- Love and Other Demons, opera
Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös has an eclectic style he applies to operatic settings of diverse materials. At one time he took on the thankless task of writing an opera based on the sprawling Tony Kushner play Angels in America. The 1994 Gabriel García Márquez novella Love and Other Demons would seem only slightly easier, but in fact Eötvös makes some headway. It may be that this is the kind of opera more appreciated by singers than by audiences; soprano, Allison Bell, and two tenors Robert Brubaker and John Graham-Hall, are pushed just to their limits but not beyond in this live recording of a 2008 production at Britain's Glyndebourne opera house for which the work was commissioned. But Eötvös does well to focus on the magical aspect of García Márquez's prose, especially strong in this story of a girl who is infected with rabies and whose red hair continues to grow after her death. Neither he nor librettist Kornél Hamvai (writing in English) tries to convey the nature of García Márquez's prose, nor to give the music a specifically Latin American flavor; actually there is very little of that. Instead there are scenes set as beautifully static tableaux, defined by unusual sonorities in the orchestra over substantial periods of time. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra are as much stars of the show here as the singers, and the fine live sound gives the entire ensemble an impressive sense of presence.