PHILIP GLASS (b.1936): Orphée.

Catalogue Number: 10M079

Label: Orange Mountain Music

Reference: OMM 0068

Format: CD

Price: $24.98

Description: Based on Jean Cocteau's film which updated the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to - what else? Parisian café society, Glass' adaptation captures the spirit of Cocteau perfectly, every line of dialogue a clear, precise, elegant little would-be aphorism with studiedly ambiguous or self-contradictory meaning. The libretto sets Cocteau's screenplay shortened but otherwise largely unaltered, the result being essentially a stage production of the film with Glass' music replacing the original, by Georges Auric. Glass' early-1990s score is essentially a throwback to the oscillating minor thirds and arpeggios of his trademark 1980s style, here used as exactly the type of accompanying texture its detractors always accused it of resembling, with the dialogue overlain as just that - sung dialogue in consonant, uncomplicated vocal lines. The score is not without humour - a flute solo takes over from voices in an elegantly pointless-on-purpose evocation of Gluck's over-popular blessed spirits from his Orpheus - or drama, with Glass winding up the tension with his chromatically dissonant bass-lines familiar from - well, most of his stage and film sores, really. This approach suits Cocteau's stylized, mannered text very well, and underlines its wit and snarky surrealist reinvention of the characters in studiedly two-dimensional modern terms. Glass' enthusiasts will have no reason to hesitate over this one. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Philip Cutlip (baritone), Lisa Saffer, Georgia Jarman (sopranos), Portland Opera Orchestra; Anne Manson.

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