Orquestra Gulbenkian, Jennifer Condon Conductor
With Deborah Polaski, Roman Trekel,
Wolfgang Koch, and Sir John Tomlinson
Laurence joins a stellar cast of international Wagnerian voices in the supporting role of The Alexandrian in Sappho, the last grand opera of Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912–90), which was written in her stone cottage on Mykonos in 1963. Never heard before this recording, Sappho reflects Glanville-Hicks’ fascination with the orient and folk music, encapturing the colours of ancient Greece, with a heroic brass fanfare and epic writing for chorus, haunting woodwind solos and shimmering percussion evoking the stillness of crystal island waters. Deborah Polaski, who creates the role of the disenchanted Sappho, describes it as ‘the kind of music that singers want to sing’. The libretto, based on Lawrence Durrell’s verse-play, incorporates fragments of Sappho’s own verse.