Save 25% On Every Order Over $40!
Cart 0

Adams: A Flowering Tree (2CD)

$ 32.27 $ 35.86

“A Flowering Tree is Adams's most succinct, magical and overtly moral opera. Jessica Rivera's candid girlish soprano is similar in timbre to Dawn Upshaw… As the clumsy Prince, Russell Thomas's virile tenor is arresting, while bass-baritone Eric Owens's Storyteller is faultless. Under Adams's brittle beat, the London Symphony Orchestra have some edgy moments of ensemble but the woodwind and percussion detail is breathtaking.”

A Flowering Tree was commissioned for the 2006 Vienna New Crowned Hope Festival to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Adams became involved at the behest of the director – and longtime friend/collaborator – Peter Sellars, who organized this visionary event and extended invitations to musicians and artists of various disciplines from around the world. Given the festival’s global sensibility, Adams took the framework of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, a tale of physical and spiritual transformation, and created a new work with a parallel scenario by adapting ancient Indian folk tales and poetry. The libretto, co-written with Sellars, is sung in English, except for chorale passages written in Spanish especially for the Scola Cantorum de Caracas – “an extraordinary amateur chorus,” as The New York Times has called them, based in Venezuela - who were brought over to perform at the premiere. Adams was making a deeper point with his bilingual text: “Using two languages is also a reaffirmation of my feeling that we are living in a time of global cultural awareness, with all its pain and wonder.”

The performances on this two-disc set, which includes extensive liner notes and the complete libretto, were recorded at the Barbican Centre, London, in August 2007, with the London Symphony Orchestra and the same vocalists who performed in Vienna; the composer conducts. Says Variety, “Jessica Rivera is reedy, gorgeous and sensitive as Kumudha; Russell Thomas makes a sweet, heroic prince; and Eric Owens is a mesmerizing, multifaceted Storyteller.”

Adams and Sellars have worked together for more than two decades; audacious and important projects like Nixon In China and The Death Of Klinghoffer, both released on disc by Nonesuch, have been debated and celebrated for years. A Flowering Tree has been acclaimed in every city where it has been has been performed. Says Adams, “Opera is the rare art form that can address the grand themes of human existence. I’ve taken on very large themes in my operas - the clash of cultures (Nixon in China), terrorism and intolerance (The Death of Klinghoffer), birth and rebirth (El Niño), the atomic bomb (Doctor Atomic) and now youth, transformation and magic (A Flowering Tree). Opera, with its potent mix of music, text, gesture, light and imagery, can penetrate the psyche of the audience in a way no other art can.”

Jessica Rivera, Russell Thomas, Eric Owens
Schola Cantorum Caracas, London Symphony Orchestra, John Adams