24 Feb 2006
When the Lyrics Are Fragmentary and the Melodies Elusive
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI [NY Times, 23 February 2006]
The challenge for a composer in selecting texts for musical setting is to find words that are meaningful and intriguing on their own terms but also invite music. John Harbison chose well in fashioning 10 poems by the Nobel Prize-winning writer Czeslaw Milosz into a text for "Milosz Songs," his 30-minute work for soprano and orchestra, which was given its premiere on Thursday night by the soprano Dawn Upshaw, for whom it was written, and the New York Philharmonic, which commissioned it. The piece was conducted by Robert Spano on a program including works by Bartok and Bernstein.