EÖTVÖS Love and Other Demons

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Peter Eötvös



Label: Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 153



Catalogue Number: GFOCD020-08

GFOCD020-08. EÖTVÖS Love and Other Demons. Jurowski


Composition Artist Credit
Love and Other Demons Peter Eötvös, Composer
Allison Bell, Sierva Maria, Soprano
Felicity Palmer, Josefa Miranda, Mezzo soprano
Glyndebourne Chorus
Jean Rigby, Martina Laborde, Mezzo soprano
John Graham-Hall, Abrenuncio, Tenor
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Marietta Simpson, Dominga de Adviento, Mezzo soprano
Mats Almgren, Don Toribo, Bass
Nathan Gunn, Father Cayetano Delaura, Baritone
Peter Eötvös, Composer
Robert Brubaker, Don Ygnacio, Tenor
Wladimir Jurowski, Conductor
With his long experience as conductor and composer, Peter Eötvös will have been well aware of other operas centring on demonic possession and the struggles of priests and nuns to manage conflicts between human instincts and religious dogma. But there are only brief glimpses in Love and Other Demons of the no-holds-barred expressionism that – in the tradition of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel and Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudon – might seem to offer the best way of bringing such a torrid subject to musical life. Working with a concisely crafted libretto based on a story by Gabriel García Márquez, Eötvös creates some spine-chillingly hard-edged moments but the music is predominantly slow-moving and soft-centred, the overall effect closer to melodrama than tragedy.

This is probably because the childlike central character, Sierva Maria, driven mad by a rabid dog bite rather than by religious doubt, cannot gain much depth as the story unfolds of her cruel confinement and death, after a gruesome rite of exorcism. At one extreme, Sierva Maria, sung with tremendous impact by Allison Bell, indulges in the stratospheric coloratura of operatic mad scenes down the ages. At the other extreme, her music tends to folk-like simplicity, and at the end she sings a melancholy Liebestod, recalling the words of the renegade priest Delaura who tries to save her. But the implication that she has achieved an Isolde-like sense of fulfilment – has the exorcism effected a medical miracle, curing her of rabies? – is unconvincing, and the closing music, with its gently tinkling celesta, underlines the opera’s rather bland exoticism.

Glyndebourne has taken five years to issue this recording, which is of high technical quality, with fine all-round performances. Apart from the fearless and affecting Bell, Felicity Palmer is a formidable (also ultimately maddened) Abbess. Of the four impressive male leads, Nathan Gunn as the obsessed, well-meaning Delaura has the least rewarding role but makes the most of it. The booklet includes evocative photographs of the 2008 production but the libretto – welcome in principle – seems to be incomplete, missing the ending of the first scene of Part 2.

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