career began as a jazz musician at the age of 12, and he performed widely in the Eastern United States before moving to New York to attend college. His work as a conductor has been his performance focus for the last several decades.

Rachel Arky


Praised for her “golden tone” and handling of “difficult music with a glorious ease” (Edge Media Network Miami), mezzo-soprano Rachel Arky is a singing actress noted for her dramatic and musical versatility. This season, Arky sang the role of Pino in the world premiere of Larry Lipkis’s Simonetta (American Chamber Opera Company) and performed Melissa Shiflett’s Rose Saga II song cycle, a set which she recorded with pianist Elizabeth Rodgers.

During the 2018 – 2019 and 2017 – 2018 seasons, Arky performed the role of the Milkmaid in Melissa Shiflett’s My Undying Love (American Chamber Opera Company); made role debuts as the title character in Carmen (Amore Opera), Meg March in Little Women (Annapolis Opera), and Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore (City Lyric Opera); and reprised the role of Maddalena in Rigoletto for her Mississippi Opera debut. Previous engagements include Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin and the Lady in Waiting in Macbeth (Chautauqua Opera); Marquise (cover) in La fille du régiment and Tamara (cover) in the world premiere of Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story (Palm Beach Opera); and Dorabella in Così fan tutte (DC Public Opera).

Arky also maintains an active concert repertoire. Most recently, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Port of Entry Concert singing a selection from Dina Pruzhansky’s Shulamit. Previously, she appeared with the Helena Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity; Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; Hunter College Orchestra and Choir in Mozart’s Requiem and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater; and DCINY at Lincoln Center in Mozart’s Coronation Mass (her Lincoln Center debut).

Arky has placed as a finalist in a number of prestigious competitions, including the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, Giulio Gari International Voice Competition, Opera at Florham Violetta DuPont Vocal Competition, and Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition (two years in a row). She has also been featured in master classes with several renowned singers and directors, including Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hammons, and Catherine Malfitano. Arky completed her M.M. at Manhattan School of Music and her undergraduate studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Nicole Salamon


Nicole Salamon is an American mezzo-soprano who resides in Greenwich CT and New York City. In 2022, she made her debut with the American Chamber Opera Company in the world premiere of the one-woman opera Through/In. In 2023, she was involved with numerous choral works that featured her as the alto soloist, including the Dvorak Mass with the Hudson Valley Singers, Bruckner’s Missa Solemnis, and Haydn’s Heiligemesse with the Putnam Chorale. Some of her favorite roles performed include The Mother in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Ma Moss in Copland’s The Tender Land, Dinah in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, and Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring.

In Connecticut, she has been a part of many church communities as a soloist, alto section leader, and funeral/wedding singer. Gifted with perfect pitch, positions such as these have offered her many rich performance opportunities. She is currently the soloist/alto section leader for Green Farms Congregational Church of Westport CT.

In 2017, Salamon participated in the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music summer program in Salzburg, Austria, where she worked with and performed under professional opera singers and conductors from around the globe. She was also one of the four candidates from Connecticut to represent the state at the ACDA Collegiate Conference in Minneapolis in 2018, and performed on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a chorus member for The Who’s album Quadrophenia.

Salamon is committed and passionate about vocal performance. She has completed her Masters degree in Vocal Performance at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She holds her B.M. in Vocal Performance from Western Connecticut State University.

For more information, bookings, or inquiries, be sure to check out her website: nicolesalamonmezzo.com

Elizabeth Rodgers


Collaborative pianist Elizabeth Rodgers holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music. She is in demand as a recitalist with singers and instrumentalists, including the distinguished soprano Judith Raskin, and in chamber music, orchestral, choral, and operatic repertoire. She performs with Music under Construction, American Chamber Opera, American Landmark Festivals, New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, and the Moss Ensemble. A strong advocate of performing works by living composers, she has premiered works by Miriam Gideon, Robert Dennis, Joelle Wallach, Carolyn Lord, Robert Dennis, Wendy Griffiths, Tom Addison, Justine Chen, Melissa Shifflet, and Douglas Anderson. She has recorded with PARMA Recordings, Opus I, Grenadilla, CRI, Musical Heritage, New World Albany, and Arabesque. Her solo album — Views From the Keyboard – piano music by Wendy Griffiths, is available on Apple Music.

Scott Still


Scott Still is a New York based educator and freelance percussionist. As a freelance percussionist, you can find Still either on stage or in the pit at any number of venues. Still performs regularly with the Harlem Chamber Players, Chelsea Symphony, and Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra, among others. He is also an active pitt musician, playing in numerous musicals across the city. As an educator, Still is a member of the New York Pops Teaching Artist program where he teaches in many different middle and high schools around the city. He is also on the faculty of Third Street Music School where he works with the InterSchool Orchestras of New York as a percussion coach.


In these two gripping works, with words by Andrew Joffe, the music of composer Douglas Anderson plumbs the depths of the lives and experiences of two emblematic women: Cassandra, of ancient Greece, and The Woman, of our time. The drama of their lives is revealed in the diversity of the music, a series of sections or songs building each work into a powerful and moving encounter for the listener. Tender, violent, proud, bitter, sad, loving, confused, sweet, desperate, frustrated, resigned: both of these works reveal a fully human character that all can sympathize with and see themselves in.

Of all the examples of a prophet “crying in the wilderness,” Cassandra may be the best known and the most tragic. The daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, she was gifted with second sight, but cursed by the gods so that no one will believe her prophecies.

To see the truth and speak it, and not be believed can destroy the soul; to be ultimately justified by events is cold comfort. War, destruction, devastation, subjection: all pale in comparison with the negation of one’s very self. In her short life, Cassandra experienced all of these, and she sings of them.

In these 11 songs the depth of Cassandra’s character, and the joys and tragedies of her life, are slowly revealed through her visions and experiences.

— Douglas Anderson and Andrew Joffe

What do you see when you look in the mirror? A reflection of yourself. You raise your right hand, your reflection’s hand goes up. You turn your head to the left, your reflection looks left.

But what does your reflection see, looking through the mirror? Are you and your reflection the same? In some ways. But what you see, what you experience, who you are, depends on which side of the mirror you find yourself.

In this one-woman tour-de-force chamber opera, a Woman sits at her dressing table. In alternating sections of herself in the mirror and through the mirror, she faces her inner self, her experiences, fears, and hopes as she prepares herself for what comes next.

— Douglas Anderson and Andrew Joffe


By Andrew Joffe

Clean, clean, true I see
No landmark points my way,
No map- I cannot read a map
Still I go where I should be

The memory yet to happen
The scar before the wound
A dream has an audience of one.
You will not believe me.

Cassandra Prepares for Bed
By Andrew Joffe

White sheets, clean, cold, cold
Ice water at my right hand
Open window, cool air
Cool clean cold

Lay down upon my back
Ankles crossed against the wind
Arms upon breast, fingers spread
Cool clean cold

Now I am armed against the night.
Now I am ready for the night
that I must travel through.

The dark road winds and winds,
The lamplight only shines so far.
Beyond the glow is mystery.
Dangerous curving highway of the night.

Cassandra’s Youth
By Andrew Joffe

Tag, you’re it!
They won’t play with me.
Eight nine ten, here I come!
No one will play with me.

They hide, I find,
They tease, I smile,
They riddle, I answer.
No one will play with me.

Suitors come, they try and win me.
Longing looks, flattery.
No one will feel for me.

They sing, I listen,
they propose, I demur.
They lie, I see.
No one will feel for me.

They are dead, I feel for them.
I cry and feel for no one.

Cassandra Waits
By Andrew Joffe

You come in force.
Steel sharp hooves, on cemetery earth,
kick up hot dust, sending it ahead.
Air charged with charnal musk.

You come again,
Trampling my prayers with your progress,
Mauling my hope in your grim march onward.
You come for me, to root in me, in my warm soil,
To plant yourself in my soul and bear fruit.

But I will fight you,
Dig you out,
Scratch you,
Tear you with my bear hands,
With my broken nails.

But you will win, poor thing you are.
Still, you will win, and I will dream.

Cassandra Foretells
By Andrew Joffe

You will die by fire, every last tear turned to ash,
and still he will not mourn.
You do not believe me.

You have lost your dearest part.
It is gone who knows where.
You will lose yourself seeking it.
You do not believe me.

You! and you!
What you think is true,
And you will never know for sure.
Don’t laugh.
You do not believe me ever.

You! You! You!
You do not now,
You will not ever,
No matter how long,
No matter how loud,
No matter how,
No matter.

You do not believe me.

Cassandra Loves
By Andrew Joffe

Wayward shadows and light play across our valleys and hills.
We lay where everyone can see,
And strangely no one does.

And afterward, at the end, afterward, it did not end.
Always one more drop of wine, of water.
Always one more leaf to fall.
Always one last ray of cold white sun.
Always one more star.
Always one more cloud.
Always one more

Cassandra Weds
By Andrew Joffe

Walk I walk I walk I
Freely freely
I open the gate that allows

Walk I walk I walk I
Freely freely
I give up the hall that leads

Walk I
Freely freely
I say
walk I
Freely freely
I sigh.
Walk I
Freely freely
(Gods protect me)
Walk I
(Leave me not naked)
(Prey to enemy)
walk I
(And friend alike)
Walk I
Walk I

Cassandra Violated
By Andrew Joffe

Man and god
Safe and secure
Takes what he wants
Then wants it no more.

God and man
Defiant of death
Hears his own voice
And then goes deaf.

God and man
Sanctity gone
Digs in the dirt
And yet stays pure.

Man and god
Each runs his own course
But it’s all the same
To the one on her back.

Cassandra in the Wilderness
By Andrew Joffe

Why why why
Won’t they
Believe leave leave
I tell them
True true true
And ev’ry time time time
They walk away weigh weigh

Alone, empty
No one to touch
No one touching me.

Blind, deaf, frozen
I am a hole dug in sand.
Fear surfs in to fill me
and wash me away.

I wait for others to love me
And to love,
To hate me
And to fight,
To be with
And to breathe

Pain, joy, ecstasy, peace.
Invisible, anonymous, left behind
Passed by
Passed through
Through through through
Then they return turn turn,
And I tell them true
True true
Again again again
And and and
Again again again

Cassandra’s Death
By Andrew Joffe

The table is prepared,
the chair is waiting,
I am hungry,
I am eating.

The meat is salty,
I am thirsty,
the water is cool,
the water is brackish,

I am sick.
There is wine,
the wine is spicy,
the wine is heady

I am giddy,
I am singing.
I am reckless,
I am hurtful,
I am hateful,
I am truthful,
I am noted,
I am quoted,
I am heeded,
I am valued,
I am needed,
I am honored,

I am dead.

Cassandra at the End
By Andrew Joffe

It starts in silence.
The silence of insects,
Stand still as if they sense
That nothing matters.

A man sits over pots and pans
Waiting to be scraped clean, clean

Father? No
Priest? Teacher?
First boy in the first thicket?
No no no.

Oh! There!
Red! Too red!
Climb the rock and sing.
Rock too steep,
Cliff too soft
Hill too high.
On top, on top,
Sing out,
No voice,
No words
No sound
No air.

Men will feel the touch of God
Upon their eyes.
They will cry tears of blood.
There will be blood.
There will be blood.

Throats will be sliced
with razors of paper.
Skin will be scored
with feathery claws.

Feasts of flesh
delicately seasoned
will be savored
There will be blood.

An iron shard
Impaled in shale
Points the way
For no traveller
Down the red, wet road
To an empty heaven
A safe way off from the gods.

At the end, silence,
The silence that seeps in
after a sob fades.

Libretto by Andrew Joffe

(A woman sits at a makeup table putting on her makeup. She is seen alternately reflected in the mirror and through the mirror, absorbed in her memories.)

Left the house, turned left
Walked away down the hill to where the road eases, becomes level.
A bluecold wind blew and hit me. –
No snow, no snow.

A blind dog passed, nosed his way up, darkly, happily up.
I turned, went back.
Hard walking, back up the hill; deserted street.
Shabby uninviting steps.
Houses old but not warm.
There, the last corner.
Not the first house, the second. Up curving steps, through a narrow door, back, back.

A party is a place to be seen in your best face, your best face.
Face the world with your best face on.
They don’t know what I do to be me.
They think I merely am. High praise!
I go through Hell,
Hell starts here.
Cover, cover, cover, cover, all the minor imperfections.
Only seen very close, in the closest of encounters.
Very, very, close.
Face the world with your best face on.
Your face is your shield.
There it is! My shield!
Best face forward.
What they see you see first.
Surprised. Surprised to see me.
They stared, they all stared.
Talk stopped. Music stopped.

“Sorry, I just realized…”
Stupid! Stupid!
“I have no way to get to…”
Looked at his watch.
“No, no don’t! Stay as long as you like. I’ll just wait.”
And I did.
As the talk sputtered up, as the music ground up,
I waited I wait.

A dot here to focus.
A dot here, to define.
The eyes are windows; they look in and out.
There are limits to what we can see.
Light. Distance. Shape.
Want. Fear. Hope.
Bottles on a table next to a window looking out on a greyscale street. –

“Anyone want a drink?”
They do not stop.
They do not look at me.
What are they saying?
I can’t quite hear.
A rhythm in my ear, in my head.
A pounding in my head.
Insistent, seductive, distracting.
A melody, melody beautiful, painful, messy, high, pure.

They do not stop. They do not look at me.
Sitting still, they run from me.
I am not there.

I was pretty as a child, they said.
I did pretty things. I made pretty noises I sang pretty songs
They said I pouted prettily.
I screamed prettily.
I wore dungarees, they saw a pinafore.
I always got my way.

The sweet breeze blew flakes of golden sun
Past the streaming banner of my shining hair.
The time sat lightly on my easy heart.
The days were free. The nights were clear.
How sweet golden, shining, light, free, easy.
How good it was.

Then one day I was no longer pretty.

The stairs are long, steep.
The clatter; the music far away.
Black cotton: full, low, wet.
A well- built house, solid.

How did I get up here?
Somewhere a child cries, a child in pain.
The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
Oh, Oh,
A rhythm in my ear, a pounding in my head.
What are they saying?

Pounding, pounding, where, where.
Pain flies straight to God, He cries.
Tears flow straight to God, He sips.
Praise flows straight to God, He smiles.
Pain and tears and praise; He nods.
What are they saying?
I am not there. but I answer:
Oh, I don’t think…
Yes, but remember…
Yes, but…
But that’s…
But that’s not…
But that’s not true.
They are talking about me.
No! I like it as I like it.
The reddest red is black to me.
I say when red is red.
Is it? It is! I say so!

I keep my treasures hidden.
I take them out at my pleasure, my pleasure only.

I can’t play the parts they give me!
Sing the notes they write for me!
I can’t be framed this way or that!
I won’t go back when I want to go on.
I won’t look; I won’t go.

Gold is warm they say, and silver is cold.
Give me silver.

It is time to go, to go back
Back to the life no longer.
To the life, to go back
Time to go.
(She rises and leaves the room)