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Jonathan Dove: Tobias & The Angel

Album Summary

>Dove, Jonathan : Tobias and the Angel, opera in 1 act
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Jonathan Dove is one of Britain’s leading composers of opera. His community opera 'Tobias and the Angel' was premiered in 1999 at Christ Church, Highbury Fields in London and was then taken up by the Young Vic / English Touring Opera in 2005 during the refurbishment of the theatre company’s regular venue. It was first performed at the newly re-opened Young Vic in 2006. The masterly libretto by David Lan is based on the Book of Tobit from the biblical Apocrypha. The colourful story of Tobit who is blinded after daring to give a fellow Jew a proper burial, and the ensuing adventures of his son Tobias, particularly appealed to the composer. It is undoubtedly one of Dove’s brightest scores, possessing immense appeal and communicative powers. In this premiere recording of the opera the Young Vic production is directed by David Charles Abell.

"...there's a wealth of invention and imagination here which gives it a value beyond the walls of a theatre, church or any other performing space...Darren Abrahams perfectly captures the early naïveté of Tobias...and his evolution into a calm and poised husband, while countertenor James Laing exudes serenity as the accompanying angel." -International Record Review

"The solo roles are expertly cast and sung, with magnificent support from the children's and adult choruses...As a purely aural experience this is a deeply satisfying production. Everyone involved sounds as though they are having the time of their lives. An outstanding release." -Gramophone Magazine

"Darren Abrahams's youthful tenor is well suited to Tobias, hero of this apocryphal biblical yarn about listening to your heart. And Dove's attractive score (like John Adams sprinkled with Britten, plus a little Jewish folk music) bounces brightly out of the speakers." -The Times ****

"...the vocal style is in Dove's recognisable voice and listener-friendly mode...fluent and memorably lyrical. As a musical dramatist, one of Dove's strengths is that he knows when to let the music take the back seat and allow us to concentrate on the words and action." -BBC Music Magazine ****

"...this Chandos release bristles with a fresh, zesty vitality that is wholly becoming. Performances throughout are exemplary: the Tobias of Darren Abrahams adroitly pitched between innocence and juvenile brio, countertenor James Laing's Raphael potently serene and full of otherworldly nuance...A delight from start to finish." -Michael Quinn, bbc.co.uk

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden South, London, En (11/06/2006-11/08/2006).


Angels and demons
I first encountered the music of Jonathan Dove when London's National Theatre staged the fantasy HIS DARK MATERIALS: along with spectacular stage effects, his incidental music helped to create the illusion of magical worlds within worlds. Before and after that, Dove has been active as a composer for the stage, and his 1999 opera for a church setting finally joins his other recorded works. In this tale from the Apocrypha, young Tobias is assisted by a mysterious stranger (countertenor James Laing as the angel) in a quest to restore his father's sight and save a young woman in thrall to a demon. The music matches the moods of the libretto--dramatic, occasionally funny, and ending with a chorale of devastating simplicity--and is beautifully scored, so that an orchestra of a dozen sounds like twice that. Full libretto, photos, typical Chandos production and recording values.
Submitted on 09/02/10 by Jim D. 
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Works Details

>Dove, Jonathan : Tobias and the Angel, opera in 1 act
  • Performer: Omar Ebrahim (Baritone)
  • Conductor: David Abell
  • Notes: St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Gardens Suburb (11/06/2006-11/08/2006)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Opera/Operetta