Don Davis: Río de Sangre
This world premiere recording of Río de Sangre, a new opera by composer Don Davis and librettist Kate Gale, presents fictional characters and situations that offer a more general comment on political and historical events, aiming for a degree of universality. The action takes place in an unnamed country in the Southern hemisphere and the text is sung in Spanish, but the characters and events clearly echo conditions and crises from any place and any time. Commissioned by the Florentine Opera Company, Río de Sangre received its world premiere performance by the company in 2010. Composer Don Davis has enjoyed a successful and widely varied musical career, not only as a seminal and prolific composer of contemporary orchestral and chamber works for the concert stage, but also as a versatile dramatic composer and conductor of film and television music, including the feature film trilogy The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The music is nothing short of incredible. There's an amazing variety of stimulating and colorful shapes, textures, and rhythm, long brooding confessions in Spanish, tormented but with hope. This could only come from a composer with a lifetime of experience marrying music with characters, emotion, and story. It's a masterful display of compositional creativity, orchestration, and emotional connection. For any young composers or librettists, this work could not be more highly recommended as an inspiring and complete work, something to reach up for. That's what it has been for me.
It is a wild ride in South America, with the president and his family, as a guest, during the most hopeful and then darkest times of his life.
I believe Rio De Sangre will make it's place in history as one of the greatest operas of our time.
The recording is pristine with wonderful clarity.
Davis, a native of Orange County here in Southern California, is remembered for his work in motion pictures, from helping with the orchestrations of DIE HARD 2 and TITANIC to eventually doing his own scores for the Warchowski Brothers' MATRIX films, and in 2001, with John Williams' hearty approval, JURASSIC PARK III. With all these successes in a field that is not only not fully understood but still not highly regarded as "serious" music in all quarters, Davis was taking a huge risk in not only doing an opera, but one with a political subtext to it that comments on many recent events. But with help from a very solid librettist in Kate Gale, that's what he did here. "Rio De Sangre", sung totally in Spanish, is set in an unnamed country in Latin America racked by war, violence, and a military coup d'etat that the characters are caught up in. Even for opera, this is fairly heavy subject matter; but again, like all good art, it makes a comment on contemporary issues that are not so easily ignored. In this recording, its world premiere, the opera is given a first-rate treatment by Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company, which had also given us a magnificent performance of William Aldridge's opera "Elmer Gantry" a couple of years ago as well, and a solid cast. Joseph Rescigno is on the podium to conduct the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Because of its Latin American setting, Davis' music is chock full of Latin influences like meringue and salsa, much like the scores of films set in Latin America. The end result in "Rio De Sangre" is an opera of enormous brilliance for our time, and one just plain worth acquiring, tragic though the story may be.