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<<  -- 3 --  Maria Nockin    RIVER SPIRITS

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Latin sonorities and rhythms pervade this shimmering iridescent music, adding to its ability to evoke the mystery of the Amazon and the exotic jungle atmosphere of its banks. This work has all the lyrical beauty we associate with the more traditional type of opera. It is not simply a drama with music because, unlike most modern pieces of this genre, it has arias [listen -- CD1 track 2, 7:26-8:57] that can be sung in recital and there is a suite for orchestra which highlights its melodic content.

The passengers (from left) Paula (Suzanna Guzmán), Arcadio (Chad Shelton), Alvaro (Hector Vasquez) and Rosalba (Ana Maria Martinez) play a game of cards. Photo: George Hixson/Houston Grand Opera
The passengers (from left) Paula (Suzanna Guzmán), Arcadio (Chad Shelton), Alvaro (Hector Vasquez) and Rosalba (Ana Maria Martinez) play a game of cards. Photo: George Hixson/Houston Grand Opera

Catán says that, in writing the score, he allowed his imagination to run freely and he found that the woodwinds seemed best able to capture the magic of the Amazonian landscape. He says 'The jungle is frightening because it forces you to confront your worst fears ... Nothing is more overwhelming than daybreak in the jungle -- the calls of birds and insects slowly weaving the most fantastic tapestry of sound, the resplendence of the greenery, the astonishing shapes and colors of some flowers, the size of the sun.'

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Copyright © 23 November 2003 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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