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Douglas J. Cuomo: Arjuna's Dilemma
     

Douglas J. Cuomo: Arjuna's Dilemma

by Douglas J. Cuomo
 
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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/01/2008
Label:
Innova Records
UPC:
0726708669720
catalogNumber:
697

Related Subjects

Tracks

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
Diane Wondisford   Executive Producer
John Schaefer   Liner Notes
Ramananda Prasad   Text Translation
Hillary Leone   Images
Peter Flaherty   Images

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