Celebrating MOR’s newest CD release
Music by Tom Cipullo Libretto by David Mason
MOR recently launched its new Naxos recording of The Parting with a virtual CD release celebration on Zoom. Now you can view the celebration here (or see it again if you were there)! You’ll meet members of the cast and creative team and see video highlights of this compelling work. The engaging conversation with the composer, librettist and performers will give you a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into how a new opera takes shape from its earliest conception, and what it takes for a gifted artistic team to bring it to life on the stage.
Tom Cipullo and librettist David Mason’s engrossing one-act opera The Parting is 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.
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 (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.