Corigliano's cries

John Corigliano in his home studio in New York, photo Jim Cooper

The music of John Corigliano, whose opera, The Lord of Cries, is scheduled to receive its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 2021, is profiled in a Santa Fe Opera Guild webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 29. “The Red Violin to The Lord of Cries: John Corigliano’s Music” is presented by composer and educator Evan Fein, whose doctoral dissertation was the first comprehensive analysis of Corigliano’s celebrated 1991 opera The Ghosts of Versailles.

The 82-year-old Corigliano is one of America’s most-honored and frequently played classical composers. His major awards include an Original Music Score Academy Award in 1999 for The Red Violin, a Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2001 for his Symphony No. 2, and three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, in 1991, 1997, and 2009.

The Ghosts of Versailles received a high-profile premiere at the Metropolitan Opera with a glittery cast that included Teresa Stratas, Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and Håkan Hagegård. The reviews ranged from positive to ecstatic, but Corigliano, who typically composes just one work in a specific genre, resisted the possibility of another opera for almost three decades until the Santa Fe commission.

The Lord of Cries takes as its starting point the surprising similarities between The Bacchae by Euripides and Dracula, Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel. As described by Corigliano’s publisher, the two works “explore a timeless and subversive message through different perspectives: We must honor our animalistic nature lest it turn monstrous and destroy us.” The composer adds, “This conflict between who we want to be and who we actually are goes on and on; it tormented the ancient Greeks, and it torments us.”

Fein’s presentation will include excerpts from five of Corigliano’s compositions, ranging from the 1964 Violin Sonata (“His breakthrough composition,” says Fein) to 2004’s Circus Maximus, for large concert band divided into three groups — a stage band, a “surround band” stationed around the auditorium sides, and a marching band that parades through the audience — plus a 12-gauge shotgun fired by a stage band member at the end of the piece.

The webinar is at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Tickets are $10 at conta.cc/2ZRN31q

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