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Floyd: Cold Sassy Tree / Summers, Racette, Houston Grand Opera

Release Date: 08/30/2005 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 758/59   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carlisle Floyd
Performer:  Oren GradusDiane AlexanderJudith ChristinKerri Marcinko,   ... 
Conductor:  Patrick Summers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Grand Opera OrchestraHouston Grand Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 26 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Cold Sassy Tree, Carlisle Floyd's first crack at writing a comic opera, is taken from Olive Ann Burns' delightful exploration of youthful old age and set in an America affectionately drawn. As always, he has written his own libretto, drawing upon his own theatrical instincts that have been nourished simultaneously with his music. Like five of the six Floyd operas that preceded it, Cold Sassy Tree is about American attitudes, characters - and the joy of language. Like all the work that preceded it, the music is about expressive clarity, lyricism and the value of song. According to Daniel Webster, “Floyd writes popular opera. Not pandering opera, but theater pieces strapped tight with technical virtuosity, yet sounding innocent and natural…” Read more Carlisle Floyd comments that “In dramatizing the book for the stage, there were two undergirding themes in particular from the novel that I wanted to deal with. First was the astonishing capacity human beings possess for change and growth, and the second was the healing and transforming power of love. When the book first appeared one reviewer aptly described Ms. Burns' novel as the story of an old man growing young and a young man growing up and the woman who, without intending to, becomes the catalyst for both. This general description holds true, I hope, for the opera as well.” This recording represents a major addition to the opera discography.

Libretto included.

R E V I E W S:

"The opera was big, sprawling and engaging when heard in the Wortham Theater Center. Those qualities emerge again in the CD version based on the live performances...Floyd made his reputation through Susannah, a 1955 opera set in Appalachia...Cold Sassy Tree may very well prove the work that balances and completes the great success of Susannah. The CD performance, led by HGO music director Patrick Summers, amply demonstrates the deep humanity of the Cold Sassy Tree. The story is nicely rounded and the characters strongly developed...Cold Sassy Tree represents the essence of Floyd's art: the ability to turn fundamental stories of the American experience into memorable operas."
-Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

"Cold Sassy Tree is full of lively, lovable characters, memorable tunes and magnificent dramatic sequences; besides, it just plain works on the stage — and on record, as demonstrated in the release of a two-disc set of the Houston production. Based on Olive Ann Burns's coming-of-age novel set in an isolated town in Georgia in 1900, Cold Sassy Tree lovingly examines the humor and grandeur of human life in simple terms of family, community and romantic love...Cold Sassy Tree remains dramatically and musically convincing five years after its premiere, and the passion and skill of the original performers come across magnificently in this recording."
- Wayne Lee Gay, Fort Worth Star Telegram

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Works on This Recording

Cold Sassy Tree by Carlisle Floyd
Performer:  Oren Gradus (Bass), Diane Alexander (Soprano), Judith Christin (Alto),
Kerri Marcinko (Soprano), Jessica Jones (Soprano), Marie Lenormand (Mezzo Soprano),
Dean Peterson (Bass Baritone), John McVeigh (Tenor), Richard Sutcliff (Tenor),
Scott Scully (Tenor), Margaret Lloyd (Soprano), Joseph Evans (Tenor),
Patricia Racette (Soprano), Christopher Schaldenbrand (Baritone), Matthew Kreger (Tenor),
Beth Clayton (Mezzo Soprano), James Holloway (Tenor)
Conductor:  Patrick Summers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Grand Opera Orchestra,  Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 
Length: 145 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 

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