Great Performers at Lincoln Center, conducted by Ransom Wilson

The professional premiere of Amy Beach’s “Cabildo” was presented by ‘Great Performers at Lincoln Center’ on May 13, 1995. This recording features the original cast. Beach authority Adrienne Block offers comprehensive notes, along with delightful Young People’s notes. American composer Amy Beach is coming back into fashion. The recent revival of interest in Beach’s music was reflected in a major New York Times piece heralding the Great Performers at Lincoln Center concert which immediately preceded this recording. The major attraction was the first professional production of Beach’s only opera, “Cabildo,” led by Ransom Wilson and performed by a distinguished New York cast of singers and instrumentalists. This recording captures a dynamic performance evoking Beach’s theatrical flair and intense lyricism. Wilson, well known to the public for his flute recordings, was interviewed for the piece. “At the very least she was certainly equal to, if not superior to, any of the composers of the Second New England School,” he told Times writer Cori Ellison. Wilson was referring to the cluster of American composers that sprouted in the Northeast late in the 19th century under the aegis of John Knowles Paine. ”Cabildo reveals dramatic instincts and skills that make one regret that Beach could never delve more deeply into opera,” Ellison wrote in the Times piece. “It exhibits the same vocal graciousness and solid word setting evident in her songs, offers boldly painted characters and is unified by an expertly woven web of motifa, derived largely from Creole folk tunes.”

The album also offers six of the lovely songs which “are at the core of her creative impulse” according to annotator Adrienne Block, and have been “favorites of great singers from Adelina Patti to Arleen Auger.” In the notes we also find out that Beach’s charming solo piano piece “A Hermit Thrush at Eve” was the result of an extensive musical dialog between the thrush, who sang his “lonely and appealing” songs over and over, and the composer, who wrote them down, revising with each repetition. “Then I played them back to him,” Beach wrote, “and he would answer.”

CABILDO: Chamber Opera in One Act
Libretto by Nan Bagby Stephens Music by Amy M. Beach
Conducted by Ransom Wilson
Directed by Hans Nieuwenhuis
Chorus preparation by Judith Clurman
Knighten Smit, Assistant Director
Giovanni Reggioli, Rehearsal Pianist

Cast in order of appearance
Barker: Stephen Mo Hanan (spoken role)
Tom: Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor
Mary: Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano
Pierre Lafitte: Eugene Perry, baritone
Dominique You: Paul Groves, tenor
Gaoler: Thomas Paul, bass
The Lady Valerie: Lauren Flanigan, soprano
Chorus of tourists and prisoners: The New York Concert Singers

Mark Peskanov, violin
Carter Brey, cello
Christopher O’Riley, piano

Complete Contents

Cabildo, Op. 149 (46:02)
1. Introduction
2. “Ladies and Gentlemen…
3. “One night as they danced…
4. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now…
5. Largo espressivo
6. “Dominique!…
7. “Dominique, what news?…
8. “When she danced…
9. “She was like a flower…
10. Largo con dolora
11. “Thy boat Pierre…
12. “Ah Love, is a jasmine vine…
13. Tempo di Duetto

14. A Hermit Thrush at Eve Op. 92, No. 1 (1921) (5:14) Christopher O’Riley, piano
15. Give Me Not Love, Op. 61 (1905) (5:13) Lauren Flanigan, soprano, Paul Groves, tenor, Christopher O’Riley, piano
16. In the Twilight, Op. 85 (1922) (3:27) Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano, Christopher O’Riley, piano
17. O Mistress Mine, Op. 37, No. 1 (1897) (2:43) Paul Groves, tenor, Christopher O’Riley, piano
18. Dark is the Night, Op. 11, No. 1 (1890) (1:31) Lauren Flanigan, soprano, Christopher O’Riley, piano
19. Jeune fille et jeune fleur, Op. 1, No. 3 (1884) (4:20) Thomas Paul, bass, Christopher O’Riley, piano

Total playing time: 68:30