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Stephen J. Nereffid
Music is Good, January 2016

Favourite classical albums of 2015 #1

David Lang’s signature dark beauties are on full display in this 2002 opera. Ambrose Bierce’s short-short story is essentially a piece of reportage describing the unexplained disappearance of an Alabama plantation owner as he walked across a pasture; Mac Wellman’s libretto ingeniously expands on the tale, still providing no answers but adding great depth and humanity. © 2016 Music is Good



Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, January 2016

The cast is impressive. Several of the principals, even those with operatic voices, lighten the sound, with less resonance, in keeping with the style of the work. …everyone in the cast creates compelling personalities. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review




Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, November 2015

…Lang and Wellman are creative in the way they combine singing, speech and dialogue with underscoring. …all the performers—the singers as well as the instrumentalists…do quite well with their dialogue, including Jay O. Sanders and Daniel Zippi. Baritone Christopher Burchett, as Williamson’s brother…is particularly compelling, in both spoken and sung passages. Conductor Douglas Kinney Frost shows mastery of the rhythmically complex proceedings. By the end, Lang, Wellman and the performers have elevated this brief, obscure tale to the status of enduring, resonant, multilayered American myth. © 2015 Opera News Read complete review



Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, October 2015

Lang’s music both underlines inner emotions and conveys the views of the community in boldly etched sequences. The score contains soaring episodes, especially for the distraught Mrs Williamson and her daughter, sung with magnificent urgency, respectively, by Beverly O’Regan Thiele and Cree Carrico. The rest of the cast are excellent.

The story’s pathos and intimacy are achieved in part through Lang’s mesmerising writing for string quartet, which sustains an enigmatic aura through continuous interweaving of motifs and lines. …the score here is performed with probing intensity by the Harlem Quartet under conductor Douglas Kinney Frost. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2015

This is a haunting, moving work that stands out in the mind long after you have heard it. You should give it a close listen. The melding of libretto and music is total and powerful. And it captures a societal way of life, a system on the verge of collapse in ways that are both strong and poetic.

Very recommended! © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
The New York Times, July 2015

Mysticism and entertainment make strange bedfellows. But Mr Lang’s chamber opera, based on a one-page story by Ambrose Pierce about a slave owner who vanishes into thin air while crossing a field in pre-Civil War Alabama, manages to combine pathos, satire and meditation to strangely addictive effect. Together with the librettist Mac Wellman, Mr. Lang mines the story for all its weird urgency and wonder. The music, performed by a fine roster of singers and actors against a now sparse, now seething instrumental accompaniment shows this composer at his most inventive. © 2015 The New York Times





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