JONATHAN DOVE (b.1959): Tobias and the Angel.
Catalogue Number: 08M091
Description: David Lan's libretto is based on a deuterocanonical book of the Bible with characteristics of a Jewish folk-tale. In detail the story is fairly complicated, requiring a concentrated narrative approach with few 'operatic' diversions along the way, which is achieved with great storytelling flair. In essence, though, the underlying idea is of redemption and enlightenment transforming lives blighted by demonic possession and racial oppression. Dove draws on a range of musical styles to illustrate the story, all in a fundamentally tonal idiom; Britten's operatic style rubs shoulders with minimalistic elements, with Asian and Klezmer styles, and a church organ making an appearance for local color. The work was commissioned as a church opera with community involvement, and radiates an optimistic and accessible atmosphere overall, with lively choral writing and a concern for approachability and clear dramatic continuity, without sacrificing musical sophistication or genuine emotional depth. Omar Ebrahim (baritone), James Laing (countertenor), Hyacinth Nicholls (mezzo), Darren Abrahams (tenor), Choruses and instrumental ensemble; David Charles Abell.