The Lord of Cries

September 8, 2023

Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Gil Rose present the world-premiere recording of 'The Lord of Cries, a breathtaking opera by John Corigliano and Mark Adamo. The brilliant cast—most of whom introduced their parts in the world premiere in 2021—is led by star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in the title role.

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Album Cover for 'The Lord of Cries'

About the Album

Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Gil Rose present the world-premiere recording of 'The Lord of Cries, a breathtaking opera by John Corigliano and Mark Adamo. Telling the story of Euripides’s 'The Bacchae' with the characters of Bram Stoker’s 'Dracula', the piece explores the power of sexual desire and humans’ need to blame and attack others for what they can neither resist nor accept in themselves. The brilliant cast—most of whom introduced their parts in the world premiere in 2021—is led by star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in the title role.

Multi-award-winning composer John Corigliano’s music has been commissioned, performed, and recorded by many of the most prominent orchestras, soloists, and chamber musicians in the world. The Pentatone recording of 'The Ghost of Versailles', released in 2016, won two GRAMMY Awards. Composer-librettist Mark Adamo’s four previous operas, including 'Little Women' (1998), have been staged, recorded, and broadcast hundreds of times on five continents. Under the leadership of conductor Gil Rose, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has become an unsurpassed advocate for 20th and 21st century American music; they make their Pentatone debut with 'The Lord ofCries'.

Four stars…From Orpheus through Idomeneus to the Trojans, Greek mythology has proved a fertile ground for opera. Mark Adamo therefore follows a well-trodden path with his retelling of Euripides’ The Bacchae…and promptly kicks up the ground by transplanting characters from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It takes a bold composer to set such a story, and John Corigliano is more than up to the task…Further staging of this intriguing 2021 work is eagerly awaited.
BBC Music Magazine
Bracing; an inspired blend of elements of The Bacchae and Bram Stoker’s Dracula… With an organic construction that feels artless, Corigliano, still in prime form in his eighties, has created three virtuosic rôles that are performed to perfection on this recording. with a finely structured, eloquent, and probing libretto by the composer’s husband Mark Adamo, the work feels like the culmination of twentieth-century opera ideals.
American Record Guide
Astounding… Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles (1991), has proven to be one of the greatest lyrical creations in the United States; here, in Adamo’s cleverly-written libretto, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is inserted into The Bacchae of Euripides, and (the principals,) a journalist-chronicler, and chorus parade within a growing, threatening orchestral accompaniment that gives way to irresistible tension with dialogues of only apparent calm… The truth is that we have an orchestra that is not only rich in timbres and dynamic contrasts; it is an orchestra that says, exclaims, and shouts what we have never heard before (perhaps never, ever). This orchestra creates unease, anticipation; it doesn't just create suspense, it suspends us when we hear it… Supported by other soloists and a small chorus, along with the stunning sound of the orchestra conducted with passion and precision by Gil Rose, they often achieve electrifying moments, and always grip the audience’s attention. One must revisit Corigliano and his two excellent operas.
Scherzo (Spain)
Spellbinding… Librettist Mark Adamo and composer John Corigliano blend Thebes with Victorian London in this mashup of Euripides’ The Bacchae and Bram Stoker’s Dracula; and The Lord of Cries is two and a half hours of brilliantly sustained horror. Corigliano scored Ken Russells’ film Altered States (1980) and he certainly builds on that achievement here with music that evokes an eerie, frightening underworld; but this is a largely tonal, melodic score that seizes the listener and doesn’t let go. As Dionysus/Dracula, Anthony Roth Costanzo finds a perfect fit for his otherworldly, almost disembodied countertenor; and he has a full slate of excellent singers in support. Gil Rose conducts the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Odyssey Opera chorus in this complex score with firm control and a strong feeling for drama and dread.
Opera Magazine (London)
Darkly theatrical…(librettist) Adamo strings out his scenes like beads on a thread, carefully balancing the sinister with the sexually charged; and Corigliano’s score—leaning towards the smart end of musical theatre— lands squarely. Conductor Gil Rose’s direction is punchy and dramatically alert, and the recording is appropriately in your face… Elaborate and sophisticated.
Musical America Worldwide
Corigliano’s triumphant return to opera…It’s precisely the mashup with Greek theatre that has allowed librettist Mark Adamo to resurrect vampiric legends so brilliantly; in response to the libretto’s blend of paganism and Gothic horror, Corigliano has composed a score that radiates eerie, nocturnal energy… A disturbing parable that ranks among the finest American operas in recent memory.
San Fransico Classical Voice
A fascinating, extreme and sometimes delirious opera…Corigliano’s basic premise is to blend Euripides’ The Bacchae with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but rest assured Adamo keeps a tight rein on the drama, so banish any thoughts of Hammer horror schlock. I hope one day we get a chance to see the opera; it certainly convinces me here.
Opera Now
An opera that grips the listener from beginning to end…Chorus and orchestra respond excellently to the lively direction of Gil Rose; and recorded sound is superlative, with carefully judged acoustics and perspectives… an exciting addition to the operatic repertory, which should be taken up internationally by producers and directors.
Music Web International
"A substantial musico-dramatic journey…John Corigliano’s sure dramatist’s hand is at work here; 'The Lord of Cries' is full of violent contrasts, out-of-left-field sound imagination (horns in aggressive, extreme registers, a loitering harpsichord) with elemental forces juxtaposed against bourgeois life in ways that make the latter seem all the more trivial…. A Pulitzer, Grammy and Oscar winner, Corigliano is now 85, and one feels lucky that he has returned to opera at the height of his powers."