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Ward: Roman Fever / David Gilbert

Release Date: 04/09/2002 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 505   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert Ward
Performer:  Dorothy GrimleyErin Elizabeth SmithEudora BrownAmy Shoremount,   ... 
Conductor:  David Gilbert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Manhattan School of Music Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Roman Fever had its world premiere in Durham, NC in the Spring of 1993. Robert Ward, Pulitzer-prize composer and retired Mary Duke Biddle Professor at Duke University, composed the music for the opera based on the well-known short story by Edith Wharton. The librettist, Roger Brunyate, is a stage director for the opera department at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. "Earlier," said Ward in an interview, "Roger told me he was speaking to all his composer friends about writing operas with predominantly female casts. His idea seemed a good one, since most university and conservatory opera groups are three-quarters women and one-quarter men, and opera casts are usually the opposite - mostly men, fewer women." Shortly after this, Ward Read more happened to read Wharton's short stories, including "Roman Fever." "I thought, My God, what a story, so I contacted Roger to see if he'd like to write the libretto while I worked on the music." The title refers both to malaria, the disease which once flourished in the marshes near Rome, and, metaphorically, to the giddiness that strikes many who visit the romantic Italian capital. Despite dark elements, the composer describes his work as a "tragicomedy: no one dies. "The tragic element," says Ward, "lies in the thing that in our life we have failed to achieve: relationships, career, the thing that leaves a kind of ache inside throughout our lives." The score of the opera displays a number of interesting musical styles: the old-style Italian ballad, a jazz duet, an operatic aria and a soaring quartet where each woman expresses her individual thoughts. Said Ward, "I've never written anything so overtly jazzy as this duet in this show 'They Kissed our Hands'." Read less

Works on This Recording

Roman Fever by Robert Ward
Performer:  Dorothy Grimley (), Erin Elizabeth Smith (), Eudora Brown (),
Amy Shoremount (), Maxime Alvarez de Toledo ()
Conductor:  David Gilbert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Manhattan School of Music Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/2001 
Venue:  Live  Mahnattan School of Music, NYC 
Length: 57 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: English 

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