PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Galileo Galilei.
Catalogue Number: 01P074
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Reference: OMM 0091
Description: Works about pivotal historical figures who expanded the boundaries of human knowledge form a significant subset of Glass' operatic output, and this 2001 opera explores the relationship between science and religion through the eyes of one who sought to reconcile them and failed, during his lifetime. The work opens with the old, blind Galileo remembering the events of his life. The action plays in reverse, with each successive scene dealing with earlier events, beginning with Galileo's denunciation by the Church, encompassing the development of his theories and experiments, and aspects of his personal life, and ending with the child Galileo at a performance of an opera by his father, a pioneer of the artform. Glass' operatic style has been notably consistent since 1979's Satyagraha, and there are no great musical departures here; oscillating accompaniments with transient dissonant disruptions under soaring vocal lines, gratefully written for the voice; the emphasis on melody has steadily increased over the years, and several arias here are especially memorable. A fine specimen of a now-familiar genre. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Richard Troxell (tenor), Lindsay Ohse (soprano), André Chiang (baritone), Nicholas Nelson (bass), The Portland Opera; Anne Manson.