Leonardo Balada: La Muerte de Colón

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
"La Muerte de Colón" 1992-1993, rev.1996 is the second of Spanish-American composer Leonardo Balada's two operas based on the life of the explorer. The first, "Cristóbal Colón" [1984-1986], is also available on the Naxos label. The recording of the second work comes from its premiere production in 2005, at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, where Balada has taught since 1970. It is more successful on every level than the opera to which it is a sequel. "Cristóbal Colón" is a work that's interesting rather than compelling, but this opera, with a libretto by the composer, is dramatically coherent, emotionally focused, and musically convincing. The character of Columbus...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
"La Muerte de Colón" 1992-1993, rev.1996 is the second of Spanish-American composer Leonardo Balada's two operas based on the life of the explorer. The first, "Cristóbal Colón" [1984-1986], is also available on the Naxos label. The recording of the second work comes from its premiere production in 2005, at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, where Balada has taught since 1970. It is more successful on every level than the opera to which it is a sequel. "Cristóbal Colón" is a work that's interesting rather than compelling, but this opera, with a libretto by the composer, is dramatically coherent, emotionally focused, and musically convincing. The character of Columbus on his deathbed, reflecting on the consequences of his actions in the New World and the devastation he brought to the indigenous culture, is psychologically complex, and even sympathetic in his dawning self-awareness. Balada intriguingly introduces a Mysterious Character, the protagonist's conscience, who emerges out of his unconscious in his dying hours, and who, through flashbacks, allows Columbus to see with clarity just what he has done. The work is also musically more successful than its predecessor; instead of a frenetic mélange of styles, Balada here allows musical ideas to unfold and blossom in ways that are unforced and memorable, and they seem inexorable. The orchestration is colorful and inventive and plays a strong role in the development of the music's logic. The cast may not have star power, but the singers are consistently excellent, down to the smallest roles, with no weak links. Balada's vocal writing has matured so that it sits more comfortably for the voice and is more lyrically melodic. Tenor Jon Garrison, soprano Judith Jenkins, baritone David Okerlund, and mezzo-soprano Kathryn Mueller are especially impressive in the roles of Columbus, Queen Isabella, the Mysterious Character, and Beatriz, singing with power, warmth, and flexibility. Robert Page leads the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, the Carnegie Repertory Chorus, and members of the Mendelssohn Choir in performances that are disciplined and propulsively energetic; in spite of its more somber subject matter, this opera is more exuberantly expressive and engaging than its predecessor. Naxos' sound is clean, spacious, and well-balanced. "La Muerte de Colón" is an opera that deserves wide attention and, particularly in this impressive recording, should be of strong interest to fans of new opera.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/29/2009
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 730099019378
  • Catalog Number: 8660193-94
  • Sales rank: 374,327

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–16 La Muerte de Colón, opera - Leonardo Balada & Leonardo Balada (94:14)
    Composed byLeonardo Balada
    Conducted byRobert E. Page
    Performed byJon Garrison, Robert E. Page, David Okerlund, Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Kathryn Mueller, Raymond Blackwell, Carnegie Mellon Repertory Chorus, Judith Jenkins, Dimitrie Lazich, Milutin Lazich, Arturo Martín, Members of the Mendelssohn Choir, Katy Shackleton-Williams, Brent Stater
    1. 1Act 1. Scene 1. Barcelona: retorno de Columbus
    2. 2Act 1. Scene 2. Lecho de Muerte No. 1
    3. 3Act 1. Scene 3a. En un poblado Indio-Cancion
    4. 4Act 1. Scene 3b. En un poblado Indio-Pillaje
    5. 5Act 1. Scene 4. Lecho de Muerte No. 2
    6. 6Act 1. Scene 5. Bobadilla
    7. 7Act 1. Scene 6. Mirad!
    8. 8Act 1. Scene 7. Jerusalem
    9. 9Act 1. Scene 8. Los Columbuses
    10. 10Act 2. Scene 1. En un poblado Indio: Danza
    11. 11Act 2. Scene 2. Lecho de Muerte No. 3
    12. 12Act 2. Scene 3. Amadisima
    13. 13Act 2. Scene 4. Lecho de Muerte No. 4
    14. 14Act 2. Scene 5. Los Heroes
    15. 15Act 2. Scene 6. Apocalipsis
    16. 16Act 2. Scene 7. Perdonadme
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robert E. Page Primary Artist
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