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Blitzstein: Regina / Mauceri, Ciesinski, Ramey, Réaux

Release Date: 04/02/2009 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 433812   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Marc Blitzstein
Performer:  Katherine CiesinskiSamuel RameyAngelina RéauxTheresa Merritt,   ... 
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Opera ChorusScottish Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 32 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Mauceri’s performance, led by the strikingly powerful Katherine Ciesinski, is without qualification superb: idiomatic, fluently paced, full of wit, vigour and trenchant vocal colouring.

John Mauceri, who with his Scottish Opera forces gave us the splendid 1991 Decca recording of Weill’s Street Scene, adds another notable American opera to his discography. Just like Street Scene, Marc Blitzstein's Regina (1949) is a ‘real’ opera that was first performed on Broadway, and which frames its thoughts and feelings in that fertile American language shaped by both opera and the popular musical-theatre inheritance. Like Weill too, Blitzstein adapted a celebrated Broadway play of social comment – in this case The Little Foxes,
Read more Lillian Hellman’s Southern tale of bourgeois greed triumphing over faded upper-class gentility. It’s not, I feel, an American masterpiece on the level of Street Scene; nevertheless, Regina proves peculiarly compelling. Blitzstein’s main aim was a drama of characters embodying the opera’s thematic oppositions. At times, however, the ‘well-made play’ aspects of Hellman’s dramatic machinery seem to frustrate him. In the first of his three acts, too much time is spent on atmosphere-creation for the good of narrative unfolding. (Mauceri uses his own reconstructed ‘original version’ of the opera, which considerably lengthens the act.) But the blend of different musical idioms – jazz, blues, spirituals, ragtime, post-Puccinian vocal lyricism – is finely achieved; and as the music-drama takes hold, so does the fascinating individuality of Blitzstein’s operatic ‘voice’. Mauceri’s performance, led by the strikingly powerful Katherine Ciesinski and cast with some of the most distinguished American opera singers of the day, is without qualification superb: idiomatic, fluently paced, full of wit, vigour and trenchant vocal colouring. Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- Max Loppert, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Regina by Marc Blitzstein
Performer:  Katherine Ciesinski (Mezzo Soprano), Samuel Ramey (Bass), Angelina Réaux (Soprano),
Theresa Merritt (), Sheri Greenawald (Soprano), Timothy Noble (Bass),
Jeanette Wilson (Soprano), Katie Morrell (), William Peel (),
John Beazley (), John Mauceri (Spoken Vocals), Graeme Danby (),
Andy Harewood (Clarinet), Clarence Adoo (Trumpet), Trevor Alexander Edwards (Trombone),
Alan Weekes (Guitar), Victor Starkey (Drum Set), Scott Cooper (Baritone),
Ben Buurman (Violin), Tim Johnson (), David Morrison (),
Bruce Hubbard (Baritone), David Kuebler (Tenor), James Maddalena (Baritone),
Richard Glynn (Cello), Gerald Martin Moore (Piano)
Conductor:  John Mauceri
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Opera Chorus,  Scottish Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946-1949 
Date of Recording: 05/1991 
Venue:  Govan Town Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 152 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: English 

Featured Sound Samples

Regina: Act I: Introduction
Act II: Scene 1: "Look at me"

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