Carlisle Floyd - Wuthering Heights (2016)

Floyd

Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Joseph Mechavich

Of all my operas,Wuthering Heights, my second full length opera, had probably the most singular beginning. With all the others, I received the request,for a new opera by the commissioner and the subject matter was determined more or less by me, in the case of Wuthering Heights, it was entirely specified by the commissioner, hand in hand with my publisher, and I reluctantly agreed to the subject matter. 
The reason for this was what is interesting and unique: Phyllis Curtin, the remarkable soprano who had introduced my first opera, Susannah, to the music world via the New York City Opera, had decided to do a second Town Hall recital and asked me to do a concert aria for her program. I immediately agreed since her performing Susannah had successfully launched my career as an opera composer, and I was (and am) forever happily indebted to her for that.

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Florentine Opera Company

The Florentine Opera Company is Wisconsin’s oldest fully professional performing arts organization and the sixth-oldest opera company in the United States.

The company presents three operatic productions per season at the Marcus Center in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition, the Florentine presents its @ THE CENTER series at the Wayne and Kristine Lueders Florentine Opera Center in Milwaukee Riverwest Neighborhood. Additional venues including the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center will feature performances by the Florentine in 2015.

The Florentine Opera was founded in 1933 by John-David Anello. At that time, the group was called the Italian Opera Chorus, and it met at the Jackson Street Social Center. In 1942, the group became The Florentine Opera Chorus, remaining under the direction of John D. Anello. He explained that the change in name “was to honor the birthplace of opera as we know it. The craft originated in the Italian city of Florence, which has been known as a bustling center for the arts for many centuries.” By this time, the chorus had grown to a group of 100 members of many nationalities, with a waiting list of over 100 more. In the program of the first “Opera Album” after the name change is written the Florentine Opera Chorus motto: “If our song has stopped one heart from aching, we have not lived in vain.” In 1950, the Florentine Opera Chorus extended its efforts from operatic choral performances to the production of complete operas and the company became a private venture, changing its name one final time to the Florentine Opera Company. Over the past decade, the Florentine Opera has premiered several new American operas. It produced the American premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1999. In 2009, the Florentine presented Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Elmer Gantry (with a two-time 2012 Grammy Award-winning professional recording). A world premiere (with a 2013 Grammy Award-winning professional recording) of Don Davis’ Spanish language Rio de Sangre opened in 2010.

William Florescu has been General Director since 2005. Joseph Rescigno is the Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, having served since 1981. Scott S. Stewart has acted as the Chorus Master and Associate Conductor since 1978. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra serves as the orchestra in performances by the Florentine Opera.

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Carlisle Floyd - Wuthering Heights (2016)

Floyd

Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

    BBC Music Magazine

"In this studio recording following a concert performance by Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Kelly Markgraf and Georgia Jarman make a powerful impression as the ill-fated couple, and Chad Shelton's incisive Hindley and Heather Buck's sweet Isabella also stand out amidst a strong cast. … Under opera specialist Joseph Mechavich, the Milwaukee Symphony makes its contribution with relish…”

Anthony Burton at BBC Music Magazine[read full review]

    Fanfare Magazine

“Here is a composer who writes in an accessible but never simplistic or retrograde tonal vocabulary; has a sound grasp of what makes operas work dramatically in terms of subject matter, plotting, and pacing; and crafts compelling music that vividly illustrates his texts (Floyd writes his own librettos) while yet placing them in expressive, arcing melodic lines. In particular, to anyone who has encountered it, his early opera Susannah is a stunning work of genius. And now [I] am most pleased to welcome into my home the premiere recording of his next opera in order of composition, Wuthering Heights. It is uncommon enough nowadays for recordings of major standard repertoire works to receive consistently well-cast performances; all the more credit to the Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee and Reference Recordings, then, for assembling such a uniformly strong vocal cast here. There is simply not a single weak link in the chain, even in the comprimario roles of Lockwood (tenor Aaron Short), Joseph (tenor Frank Kelly), or Mr. Earnshaw (bass Matthew Burns). The Milwaukee Symphony under Joseph Mechavich plays with conviction and polish. I am overjoyed to have this set. Those who think great opera died with Puccini’s Turandot, or perhaps with Britten’s Peter Grimes, should acquire this opera. Very strongly recommended."

James A. Altena at Fanfare Magazine[read full review]

Carlisle Floyd - Wuthering Heights (2016)

Floyd

Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Digital Converters:Horus (Merging)
Mastering Engineer:Mark Donahue (Soundmirror)
Producer:Blanton Alspaugh (SoundMirror)
Recording Engineer:John Newton (Soundmirror)
Recording location:Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Harris Theater, Brookfield, Wisconsin
Recording Software:Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate:DSD256

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FR721SACD: Carlisle Floyd - Wuthering Heights
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Tracks
1.
Prologue
Floyd
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2.
Act One - Scene One
Floyd
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Act One - Scene Two
Floyd
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Act Two - Scene One
Floyd
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Act Two - Interlude
Floyd
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6.
Act Two - Scene Two
Floyd
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7.
Act Two - Scene Two--Part II
Floyd
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8.
Act Three - Scene One
Floyd
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Act Three - Scene Two
Floyd
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10.
Act Three - Scene Three
Floyd
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