“Michael Nyman crafted a brilliant and beautiful score based on variations of Schumann songs. Using Ich grolle nicht as generating material, he captures the decline of a man’s mind through fractal variations. The melodic and rhythmic elements disassociate and reassemble themselves in fascinating ways. Paired with Oliver Sacks’ sensitive libretto, we see music ultimately give the patient a sense of normalcy. The superb Nashville studio musicians bring their best to this recording. They play with fearlessness, clarity, and deep involvement, revealing the beauty and humanity of this opera. Though minimalist in spirit, this score breathes and sings melody and emotion.”
Michael Nyman’s one-act chamber opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat takes as its subject Dr P, a man suffering from visual agnosia, or ‘mental blindness’, and is adapted from the neurological study in the book of the same name by Oliver Sacks. For Nyman, Dr P ‘requires music as a lifeline, cue, clue, cure’, living as he does in a world lacking visual meaning. It is through his musical gifts that Dr P reclaims meaning from chaos, Nyman’s tautly conceived masterpiece providing a perfect medium through which the moving drama can be explored.
Listen to an extract from Scene 3: The House Call: Bösendorfer!
About the Artists
Dean Williamson enjoys a versatile career directing both standard and contemporary repertoire. He currently serves as Music Director of Nashville Opera where his credits include Hydrogen Jukebox, Così fan tutte, Florencia en el Amazonas, Romulus Hunt, La fanciulla del West, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Roméo et Juliette, and Samson and Delilah. The production of Le Comte Ory that he conducted at Des Moines Metro Opera was nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award.
Recipient of the “Best Singer Award” 2011 Austin Critics’ Table for his performance in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Matthew Treviño is one today’s most sought-after young basses. Operatic credits include the roles of Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Colline in La bohème, Hobson in Peter Grimes, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Ashby in La Fanciulla del West.
Lauded for her powerful, flexible and clear voice as well as her dramatic commitment to each work, Rebecca Sjöwall has performed a wide variety of roles, including the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, Mimi in La bohème, Alice Ford in Falstaff, the Williamson girl in The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and Violetta in La traviata.
Ryan MacPherson is one of the most highly sought-after young tenors of his generation. With a vast and growing repertoire, he is well-known for his captivating stage presence as well as his expertise in modern and contemporary music. He has performed with New York City Opera, the Buxton Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera Dublin and Nashville Opera.
The Nashville Opera Orchestra is an extraordinary group of instrumentalists comprising some of the finest musicians in the city of Nashville. Masters of contrasting styles—from Aldridge’s gospel-tinged Elmer Gantry to the sweeping orchestrations of Puccini’s Turandot—the players of the Nashville Opera Orchestra are equally at home playing operatic scores as they are working with the biggest stars on Nashville’s legendary Music Row.
“Quite apart from the excellence of the performances, all given good recorded sound, this CD offers an ideal ... introduction to the music of one of the most interesting and stimulating composers currently before the public. For the newcomer to Adams’ music this is well-nigh ideal ... a top quality release. Urgently recommended.”
– MusicWeb International
Listen to an extract from Short Ride in a Fast Machine
“Full marks to Naxos for its continuing 20th-century music releases ... The disc contains a fine performance of the [Glass Concerto]: Adele Anthony proves an eloquent soloist whose appealingly understated playing, well articulated and carefully coloured, fits in nicely with the stark, unrelenting formalism of the work.”
– BBC Music Magazine
“This is a generous disc and although Glass stays firmly in accustomed tracks the musical experience engages and draws you in. His potent way with hypno-rhythmic tonal writing continues visceral and in full spate.”
– MusicWeb International
“This is a well conceived crash-course in significant moments in the development of Pärt’s music. The best-known piece included is Für Alina. The others will be refreshingly unfamiliar to most people (indeed, the perky miniature Für Anna Maria is a première recording) and Ralph van Raat plays with both sensitivity and verve.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★