LAURENT PETITGIRARD (b.1950): Guru.
Catalogue Number: 09N071
Description: This powerful and compelling opera deals with the subject of cults and the deranged, charismatic figures who lead their members into all manner of self-deception, abuse and fanaticism. The mass suicide at the end obviously refers most explicitly to Jonestown, but the unhealthy manipulation of his followers by the cult leader, Guru, contains a warning about all such organisations. As in his earlier, moving human drama The Elephant Man, Petitgirard presents his material in music that is accessible, eloquent and lyrical, with great dramatic immediacy. The music's very tonal idiom suggests the influence of Bartók, Honegger, and slightly more distantly, Ravel, while the work's dramatic three-act arc, strongly characterized, eloquent and vocally grateful solo roles, and full-scale orchestral and choral backdrop place it firmly in the finest tradition of the opera house. 2 CDs. Libretto and translations available on-line. Hubert Claessens (bass-baritone), Sonia Petrovna (actress), Philippe Do (tenor), Karen Wierzba (soprano), Philippe Kahn (bass), Budapest Studio Choir, Honvéd Male Choir, Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Budapest; Laurent Petitgirard.