Twitter @Vocalcomposer
[Loading Twitter feed...]

Gramophone Review of The Scarlet Letter

In October 2017, Donald Rosenberg reviewed The Scarlet Letter for Gramophone Magazine. The review is printed below.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter has inspired several operas, including rarely performed versions with music by Walter Damrosch, Fredric Kroll and Margaret Garwood. The most recent, Lori Laitman’s rapturous adaptation set to elegant verses by David Mason, received its world premiere in May 2016 by Opera Colorado. The Naxos recording of the work is drawn from those initial performances, which – at least in purely sonic terms – appear to have done great honour to this deeply affecting creation.
The first thing that leaps into one’s ears is the sheer beauty of the music. Laitman has devoted much of her career to the art song, and her ability to meld words with lyrical, often soaring lines is on abundant display in her opera. The score pinpoints the distinctive qualities of the characters. Hester Prynne, forced to wear the letter ‘A’ as a symbol of her adultery, sings in urgent, rhapsodic phrases, while her lover, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, ranges from anxious reflections to dramatic outbursts, and Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s estranged husband, strikes sinister notes on his vengeful path. The people of the Puritan community reveal their moral pretensions in passages of reverent rigidity.
The Opera Colorado production benefits from the presence of splendid principal singers and a fine chorus. Laura Claycomb uses her radiant soprano to poignant effect, especially when revealing the woman’s strength in the vocal stratosphere. As Dimmesdale, tenor Dominic Armstrong is forceful and touching, and baritone Malcolm MacKenzie brings grave intensity to Chillingworth. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak is a vibrant terror as the town witch, Mistress Hibbons.
Led by Ari Pelto, the Opera Colorado Orchestra play Laitman’s score with the refinement and urgency needed to catapult this impressive and fervent opera.


Selections from Vedem to be performed by Opera Orlando, November 5, 2017

Opera Orlando, in partnership with Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida, will present selections from Vedem, my Holocaust-themed oratorio with librettist David Mason. I will be in residence to present lectures around this performance and David Mason will also attend the performance. For details, please click here


THE SCARLET LETTER CD - Naxos release is Aug. 11, 2017

Under Greg Carpenter's leadership, Opera Colorado brilliantly brought The Scarlet Letter to life in May 2016. A generous grant from The Sorel Organization enabled us to capture the live performance for this CD, which Naxos is releasing on August 11, 2017. Librettist David Mason and I are so grateful to conductor Ari Pelto, chorus master John Baril, the stellar cast and creative team, as well as recording engineers Marlan Barry and Jamey Lamar, for their efforts in producing this exceptional recording. We are so honored to be part of Naxos' catalogue of American Opera Classics.


To order the CD, please click here.


New Recording Sessions

Over the course of the next year, I will be recording material for a series of new solo CDs, to be released on the Albany label. Ed Kelly, with whom I have worked for the past 20 years, will be my recording engineer and Beth Greenberg will be my producer.

This summer I’ll be working with singers Maggie Gawrysiak, Sari Gruber, Maureen McKay, Vale Rideout, Randy Scarlata and Darryl Taylor, as well as saxophonist Gary Louie, flutist Emily Skala, and pianists Andrew Rosenblum and Kirsten Taylor.

This winter, I’ll record with singers Dominic Armstrong, Jennifer Check, Ashley Emerson, Alisa Jordheim and Kyle Knapp, along with pianists Warren Jones and Andrew Rosenblum.

A summer 2018 recording is still in the planning stages. More information will follow.


The Three Feathers, Abridged — presented by Sounds of South Dakota

On June 29 and 30th, 2017, Sounds of South Dakota will present The Three Feathers, Abridged at the McKennan Park Bandshell in Sioux Falls, SD.

This opera, with a libretto by Dana Gioia, is adapted from a Grimm's fairy tale. A magic feather leads shy Princess Dora to the Underworld ruled by the mysterious Frog King. Here she must summon her courage, intelligence and kind heart to win her father's three tests and save the kingdom from her selfish sisters.

The full-length opera was commissioned and premiered by The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The abridged version is 45 minutes in length, and scored for 7 singers and piano.

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 25 Next 5 Entries »