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Barbara White: Weakness, an opera / Sarah Davis, soprano; Riley Lee, bamboo flute; Barbara White, clarinets

Album Summary

>White, Barbara : Weakness, opera
>Cowan, Tom : Macha, a story
Performers Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Weakness, an opera by Barbara White, is based on an old Celtic story known as "The Curse of Macha." White was inspired to use this story for an opera after spending time in a Chicago monastery, where she participated in a seminar taught by Tom Cowan on Druid Wisdom Tales. Cowan, an internationally respected teacher of shamanism and Celtic spirituality was in turn, inspired by White's opera, where the story of Macha came alive for him, to write his own tale, which is presented on this disc. Barbara White has become increasingly active in theatrical performance and as a video maker and she remains an idiosyncratic and searching clarinetist. She is a professor of music at Princeton University and has received awards and honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, among others.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
In her 47-minute, 5-scene opera, Weakness, Barbara White begins Scene 1 ('Arrival') with nine minutes of instrumental mood-setting, where clarinetist-composer White, bamboo flutist Riley Lee, electric guitarist Taylor Levine, and percussionist Dominic Donato create the eerie, timeless atmosphere that is the Otherworld where Macha exists. Scene 2 ('Departure') begins with a long introduction by bamboo flute and electric guitar and then proceeds to the part of the story where Crunnchu leaves, despite Macha's insistence that he stay home. Fine performances by all, especially by soprano Sarah Davis. The music is strange but fascinating, and it fits perfectly with this very strange story. All in all, it is moving opera, and I imagine it would be even better in a stage performance.



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Works Details

>White, Barbara : Weakness, opera
  • Performers: Millicent Brigaud (Percussion); Lisa Carlucci (Percussion); Kristin Clotfelter (Percussion); Sarah Davis (Soprano); Dominic Donato (Percussion); Kate Knodel (Percussion); Riley Lee (Bamboo Flute); Taylor Levine; Franco Paoletti (Percussion); Livia Paoletti (Percussion); John Russell (Percussion); Barbara White (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Michael Pratt
  • Notes: The Point, Ingonish, Nova Scotia (04/04/2013-04/06/2013); Burton's Sunset Oasis, Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia (04/04/2013-04/06/2013); The Point, Ingonish, Nova Scotia (06/2012); Burton's Sunset Oasis, Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia (06/2012)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Cowan, Tom : Macha, a story
  • Performers: Tom Cowan (Voice); Aurore d'Argent (Voice); Paul Davis (Tin Whistle); Taylor Levine; Charles MacDonald (Guitar); Robert MacDonald (Guitar); Rose McSweeney (Bamboo Flute); Rose McSweeney (Clarinet); Greg Silver (Fiddle)
  • Notes: The Point, Ingonish, Nova Scotia (05/30/2012); Burton's Sunset Oasis, Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia (05/30/2012); The Point, Ingonish, Nova Scotia (06/2012); Burton's Sunset Oasis, Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia (06/2012)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary