We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Anton Nel and Lucy Rowan

In 1864, Richard Strauss was born; in the same year Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote his poetic tale Enoch Arden, as part of a collection called Idylls of the Hearth. Strauss would set this moving tale to music in 1890, writing music that underscores and illuminates the drama by means of leitmotivs.

We have Manhattan School of Music to thank for bringing this masterpiece before the public in the capable hands of pianist Anton Nel and the thrilling voice of actress Lucy Rowan who narrated the spellbinding tale.

It concerns three children growing up in an English seaside town.  One can hear the waves breaking on the shore in Strauss' descriptive music.  Annie is friends with both Enoch and Philipp.  When they grow up Annie marries Enoch.  They have three children; the last one is sickly. He goes to sea and, due to a shipwreck, is gone for ten years.  Annie believes him dead and marries Philipp.  

When Enoch finally returns he witnesses his children all grown up with Annie and Philipp happy together.  With major self-sacrifice, he steals away and the family, by his own intention, does not learn of his survival and return until after his death. 

Ms. Rowan and Mr. Nel made perfect partners and kept us spellbound for the duration.  Can no one write like this anymore?

The program also included selections from Claude Debussy's Preludes, Book 2, works just as beautifully descriptive as the Strauss and stunningly performed by Mr. Nel.

© meche kroop

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