The one-act chamber opera “The Egg Musher” tells a story of climate change. Changes, effects, and causes are portrayed through two plots: one follows the adventurous journey of a fortune seeker as he transports eggs from San Francisco to the gold rush town of Dawson City on the Klondike River where his eggs are worth their weight in gold; juxtaposed is a future year 2050 speech of the Mayor of Dawson during which he paints a picture of Dawson's environment very different than that through which the turn-of-the-century merchant mushes his dog team. The mayor proposes to use the old, now empty cross-Canada gas pipeline to sell water to drought-stricken regions in the US, filling the pipes by melting the remaining glaciers.
The music of “The Egg Musher” scenes develops along his dramatic path of hope, suffering, perseverance, and despair. Next to the baritone who plays the egg musher, a soprano lends her voice to sounds of the wild and the musher's anticipations. Interspersed throughout the composition like a refrain are melodramatic sections during which the baritone delivers the mayor’s speech.
The composition of “The Egg Musher” was inspired and formed in reaction to the real life effects of global warming as they are changing -- drastically at times -- the lives of Alaskans, particularly of the north slope and coastal regions. In part, Michael Kerstan's libretto is an expression of scientific findings and stunning eyewitness reports of the effects of climate change in Alaska at the 2006 Pacific Rim Forum's Conference on Energy and Environment at the University of Alaska Southeast, in which Kerstan and the composer both participated as presenters through the generous support of CrossSound,Inc.
(Stefan Hakenberg, 2007)