Florentine Opera's Midwest Premiere of Elmer Gantry Released By Naxos
First Commercial Recording in Company’s 78-Season History Now Available
MILWAUKEE, Wis.—July 14, 2011— Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera Company announces the Naxos release of a live recording of Elmer Gantry, produced from performances of the Midwest premiere on March 19 and 21, 2010 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee. The Naxos label is a leading international distributor of classical music recordings. The recording is available for purchase digitally through iTunes and will be released on July 26 through both Naxos and online retailer Amazon.com.
“The Naxos recording of our production of Elmer Gantry is another exciting milestone for the Florentine Opera in our ongoing efforts to foster the growth of new opera in the United States, as well as engage our audiences by producing new works with innovative artistry," noted General Director William Florescu. “I am proud that, through this recording, the Florentine’s Midwest premiere of this work will be internationally distributed and introduce countless new fans to the opera,” Florescu further stated.
Based on the novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry was created by composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein. The riveting score mixes traditional operatic forms with vibrant gospel hymns and American folk-inspired ensembles in a work that explores the complex and conflicted role of religion in American life. Elmer Gantry debuted at Nashville Opera in 2007.
Generous funding for the recording is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Frieda & William Hunt Memorial Trust and contributions of members of the Florentine Opera Board of Directors.
John Hoomes directed a cast including baritone Keith Phares in the title role and mezzo soprano Patricia Risley as Sharon Falconer, both of whom made their Florentine Opera debuts in the production. Additional cast members were soprano Heather Buck (Lulu Baines), tenor Frank Kelley (Eddie Fislinger), tenor Vale Rideout (Frank Shallard), bass-baritone Jamie Offenbach (T.J. Rigg), and bass-baritone Matthew Lau (Reverend Baines). Conductor William Boggs led the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
About the production
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