ARIBERT REIMANN (b.1939): Melusine.
Catalogue Number: 10M081
Reference: WER 6719 2
Description: Reimann's 1970 opera is based on Yvan Goll's 1920 version of the story of Melusine, the mermaid, part woman, part mythical creature, caught between two worlds. Themes of the destruction of the natural world to make way for human artifice, strangely resonant in the light of the environmental concerns of our time, are central to the work. Melusine is a strange, otherworldly child-woman, the archetype of these recurring, fascinating female characters throughout the history of literature; ultimately a tragic figure, having first been the cause of tragedy for others. Reimann's portrayal very specifically places her at the center of the drama, with his extraordinarily exact sense of the expressive capabilities of the human voice; the part has an ornamented and virtuosic coloratura character which from the outset defines her as existing in a different plane, both musically and metaphorically, from the other rôles in the drama. The music, complex and iridescent, richly illuminating the scene while always allowing the voices to stand out in relief, is broadly speaking atonal, while the arching, eloquent vocal lines - all of them, not just Melusine's - occupy a world of chromatic lyricism which caries the narrative forward while admitting much incidental beauty along the way. This culminates in the emotional climax of the opera, the achingly beautiful duet between the Count and Melusine in act 4 against a background of somber chimes and shadowy, tolling figuration of the utmost apparent simplicity, allowing, as is so often the case in Reimann's music dramas, the events portrayed to emerge with devastating clarity and emotional impact. 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Marlene Mild (soprano), Gabriele May (mezzo), Richard Kindley (tenor), Song-Hu Liu (baritone), Nürnberg Philharmonic; Peter Hirsch.