Elektra

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Recording of Robert Ward's The Crucible

There is a new recording, apparently only the second, of Robert Ward's The Crucible, an opera created only a few years after its source material, Arthur Miller's play of the same name, was published.

The first recording was from NYCO and features the original cast. You can still buy it, on Albany Records.

Now Albany has collaborated with SUNY/Purchase, which has an outstanding music program, to make a second recording of the opera. I am under the impression that this opera has been done more frequently at music schools than at professional opera companies, but it was staged recently at Glimmerglass, with a cast that featured our man Brian Mulligan, so perhaps it will earn more prominence in the opera world.

I'm scratching my head at Albany's claim that it is the only American opera to win a Pulitzer Prize. Um, two Menotti operas (in English), Barber's Vanessa, Douglas Moore's Giants in the Earth, Kevin Puts's Silent Night, and other operas have won the Pulitzer for music. The big mystery in Pulitzer opera awards is the absence of operas by Philip Glass - okay, Einstein on the Beach - and John Adams from the list. (I do realize that Nixon in China was widely misunderstood back in 1987 and is now recognized as one of the greatest American operas.)

UPDATE 1/24/2017: Albany has corrected their web page.









UPDATE: I've been asked where Albany claims it's the only American opera to have won the Pulitzer Prize: the yellow header above the description of the older recording. See the text outlined on the screencap below, which is from Albany's web page for the first recording.


7 comments:

Russell said...

Where is Albany claiming that it's the only American opera to win the Pulitzer? I looked at their listings of both recordings and they only say that it won the Pulitzer.

Lisa Hirsch said...

On the page I linked to for the first recording, in the mustard-colored heading right above the body text describing the opera. Take a look at the updated post - I added a screen capture.

kalimac said...

San Jose Opera did The Crucible in 2005. I remember this because I saw it. Timothy Near directed.

Lisa Hirsch said...

What did you think of it? I don't know Ward's music at all.

Molly said...

They ran out of space. What they meant for that little box to say was: THE ONLY AMERICAN OPERA THAT WE HAVE RECORDED TO WIN THE PULITZER PRIZE. Someone put that blue arrow in, and something had to go...

I thought the music was quite effective, and seeing it last summer was quite timely (though like so many others I wish things had turned out better...). I do think the play is better, though.

kalimac said...

I thought The Crucible was very drama-tooled music in the sense that Wagner is, with a variation of intensity employed the way Puccini would do it. Made for an effective performance, even though the singers were of variable quality. The musical style, however, took mostly after Ward's teacher, Howard Hanson.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Albany has seen this post and corrected their web page - correction screencap later. :)