Magazine article Gramophone


Magazine article Gramophone


Article excerpt

Andriessen Theatre of the World Leigh Melrose bar               Athanasius Kircher Lindsay Kesselman sop                          Boy Marcel Beekman ten                Pope Innocent XI Cristina Zavalloni mez   Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz 

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Reinbertde Leeuw

Nonesuch (M) (F) 7559 79361-8 (100' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, May 6 & 8 2016

Includes synopsis, libretto and translation

Louis Andriessen's operas have possessed more than their fair share of bizarre plots, grotesque twists, surreal scenarios and outlandish characters over the years but the Dutch composer's latest offering--grandly titled Theatre of the World--arguably surpasses everything previously achieved by him in this genre.

Premiered in 2016 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Reinbert de Leeuw, Theatre of the World takes the 16th-century German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher as its unlikely starting point, although his life and work is only one strand in a complex dramatic scenario. Possessed by a need to become recognised as the foremost thinker of his age, Kircher (vividly characterised in the baritone Leigh Melrose's performance) arrives at the Vatican, where he meets Pope Innocent XI. Accompanied by a young boy with magical powers (excellently portrayed by the lyric soprano Lindsay Kesselman), the three are transported through time and space to various locations including ancient Egypt, the Tower of Babel and Dutch-colonialist China. Each location provides Kircher with an opportunity to show off his wide knowledge of history, science, mathematics and politics. …

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