Media Contact: Mina Miller, Artistic Director
POETIC WITNESS TO THE HOLOCAUST INSPIRES THE PARTING, MUSIC OF REMEMBRANCE’S EIGHTH CD ON NAXOS
Tom Cipullo’s new opera The Parting explores the life and art of the great Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti
SEATTLE, WA—April 15, 2020— Music of Remembrance (MOR) has released its CD recording of The Parting, a new opera by composer Tom Cipullo and librettist David Mason (Naxos American Opera Classics: 8.669044). The opera explores the life and art of Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti, one of the most important literary witnesses to the Holocaust and one of its tragic victims. Radnóti was a distinctive figure in Budapest’s intellectual circles between the world wars. Despite his conversion to Catholicism, he was conscripted into slave labor during World War II because of his Jewish heritage. The opera recalls the moments, filled with passion and memory, that Radnóti shared with his wife Fanni on the eve of his departure for the forced labor camp from which he knew he would not return alive.
Radnóti’s poems express emotions from love and enchantment, to absolute loss and bitter despair at what had become of the world he knew. The Parting includes haunting texts found in Radnóti’s jacket pocket when his body was exhumed from a mass grave after the war. This opera is a profound meditation on what it is about art that outlives us, that enables us to be creative even in the face of unimaginable adversity and reminds us to guard against hatred and to celebrate what makes us human. The cast features baritone Michael Mayes as Radnóti, soprano Laura Strickling as Fanni, and mezzo soprano Catherine Cook as a phantasmic presence hovering over them as an angel of both life and death. The performance, with MOR’s instrumental ensemble drawn from the Seattle Symphony, is conducted by Alastair Willis.
Tom Cipullo and David Mason are the same team that created After Life for MOR in 2015. That provocative opera, imagining a confrontation between the ghosts of Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso (Naxos American Opera Classics: 8.669036) over the role of art and artists in a troubled world, received the National Opera Association’s prestigious Domenick Argento Chamber Opera Award.
The Parting’s commission and its 2019 world premiere by MOR were supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
About Music of Remembrance
Founded in 1998 by pianist Mina Miller, Music of Remembrance (MOR) fills a unique cultural role throughout the world by remembering the Holocaust through music with concert performances, educational programs, recordings and commissions of new works. MOR’s major concerts at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and other venues have been acclaimed for their innovative programs and superior performances.
Along with its large and varied repertoire of Holocaust-era music, MOR has commissioned and premiered more than 30 new works by some of today’s leading composers, sharing stories that underline the Holocaust’s urgent moral relevance for us now. Committed to presenting music that matters, MOR’s recent commissions have addressed the urgency of preventing nuclear war, the tragic consequences of religious intolerance, and the plight of refugees.
More information is available at www.musicofremembrance.org. CD purchase: https://naxosdirect.com/items/cipullo-the-parting-534145.