Thursday, December 01, 2005

Congratulations To Kaija Saariaho And Amin Maalouf On Their Beautiful Opera L'Amour De Loin

Last night, I finally had the opportunity to experience Kaija Saariaho And Amin Maalouf's beautiful, Grawemeyer Prize winning, opera L'Amour De Loin, which premiered at the Salzburg, Austria Festival in August 2000, and which has been available since August, from DGG, in a virtually perfect production staged and filmed at the Finnish National Opera, in Helsinki, in September 2004. The opera is set in Tripoli and Toulouse in the twelfth century, and the three roles are sung (in French) by Gerald Finley, Dawn Upshaw, and Monica Groop. The orchestra and chorus are conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the sensitive direction is by Peter Sellars. The stunning stage design is by George Tsypin, whose brilliant work is often seen in Berlin, Petersburg, Paris, Milan, Salzburg, at the MET, and elsewhere. Mr Tsypin graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1977, and has lived in New York City since 1979. Finnish born Ms Saariaho has lived in Paris since 1982, and her opera includes computer music composed in association with IRCAM.

The fact that the DVD does not include Lebanese-French librettist Amin Maalouf's sensitive libretto is one major drawback of the DVD packaging. A virtue of CD opera packaging was the careful treatment of the work's libretto as a work of art in and of itself.

Port Au Prince, Haiti, slum

Port Au Prince, Haiti, is the center of the worldwide AIDS/HIV epidemic in the Western Hemisphere. This week, UNICEF has called on the worldwide health policy and funding community to do more to prevent the explosive spread of AIDS/HIV from the world adult population to the world child population.

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