Composer: Peggy Glanville-Hicks
Performer: Deborah Polaski, Martin Homrich, Scott MacAllister, Roman Trekel, Wolfgang Koch, John Tomlinson, Coro Gulbenkian
Orchestra: Gulbenkian Orchestra
Conductor: Jennifer Condon
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 476 MB
02. Scene 1: Hurry, Joy, hurry! … Is your lady up? (Chloe, Joy, Doris, Diomedes, Minos)
03. Scene 1: Now, at last you are here (Minos, Sappho)
04. Scene 1: Aria: My sleep is fragile like an eggshell is (Sappho, Minos)
05. Scene 1: Minos! (Kreon, Minos, Sappho)
06. Scene 1: So, Phaon’s back (Minos, Sappho, Phaon)
07. Scene 1: Aria: It must have seemed like that to them (Phaon, Minos, Sappho)
08. Scene 1: Phaon, how is it kreon did not ask you to stay (Sappho, Phaon, Minos)
09. Scene 2: The Symposium: Introduction – Phaon has become much thinner … The Nymph in the fountain (Minos, Sappho, Chorus)
10. Scene 2: The Symposium: Boy! bring us the laurel! … What are the fortunes of the world we live in? (Diomedes, Sappho, Minos, Kreon, Phaon, Alexandrian, Chorus)
11. Scene 2: The Symposium: Wait, hear me first! … The epigram contest (Minos, Diomedes, Sappho, Chorus)
12. Scene 2: The Symposium: Sappho! Sappho! … If death is noble (Sappho, Chorus)
13. Scene 2: The Symposium: Ah, it is you (Phaon, Sappho)
14. Scene 2: The Symposium: Nay, but always and forever (Sappho, Phaon)
01. Scene 3: Introduction – What are you making? … Here’s Minos coming (Sappho, Phaon, Chorus)
02. Scene 3: Hail to Pittakos (Phaon, Minos, Chorus)
03. Scene 4: Sea begotten heroes (Chorus)
04. Scene 4: Admit it now … Now, where is this brother of mine (Sappho, Pittakos, Kreon, Phaon)
05. Scene 4: Ah, here you are at last (Pittakos, Sappho)
06. Scene 4: Aria: You think I do not feel … Sappho! Sappho! (Pittakos, Sappho, Minos)
07. Scene 5: Diomedes, oh Diomedes, what have you done? (Sappho, Diomedes)
08. Scene 5: Sleep now (Sappho, Diomedes)
09. Scene 6: Priestess of the Oracle … Invocation (Sappho, Priestress, Chorus)
10. Scene 6: Oh Mask! (Kreon, Sappho, Chorus)
11. Scene 7: Introduction
12. Scene 7: The voting must be over (Minos, Sappho)
13. Scene 7: Aria: I am very tired (Minos, Sappho)
14. Scene 7: Sappho! Sappho! It is exile (Pittakos, Sappho, Minos)
15. Scene 7: Now everything is silence and remoteness (Sappho)
Sappho, the last grand opera of Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912–90), was written in her stone cottage on the island of Mykonos in 1963.
Intended for Maria Callas but never heard before this recording, it captures all the colours of ancient Greece: haunting woodwind solos and shimmering percussion evoke the stillness of crystal island waters, and an epic chorus and colossal brass fanfare herald the conquering hero’s army.
Deborah Polaski, who creates the role of the aging Sappho – ‘in turn tempestuous, querulous, compassionate, tender, fierce, impatient…poised like a needle in a compass’ – describes the opera as ‘the kind of music that singers want to sing [….] it offers you so many facets, from colour to expressiveness within the line itself’.
The libretto was fashioned by the composer from Lawrence Durrell’s verse-play with Durrell’s approval – the booklet contains a photograph of the two of them in buoyant mood.
A stellar international cast donated their performances for the realisation of a dream – to enable Sappho to be heard for the first time in 2012, the centenary of both the composer and librettist.
Musical preparation, from deciphering the hand-written manuscript to conducting the ensemble with the Orquestra and Coro Gulbenkian, has been the work of the young Australian conductor, Jennifer Condon, whose energy and passion for this hitherto unknown work brought this recording into being.