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Thread: Contemporary opera

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    Anthony Davis is an American composer and pianist, born in 1951, that has written seven operas, the last one, Lear on the 2nd Floor, just a couple of years ago.

    However, his most celebrated achievement so far is the first, X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, that was written by Anthony Davis and his librettist, Thulani Davis, based on the power struggle between Malcolm X and his mentor, Elijah Muhammad, to control the Black Muslim movement in the early 1960s. It was premiered at the NYCO, back in 1986.





    This is the overture:

    http://www.goear.com/listen/dfbf1ea/x-davies

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  3. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skilmarilion View Post
    Glass' latest opera is again based on a Kafka novel -- The Trial (2014).

    Like In the Penal Colony, it's a chamber opera (or 'pocket' opera as Glass calls them).


    Hopefully a recording release won't be too far off.
    It's Philip Glass. I'm sure you won't have to wait long

    Schigolch - what do you think of Jonathan Harvey and his unique Wagner Dream?

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    Senior Member Skilmarilion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    It's Philip Glass. I'm sure you won't have to wait long
    Well he's made us wait a decent amount of time for a recording of the 10th symphony!
    Last edited by Skilmarilion; Feb-26-2015 at 16:50.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    Schigolch - what do you think of Jonathan Harvey and his unique Wagner Dream?
    I think it's a very nice piece, a must for people interested in contemporary opera.

    There are nine scenes for singers, speaking actors, chorus, orchestra and electronics. The plot is about a possible influence of Buddhism in Parsifal. Harvey and his librettist Carrière are presenting the agony of Richard Wagner, and the action goes from the moribund's room (speaking roles: Wagner, Cosima, Doctor Keppler,...) to his visions of an opera he planned about the pariah Prakriti and the nun Ananda (Die Sieger), but that he never actually wrote.

    It's complete in youtube:



    To a lesser extent, I'm also fond of his first opera, Passion and Resurrection:




    However, I haven't heard his second, Inquest of Love.

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    Nicholas Maw (1935 - 2009) was an English composer of music deceptively "traditional". Though he was considered a melodist, firmly rooted in tonality, he used those elements more as a starting point, that as an absolute reference. In some important works, like his symphony "Odyssey", there is certainly an attractive and varied musical language.


    His first opera, The Rising of the Moon, was premiered in the 1970s, but his most popular piece is Sophie's Choice, based on the well known novel by William Styron, also adapted for the screen. After several years of hard work, it was offered at the Covent Garden, in 2002, with singers like Angelika Kirchschlager, Gordon Gietz and Rodney Gilfry, and it was staged also in cities like Vienna, Berlin or Washington.


    The reviews were mostly favourable, for the opera itself, and for the good work of the singers and the stage director.

    This is the beginning of the opera:

    http://www.goear.com/listen/9aee1a2

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    Some other KAIROS operas I'm curious about along the lines of Parra's Hypermusic Prologue. Sanchez-Verdu's Aura? Is Poppe's Interzone considered an opera? I've listened to little bits...in fact I'm not sure what I think of his music in general yet. There's a newer release from a fellow Ming Tsao - Die Geisterinsel?

    Anywho, I agree with your points on Harvey. However, that opera and Bhakti and the string quartets are somehow all I've really listened to from the guy. I can't figure out why I haven't given him more attention. Wagner Dream, Bhakti, the 4th Quartet...all were brilliant.

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    I'm going to see a new opera, Penthesilea. (Brussels, April 2nd). Anyone else planning to see this?

    http://www.lamonnaie.be/en/opera/430/Penthesilea

    Pascal Dusapin’s Penthesilea is his seventh opera ; he includes in his score a quote from Christa Wolf : ‘Thus begins the modern era and it is not beautiful. (Yikes!)

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    I have had the opportunity of watching two operas by Pascal Dusapin live on stage. The first one was in Brusssels, in the early 1990s, Medeamaterial, based on an text by Heiner Müller. A chamber opera, for two sopranos, one contralto and Baroque orchestra. It was adapted later for a ballet.

    Then, some ten years later in Paris, Perelà, "Uomo di fumo", based on Aldo Palazzeschi, and a much more ambitious work. It's complete in youtube:



    However, probably the more succesful of Dusapin's operas so far is Faustus, the Last Night, based on Marlowe. It was premiered in Paris, back in 2006, and there is a DVD available:


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    I attended a few years ago the world premiere of El viaje a Simorgh, by the Spanish composer José María Sánchez-Verdú.



    Though it was an interesting experience for me, it received mostly indifferent reviews. After that opera, Sánchez-Verdú premiered also Aura in Madrid, and then Atlas-Utopia, for the Szalburg Biennale in 2013.

    Aura is available in youtube:


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    Olivier Messiaen completed in 1983 his first and only opera, Saint François d'Assise. The plot is quite simple, and complex, at the same time. It's not a biography of Saint Francis, but rather an insight into the soul of a man, on the verge of reaching Saintliness.


    Messiaen himself wrote the libretto, and the final result is really fantastic, though it's a long journey of more than four hours, and really it resembles more an Oratory than your average Romantic opera, due to the lack of conventional drama.


    There is a DVD of the opera:




    recorded on a recent production in Amsterdam. There are good renditions of Saint Francis and the Angel by Rodney Gilfry and Camilla Tilling, and a solid work by Pierre Audi on the staging. The musical direction is arguably not in the same class of the Ozawa's or Nagano's CD versions, but nobody's perfect.


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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post
    Olivier Messiaen completed in 1983 his first and only opera, Saint François d'Assise. The plot is quite simple, and complex, at the same time. It's not a biography of Saint Francis, but rather an insight into the soul of a man, on the verge of reaching Saintliness.]
    And you can hear the whole opera on youtube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=AHBMqkvVTjw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=vfoz0Hb27lI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=PWpjY6-7yqI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=HzGs55dFYJI

    Very beautiful music.

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    The Mexican composer Daniel Catán, that died in 2011, was very interested in Opera.


    His music was written more in resemblance to Puccini or Strauss, than to other music being created in the last 70 years. He was a gifted melodist, and was also always looking for interesting timbrical details, here and there.


    In 1994 he composed Rapaccini's daughter, based on Hawthorne and Octavio Paz, and with a libretto by Juan Tovar.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh8EbXQx5A0


    Then came Florencia en el Amazonas, inspired in García Márquez's novels. It was premiered in 1996 at Houston Grand Opera, and was well received by the audience, though perhaps not so much by the critics. The vocal writing goes from an attractive arioso to arias sounding more like to the 19th century or early 20th, than to the 1990s.



    Naturally, Il Postino is now his best known opera. I had the opportunity to watch it recently in a staging at Madrid's Teatro Real:


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  23. #73
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    It would be a shame to let this thread die. We need more contributors!

    Just finished:

    3590304.jpeg

    Not too much of a comparison, but if I had to draw any parallels here to describe Sanchez-Verdu's style, I might say a bit of Sciarrino. At the least, both composers use a lot of strange vocalizations and refrain from too much fortissimo nonsense.

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Sadly enough, the Met isn't doing a single new contemporary opera next season. And I wonder why.
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
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    アルバート セブン

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert7 View Post
    Sadly enough, the Met isn't doing a single new contemporary opera next season. And I wonder why.
    It is a shame. If you scroll down to the bottom of this annual report https://www.operadeparis.fr/sites/de..._cliquable.pdf,

    you'll notice in the Attendance section, that Vec Makropolus (not contemporary but obscure enough to be new to many) only filled 55% of the theatre. The subsidy covers for the losses but can the Met afford to only have half of the theatre filled?
    This space for rent.

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