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Glanville-Hicks: Sappho


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Sappho, the last grand opera of Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-90), was written in her stone cottage on the island of Mykonos in 1963.

Intended for Maria Callas but never heard before this recording, it captures all the colours of ancient Greece: haunting woodwind solos and shimmering percussion evoke the stillness of crystal island waters, and an epic chorus and colossal brass fanfare herald the conquering hero's army.

Deborah Polaski, who creates the role of the aging Sappho - 'in turn tempestuous, querulous, compassionate, tender, fierce, impatient...poised like a needle in a compass' - describes the opera as 'the kind of music that singers want to sing [....] it offers you so many facets, from colour to expressiveness within the line itself'.

The libretto was fashioned by the composer from Lawrence Durrell's verse-play with Durrell's approval - the booklet contains a photograph of the two of them in buoyant mood.

A stellar international cast donated their performances for the realisation of a dream - to enable Sappho to be heard for the first time in 2012, the centenary of both the composer and librettist.

Musical preparation, from deciphering the hand-written manuscript to conducting the ensemble with the Orquestra and Coro Gulbenkian, has been the work of the young Australian conductor, Jennifer Condon, whose energy and passion for this hitherto unknown work brought this recording into being.
Facts
Item number TOCC 0154-55
Barcode 5060113441546
Release date 29/10/2012
Category Romantic
Label Toccata Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 2
Performers
Artists Polaski, Deborah
Composers Glanville-Hicks, Peggy
Conductors Condon, Jennifer
Orchestras Gulbenkian, Orquestra
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