Douglas J. Cuomo: Arjuna's Dilemma

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Douglas J. Cuomo's chamber opera "Arjuna's Dilemma" is a genuinely original work. Cuomo, who is best known for writing the theme for Sex and the City, has worked extensively in theater and television, and that experience has served as excellent preparation for writing opera. He clearly understands how music and dramatic action are coordinated. The opera's story, taken from the Bhagavad Gita, is a metaphorical exploration of an individual's coming to terms with the conflicts that prevent him from taking decisive action in life. Such a large theme demands a commanding artistic vision, and Cuomo has the resources to pull it off without trivializing it, which is a really ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Douglas J. Cuomo's chamber opera "Arjuna's Dilemma" is a genuinely original work. Cuomo, who is best known for writing the theme for Sex and the City, has worked extensively in theater and television, and that experience has served as excellent preparation for writing opera. He clearly understands how music and dramatic action are coordinated. The opera's story, taken from the Bhagavad Gita, is a metaphorical exploration of an individual's coming to terms with the conflicts that prevent him from taking decisive action in life. Such a large theme demands a commanding artistic vision, and Cuomo has the resources to pull it off without trivializing it, which is a really impressive achievement. His score is stylistically all over the place, using traditional Indian ragas, free jazz, unabashed tonal lyricism, his own style of minimalist repetition, chant, Bollywood-style pop, and a full arsenal of modernist techniques. Cuomo handles the juxtaposition and sometimes superimposition of the various types of music with such skill that the opera has a sense of unity and purposefulness despite its diversity of styles. The musical development has a feeling of inevitability that keeps the listener fully engaged, but it's full of astonishing turns and is never predictable. Cuomo is also a natural vocal composer and his writing for the voice is simply gorgeous. The production by the New York-based Music-Theatre Group is fabulous in its sophistication and polish; it's a pleasure to hear a new opera given such a compelling treatment. Indian vocalist Amit Chatterjee and tenor Tony Boutté sing with thrilling passion and energy. The women's chorus, a quartet of soloists, has a pure tone, remarkably focused intonation and incisive delivery. Two instrumentalists, tenor saxophonist Bob Franceschini and tabla player Badal Roy, have critical musical and dramatic roles and play with mesmerizing intensity. Alan Johnson leads a chamber ensemble that features the Ethel string quartet in an elegant and urgent reading of the score. Innova's sound is clear and creates an immediate sense of presence. "Arjuna's Dilemma" is an opera that should be explored by anyone with an interest in fresh new directions in music theater. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/1/2008
  • Label: Innova Records
  • UPC: 726708669720
  • Catalog Number: 697
  • Sales rank: 326,445

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Douglas J. Cuomo Primary Artist
Badal Roy Tabla
Robert Black Double Bass, Contrabass (Vocal)
Bob Franceschini Tenor Saxophone
Joyce Hammann Violin, Guest Appearance
Andrew Sterman Bass, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Kathleen Supové Piano
Amit Chatterjee Vocals
Susan Hellauer Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Alan Johnson Conductor, Musical Direction
Jaqueline Horner Choir, Chorus
Maren Montalbano Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Robert Wilson Black Double Bass
Tony Boutté Tenor (Vocal)
Galienne Eriksen Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Ann Cecil Sterman Flute, Piccolo
Rex Benincasa Percussion
Jacqueline Horner Vocals
Ethel String Quartet
Tony Boute Tenor (Vocal)
Jim Pugliese Percussion
Technical Credits
John A. Schaefer Liner Notes
Frank Wolf Engineer
Amit Chatterjee Liner Notes
Alan Johnson Musical Director
Paul Godwin Images
Douglas J. Cuomo Composer, Producer, Liner Notes
Michael Fossenkemper Mastering
Diane Wondisford Executive Producer
John Schaefer Liner Notes
Ramananda Prasad Text Translation
Hillary Leone Images
Peter Flaherty Images
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