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New Recording Features Tobias Picker's Opera Without Words and The Encantadas

Jul. 15, 2020

We are please to announce that Naxos will release a new recording featuring two of Tobias Picker's major orchestral works in August 2020: Opera Without Words and The Encantadas, performed by The Nashville Symphony, under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero. The composer serves as the narrator for the latter work.

Picker elaborates on the unique genesis of Opera Without Words:

Opera Without Words is a music drama about some of the fascinating people I have known. In beginning to compose this work, I found myself reviewing the differences and similarities between a concerto for an orchestra and an opera. As a result, I approached this new orchestral work as I would an opera; I hired a librettist, Irene Dische, and set her words not to voices but to musical instruments, unfettered by considerations of vocal range and technique. When I finished the opera with words, I removed the text, leaving but a few traces and artifacts of the deleted libretto in the score.  

Tobias Picker draws the text for The Encantadas from Herman Melville’s vivid and poetic descriptions of the sea-swept Galapagos Islands, which Melville visited in 1841 as part of a whaling voyage he undertook to gather background material for Moby Dick. Each of the six movements evokes a different picture of life in the islands’ equatorial wilderness. The composer capitalizes on the enchantment implicit in Melville’s title and so richly developed in the narration, aptly probing in his score the sinister undercurrent that emerges from the text.

(The Encantadas/Tobias Picker/Sir John Geilgud, narrator/Houston Symphony Orchestra/Christoph Eschenbach, conductor)

Picker has served as the artistic director of Tusla Opera since 2016, and has spent recent months overseeing the company's popular "Staying Alive" series -- an engaging virtual platform, bringing music to audiences around the world during this time of social distancing. Performances on this series included an aria from Tobias Picker's and Aryeh Lev Stollman's newest opera Awakenings (the world premiere of which was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak). Learn more about the "Staying Alive" series by clicking here.

("I am a quiet flower" from Awakenings/Tobias Picker/David Portillo, tenor/Yasuko Oura, piano)

For more information about Tobias Picker, visit:

Tobias Picker
Opera Without Words (2015)
for orchestra

The Encantadas (1983-1986)
for narrator and orchestra
based on the writings of Herman Melville
narration available in English, German, Spanish and Japanese
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