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More interesting is Robert Livingstone Aldridge’s adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, 1900, often considered a Great American Novel, charting the rise of a girl from the sticks whose upward social trajectory is matched by her lover’s fatal slide in the opposite direction. Livingstone’s music is also highly traditional, lushly scored and reminiscent of Broadway at times. He and librettist, Herschel Garfein, adeptly cross-cut scenes to delineate motivation and develop different stories concurrently, and the plot and music have a strong propulsion. Despite initial misgivings, I admit that I was drawn in by the narrative and its musical expression – it has the grand sweep to match the novel. Adriana Zabala has something of the young Marilyn Horne in her tone, accent and verbal pungency, and Keith Phares makes a lusty Hurstwood, one of life’s losers. Recorded live in Milwaukee last year, the Florentine Opera Company under William Boggs fields an excellent cast, orchestra and chorus.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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