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Monday
Feb122018

Natalie Mann and Jeff Panko perform songs of Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas on Hawaii Public Radio

Natalie Mann and Jeffrey Panko were winners of the recent Art Song Competition for Hawaii Public Radio. As a result, their performances of songs by Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas, were broadcast on HPR.
Click here, then click on Art Song Contest Winners (Feb. 3, 2018), to stream or download.
Saturday
Jan272018

The Scarlet Letter featured on WWFM's Sunday Opera Broadcast with Michael Kownacky

The Scarlet Letter will be the featured opera to be broadcast on WWFM.org on January 28, 2018 at 3 pm EST.

To listen live, click here.

Tuesday
Jan232018

David Osenberg interviews Lori Laitman for his award-winning Cadenza show

In October 2017, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by David Osenberg, host of the award-winning show Cadenza. The interview will air on January 25, 2018 at 10 pm EST. You can listen live by clicking here, or listen at your convenience, starting on January 26, 2018, by clicking here

Monday
Jan222018

The University of Alabama at Birmingham to present The Secret Exit premiere

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will present the world premiere of Lori's song cycle The Secret Exit on January 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, AL. Admission is free.
The work was commissioned by the University for soprano Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk and clarinetist Denise Gainey, and features the poetry of Nobel Laureate Nelly Sachs. Sachs escaped from Nazi Germany in 1940 and moved to Sweden, where she remained until her death. The cycle sets three of her poems: What rose out of the white leaves of your bodyWhen in Early Summer and Child.
The cycle was conceived of as a sequel to my Holocaust-themed song set I Never Saw Another Butterfly. The artists will also premiere the work in Belgium during the summer of 2018.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will present the world premiere of Lori's song cycle The Secret Exit on January 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, AL. Admission is free.The cycle was conceived of as a sequel to my Holocaust-themed song set I Never Saw Another Butterfly. The artists will also premiere the work in Belgium during the summer of 2018.

Tuesday
Jan092018

Opera News Magazine names The Scarlet Letter CD a “Critic’s Choice”

Below is the Opera News Magazine review of The Scarlet Letter from January 2018.

 

THE WORLD-PREMIERE recording of this compelling new American opera, based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cautionary tale of puritanical patriarchy, captured live in May 2016 at Opera Colorado, has much to recommend it. Hawthorne’s story is unremittingly harsh as it moves from Hester Prynne’s resolute nobility to her abuse at the hands of her community and the two men in her life. She has no good options: in dramatic terms, there’s nothing to root for. Her illicit lover, the self-absorbed, deluded preacher Arthur Dimmesdale, is no romantic hero. It takes him the entire story to do the right thing and stand by Hester, but he manages to wreck that moment (and any future they might have together) by branding his chest with an “A,” precipitating his demise. Hester’s husband, Roger Chillingworth, is such a bully that it’s easy to see why she’s eager to believe he perished at sea. It isn’t so much that the story is in need of reinvention, satisfying though it would be to see Hester rip off that “A,” grab her illegitimate daughter, Pearl, and get out of Boston. Rather, it’s the potent reminder that its themes are still relevant, with factions in our country continuing to scapegoat women and children, that makes it so grim.

In spite of that, Lori Laitman’s score succeeds with a surging, sweeping, unapologetically tonal landscape that offers carefully etched character portraits, rapturous choral expostulations and lush orchestrations of insistently tuneful melodic motifs. David Mason’s gently rhyming libretto telescopes the plot, and the reflective moments are earned and don’t overstay their welcomes. The opening is stirring and engaging, establishing the sincerity of the townspeople’s conviction in their own rectitude. Hester’s lullaby to Pearl is refreshingly devoid of self-pity and full of maternal wonder, ending on a celestial high C. The tension-filled confrontation, during which Chillingworth poisons Dimmesdale while pretending to cure his illness, is a gripping cat-and-mouse seduction.

As Hester, Laura Claycomb is the work’s shining center. Her soprano is supple and womanly, but its agility, especially in the upper reaches, projects an innocent purity that reaffirms Hester’s moral north star. Laitman writes riskily for her heroine, with important text couched in high-flying lines. It’s difficult to know if other, less nimble sopranos would be as intelligible, but Claycomb is always clear, affecting and sympathetic. Even before the madness of Dimmesdale’s self-dramatizing death, tenor Dominic Armstrong’s aggressive, overwrought delivery lends the tormented minister an unstable, almost villainous cast—not inappropriate, given the character’s moral ambiguity. Malcolm MacKenzie’s dignified baritone makes Chillingworth a ramrod-straight, implacable force, riven with self-loathing. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak is convincingly menacing as the unhinged local harpy, although her unwieldy vibrato makes both words and melody difficult to parse. As the town elders, tenor Kyle Knapp and baritone Daniel Belcher add a revealing layer of prurient interest as they badger Hester to name her lover. The choral singing is particularly strong, and the orchestra, led by Ari Pelto, is polished and precise. —Joanne Sydney Lessner

 

To purchase the CD, please click here

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