Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Refuge is the fruition of the Houston Grand Opera's commitment to connect with its community. The brainchild of General Director Anthony Freud, the idea was to commission an opera based on the experiences of the ethnically-varied immigrants who make Houston their home. The libretto, written by Leah Lax, is based on the oral histories of families from Africa, Central America, Vietnam, Pakistan and India who have made their way to Houston and made it their home. Their courageous journeys make this an American opera in the truest sense. Their stores are eloquently captured in music by the Houston-native, Christopher Theofanidis.
The music is an expressive and colourful reflection of the emotional arcs in Lax's libretto, with soaring vocal lines, vivid orchestral shadings and rousing choral writing to send home the work's humane messages.
For all his previous opera experience, composer Christopher Theofanidis faced a unique challenge. He responded brilliantly, infusing rhythmic urgency into the narratives, exciting the Houston Grand Opera orchestra as much as the resourcefully deployed vocalists.
–American Record Guide