Music by Tom Cipullo Libretto by David Mason
From May 25 until May 31, Music of Remembrance will be streaming composer Tom Cipullo and librettist David Mason’s engrossing one-act opera about the life and art of the great 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.
This world premiere performance 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 (Zart Dombourian Eby, flute; Laura DeLuca, clarinet, Mikhail Shmidt, violin, Walter Gray, cello and Jessica Choe, piano) is conducted by Alastair Willis. The production was directed by Erich Parce.
Earlier this month, Naxos Records released Music of Remembrance’s recording of The Parting. It’s an occasion for celebration, and so to launch the recording we are hosting a virtual CD release party on Zoom. YOU’RE INVITED!
Join us to meet members of the cast and creative team that brought the world this compelling new work.
The date: Tuesday, May 26
The time: 3:00 Pacific Time