JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): The Sacrifice.

Catalogue Number: 02L106

Label: Chandos

Reference: 10572(2)

Format: CD

Price: $28.98

Description: MacMillan's 2007 opera, to a libretto by Michael Symmons Roberts (MacMillan's collaborator on Quickening, Parthenogenesis and other works) adapts an early myth of the British Isles, from "The Mabinogion". A tale of love, treachery, conflict and resolution through murderous self-sacrifice, the story is related to the King Arthur, Fisher-King and Tristan myths, here updated to the near future. In recent years MacMillan has gravitated toward a very tonal vocabulary, though with no loss of the individual voice that has always invested his large-scale works with a very personal tension and excitement. The Britten influence now seems stronger than ever, all the more so in the context of a modern, British take on grand opera; there are readily detectable echoes of Peter Grimes especially. Repeated themes and internal allusions bind the musical narrative together, while the dramatic, sometimes shocking and violent plot provides an ideal operatic subject. A grand gesture, with much felicitous and dramatically important orchestral and choral writing, aside from the grateful solo roles; the music is often beautiful and richly textured, the whole thoroughly approachable and rewarding. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Christopher Purves, Leigh Melrose (baritones), Lisa Milne, Sarah Tynan (sopranos), Peter Hoare (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera; Anthony Negus.

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