- Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
- Katherine Ciesinski (Mezzo Soprano)
- Daniel Belcher (Baritone)
- Chen-Ye Yuan (Baritone)
- Stacey Tappan (Soprano)
- Chad Shelton (Tenor)
- Derrick Parker (Baritone)
- Stephanie Novacek (Mezzo Soprano)
- James Maddalena (Baritone)
- Margaret Lloyd (Soprano)
- Gwendolyn Jones (Mezzo Soprano)
Notes & Reviews:
Based on Louisa May Alcott's enduringly popular novel about the adventures of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy in civil-war era New England, Mark Adamo's opera 'Little Women' has been performed in more than 70 national and international engagements since its 1998 première by Houston Grand Opera and has achieved the status of an American classic. This recording, with a superb cast expertly directed for television, vividly brings to life an opera that The New Yorker hailed as "A beautifully crafted work, brilliantly molding Alcott's tale into operatic form," and The New York Times dubbed a "masterpiece".
"Now, in a splendidly crafted production from the Houston Grand Opera in March 2000, we have the opera, Little Women, composed in direct lineage of Samuel Barber’s opera, Venessa... Back in 2000 the glittering career of Joyce DiDonato was just beginning, her beautifully focused soprano making a charming Meg, Stacey Tappan and Margaret Lloyd complete the four sisters. Chad Shelton’s Laurie and Daniel Belcher make highly plausible young lovers. There are two minor male roles: Derreck Parker as Dashwood, and Chen-Ye Yuan as Jo’s eventual lover, Friedrich, their singing right out of the top drawer. The chamber orchestra of Houston Opera is admirable under the conductor, Patrick Summers, and the television director, Brian Large, again scores a triumph. It also comes on Blu-ray (NXS 0007). Hugely recommended." -David's Review Corner
"The full production that appears on this disc, staged in 2000, was later broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances series. This is a chance to own a staged recording of an opera that is performed with greater frequency every year. In the role of Jo, Stephanie Novacek is strong if a bit stoic, and Joyce DiDonato’s performance of Meg leaves no doubt as to why she was recently named Gramophone’s 'Artist of the Year.'" -Music Media Monthly
"Split into two acts, it seems to bring out an honest discourse of Miss Austen’s classic [Little Women was written by Luisa May Alcott, not Jane Austen - Ed] long missing and forgotten by the recent wave of lame, tired, homogenized, flat, dull film versions. Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Peter Webster did the stage directing, Brian Large directed the HD shots and the cast out acts big name Hollywood stars as well as being exceptionally gifted singers. Bravo everyone!" -Fulvue Drive-In
"I had long despaired of ever finding a “modern” opera that I actually enjoyed. A welcome exception is Mark Adamo’s “Little Women” that premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 2000 and was telecast on Public Television... I actually felt involved with the characters, thanks mostly to the fine acting of the cast... I am thinking what a fine seasonal present this DVD would make." -Brattleboro Reformer
American Record Guide
Adamo's music is a blend of atonal and romantic that several reviewers felt detracted from a smooth integration. I found it stimulating. I agree with John Rockwell, who, in The New York Times after the March 2003 New York City Opera premiere, called Little Women a masterpiece.
This is the same production, and possibly the same recording, that appeared on Ondine in sound only in 2001 and was less than rapturously received by John Story... Story's beefs, as I understand them, are that it isn't a faithful realization of the book, that by deconstructing Jo's passage through the story psychologically it misses the whole thrust of the 19th-century original, and that the plot-driven parts of the opera are intentionally written in a 12-tone style at odds with the lyrical passages. I'm sure that's all true. I'm tempted to say that I find the opera a success not just despite these reservations but actually, in part, because of them. Maybe it helps to see it - even if, as for me, the sound is not as good because I don't have my television hooked up to my best hi-fi... this is a remarkably successful opera given an excellent performance and production.
Run Time: 114 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Submitted on 11/17/10 by Dan Coombs
Works DetailsAdamo, Mark : Little Women, opera
- Performers: Chen-Ye Yuan (Baritone); Stacey Tappan (Soprano); Chad Shelton (Tenor); Derrick Parker (Baritone); Stephanie Novacek (Mezzo Soprano); James Maddalena (Baritone); Margaret Lloyd (Soprano); Gwendolyn Jones (Mezzo Soprano); Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano); Katherine Ciesinski (Mezzo Soprano); Daniel Belcher (Baritone)
- Conductor: Patrick Summers
- Ensemble: Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1998