ROMULUS, AN OPERA IN ONE ACT

Composer: 

Alternate Title: 

ROMULUS, AN OPERA IN ONE ACT

Year Authored (or revised): 

1990

Scoring: 

S, T, Bar, B; fl/pic,cl,bsn,hn, pf,perc,str

Duration (min): 

56

Text Source/Author: 

Text:Alexander Dumas;trans by Barnett Shaw:OK

Recording: 

Naxos 2011

First Performance: 

National Opera Assn Conference 1990 Rutgers University Opera Dept. Valerie Goodall director

Excerpt of review in Fanfare Magazine, by Robert Carl:

"The story is a gentle farce, featuring two absent-minded bachelors, one a philosopher (Wolf), the other an astronomer (Celestus), their housekeeper Martha (Celestus’s sister), and a bumbling busybody of a mayor (Babelhausen). The appearance of a baby in a basket upsets their household, and suspicions of paternity almost wreck their carefully constructed relationships, until something of a deus ex machina revelation (albeit well-enough prepared) allows everything to be corrected, and the characters can move to a higher level of love and maturity.

Karchin’s music is distinguished by the aforementioned harmonic clarity, and is enhanced by a truly glittering orchestration, which gets great variety and sonority from an 11-piece chamber orchestra. It sparkles, but it never gets precious in its beauty. The vocal writing is similarly direct and clear. Like most composers of his taste and generation, Karchin doesn’t tend to write set-piece arias that might be stand-alone songs, but neither does he write the sort of gray perpetual recitative that makes so much contemporary opera dreary. The music crackles along, and the text setting always seems appropriate to the quickly changing action. It’s an interpretive approach that reflects a close, moment-by-moment reading of the thoughts and emotions of the characters. It also is quite wonderful vocally (and this also is a result of excellent performers)..."

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