Notes and Editorial Reviews
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Described by Opera News as “an important addition to the American operatic canon,” Sister Carrie takes as its themes the lure of money and social standing. Robert Aldridge’s inventive score is richly melodic and unapologetically tonal. Herschel Garfein’s libretto is based on Theodore Dreiser’s groundbreaking 1900 novel, which depicts a small-town girl’s tortuous path to fame and her lover’s abject descent into despair. Aldridge and Garfein’s Elmer Gantry was a two-time Grammy Award winner. Here, the lead roles are played by Mezzo-soprano Adriana
Zabala, baritone Keith Phares, tenor Matt Morgan, and soprano Alisa Suzanne Jordheim.
Robert Aldrige’s Sister Carrie is obviously one of the most important additions to America’s present day operatic repertoire. The music is purely tonal and traditionally consists of solo arias, duets and ensembles, it general tenure remaining in the world of mainstream popular opera. Based on the novel by Theodore Dreiser, the plot, too complex to detail here, examines the need for women in the early 20th-Century to use anything — sexual attractions being a good starting point — if they want to climb the social scale, not concerning themselves too much who they hurt on the way up.
In the part of Carrie, the American mezzo Adriana Zabala sings with a dramatic intensity that is ideal for this ‘nothing will stop me’ girl. Keith Phares, as the ill-fated Hurstwood, has a warm baritone voice, and his two joined arias as the central point in the second act are deeply moving. As a foil the light tenor of Matt Morgan makes an ideal Charlie Drouet, who has the good fortune of escaping her clutches. In the cameo role of the socialite, Mrs. Vance, Ariana Douglas, is outstanding, with Alisa Suzzane Jordheim as a vibrant actress, Lola Sterling.
Presumably recorded ‘live’ at the opera’s premiere in Milwaukee last October, the balance between singers and orchestra is very well handled, the recording creating an effect of a small venue. There are no stage noises, and thankfully no audience applause during or at the end of acts.
– David's Review Corner (David Denton)
Works on This Recording
Sister Carrie by Robert Livingston Aldridge
Stephen Cunningham (Bass Baritone),
Keith Phares (Baritone),
Alisa Suzanne Jordheim (Soprano),
Adriana Zabala (Mezzo Soprano),
Matt Morgan (Tenor)
Florentine Opera Chorus,
Florentine Opera Company
Written: 2012; USA
Length: 153 Minutes 33 Secs.
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