GREGORY SPEARS (b.1977): Fellow Travelers.
Catalogue Number: 11T067
Label: Fanfare Cincinnati
Description: Admirers of contemporary American Romantic opera, as celebrated in our welcome to Aldridge's Sister Carrie last month (10T075), will find this release very much to their liking. Set in McCarthy-era Washington D.C., this adaptation of Thomas Mallon's eponymous novel, rendered into natural and believable yet exquisitely singable dialogue by librettist Greg Pierce, is a passionate love story set in a time of intrigue and peril. A young man, a naïve journalist with ambitions to be part of the political process of the time, falls in love with another man, an hedonistic bisexual State Department employee who introduces him to the right people in public while carrying on their illicit and dangerous affair in private. Navigating the political and social intrigues of the time leads to crises of belief and desire and a final, tragic betrayal. The love story at the heart of the novel takes center stage in the opera, lending the work an intimacy and emotional connection to the principal characters. Spears' score is tonal and accessible, its intricate vocal lines cleverly expressing character through the personality-revealing rhythms of speech, while the orchestral part has a quasi-neoclassically nimble clarity and sense of forward motion. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Aaron Blake (tenor), Joseph Lattanzi (baritone), Devon Guthrie, Alexandra Schoeny (sopranos), Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Mark Gibson.