POUL RUDERS (b.1949): The Thirteenth Child.
Catalogue Number: 07V052
Description: Ruders' fifth opera is a splendid, compelling achievement. He has confessed an attraction to dark subjects - just look at those of his previous operas - so the Gothic world of a Grimm fairytale is a natural fit. This lesser-known tale combines palace intrigue, magical transformations, and complex family ties. The thirteenth child is Lyra, daughter of a king, who sets out to find her banished brothers, eventually reuniting them and thus vanquishing the villainous would-be usurper of the throne. There is madness, jealousy, attempted murder, a ghostly apparition, combined into a clear character-filled narrative by librettists David and Becky Starobin, the founders of Bridge Records and long-time colleagues of Ruders. This Romantic, magical world has brought out Ruders' richest, most tonal neo-Romanticism. The brooding, dramatic orchestral music - vintage Ruders - conjures a shadowy, mythic world of towering castles and enchanted forests, and the gratefully written, strongly characterized principal roles display his extensive experience as a composer of opera. A most appealing work, and a triumph for all involved. Libretto included. Sarah Shafer (soprano), Tamara Mumford (mezzo), Ashraf Sewailam (bass-baritone), Matt Boehler (bass), Bridge Academy Singers, Odense Symphony Orchestra; David Starobin, Benjamin Shwartz.