Sunday, 6 December 2015

Today : European première of John Harbison's 'The Great Gatsby' in Dresden

Today, John Harbison's opera The Great Gatsby, with a libretto by the composer after F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, will have its first performance in Europe at the Semper Oper in Dresden.

The opera was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the debut of conductor James Levine. It was first performed there on December 20, 1999. The cast included tenor Jerry Hadley (Jay Gatsvy), soprano Dawn Upshaw (Daisy Buchanan), tenor Mark W. Baker (Tom Buchanan), baritone Dwayne Croft (Nick Carraway), mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (Jordan Baker), bass Richard Paul Fink (George Wilson) and mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Myrtle Wilson). James Levine conducted and Mark Lamos directed.

The same production was also performed at the Civic Opera House in Chicago in October 2000 and then revived at the Met in April 2002. In February 2012, a reduced version, with re-orchestration for 30 musicians (instead of the original 120) by  Jacques Desjardins, was performed by Ensemble Parallèle in San Francisco.

The cast for the Dresden performances includes Peter Lodahl (Jay Gatsby), Maria Bengtsson (Daisy Buchanan), Raymond Very (Tom Buchanan), John Chest (Nick Carraway), Christina Bock (Jordan Baker), Lester Lynch (George Wilson) and Angel Blue (Myrtle Wilson). Wayne Marshall conducts the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Keith Warner directs.

In my collection, I have the libretto published by G. Schirmer :

It includes the complete cast of characters with tessituras and a detailed scenario.

In 2014, on the occasion of the 40th anniversay of James Levine's debut, a recording of the broadcast of January 1, 2000, was released by the Met.

Full information on the opera, including full score, reduced version, vocal score and libretto are available on the Music Sales Classical website.

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