Louis Karchin Opera "JANE EYRE"
to be Released on Naxos, August 9

Libretto by Diane Osen

Recording Features the Cast of the Opera’s 2016 Premiere
and the Orchestra of the League of Composers
New York, NY – Naxos announces the release on August 9 of Louis Karchin 's highly acclaimed Jane Eyre , a full-length opera in three acts with a libretto by Diane Osen , based on Charlotte Brontë's novel. The world premiere staging of Jane Eyre took place in the Fall of 2016 at the Kaye Playhouse in New York City, under the auspices of the Center for Contemporary Opera.

The Naxos release (cat# 8669042-43) features all the singers from the original production, who bring an intense emotional depth to the recording, having been able to develop the dramatic impact of their roles on stage. Singers include soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Jane and tenor Ryan MacPherson as Rochester, who have performed on some of the most acclaimed stages in the world. Notably, Ms. Zetlan was featured in the premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys at The Metropolitan Opera, and Mr. MacPherson has appeared extensively in leading roles with New York City Opera.

Also featured in the cast are soprano Katrina Thurman (Blanche Ingram) and baritone Thomas Meglioranza (Roderick Ingram/St. John Rivers), two singers long associated with Mr. Karchin’s music who participated in the cast of his previous opera, Romulus . Ms. Thurman and Mr. Meglioranza perform roles in Jane Eyre written expressly for them. All the singers from the original production are featured in the recording and bring to their roles the same intense emotional depth that distinguished their performances on stage.
The Orchestra of the League of Composers (OLC) provides the instrumental accompaniment on the recording. The Orchestra is devoted to contemporary music and known for performing the newest music of our time under the auspices of its parent organization, the League-ISCM. The New York Times has praised its “polished performances” and “boundary-erasing spirit,” making it a natural fit for this project.

The double CD is one of the very few composer-led recordings of a full-length opera by an
American composer. It was recorded in dedicated sessions at Theatre C of SUNY Purchase over three days in September 2017. The recording was produced and digitally edited by Marlan Barry and runs 130 minutes. The full cast includes nine singers (performing 13 roles), a female chorus, and an orchestra of 36 musicians.

"Wildly inventive... vivid and deft."

"Crucial arias and scenes build to glittering radiance…"

From left to right: soprano Jennifer Zetlan and tenor Ryan MacPherson
About Jane Eyre
Over the past two decades, composer Louis Karchin has created a host of vocal works,
including a masque, Orpheus , for baritone, chamber ensemble, and dancers, and an hour-long one-act opera, Romulus (2005), based on a play by Alexandre Dumas, père . But even for a seasoned vocal composer, creating an opera based on a novel as vast and beloved as Jane Eyre presented unique challenges . Karchin composed the opera over a four-year period (2010-2014), working closely with librettist Diane Osen, who was able to compress the novel to fit the constraints of a staged production while retaining key touchstones in the narrative and Brontë’s distinctive syntax.

“Diane Osen’s sturdy libretto for Karchin does a good job of boiling the novel down to its essence: the romantic relationship between the governess Jane Eyre and Rochester,” George Loomis noted in Opera magazine . “ [The] final duet came off as a high point, a soaring piece that put a four-note motif through churning modulatory progressions before reaching a serene sustained chord to end the opera in a Wagnerian manner. This was just one element of Karchin’s richly eclectic style….”

Joanne Sydney Lessner wrote in Opera News , “Karchin’s musical language is wildly inventive, and his orchestrations vivid and deft….evocative orchestral passages that captured the novel’s repressed romantic passion. The singers rose to the opera’s challenges with blazing talent and commitment.”
Cast in order of vocal appearance:
Jane Eyre
Edward Rochester
Roderick Ingram
Mrs. Ingram
Blanche Ingram
Mrs. Fairfax
Richard Mason
Mr. Wood
Mr. Briggs
Diana Rivers
Mary Rivers
St. John Rivers
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano
Ryan MacPherson, tenor
Thomas Meglioranza, baritone
Jessica Thompson, soprano
Katrina Thurman, soprano
Kimberly Giordano, soprano
Adam Cannedy, baritone
Jessica Best, mezzo-soprano
David Salsbery Fry, bass
Adam Cannedy, baritone
Jessica Thompson, soprano
Jessica Best, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Meglioranza, baritone
Louis Karchin by XX
About Louis Karchin
Hailed as a composer of “fearless eloquence” (Andrew Porter, The New Yorker ), Louis Karchin has been honored with performances of his music throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East. He has written over 95 works in virtually every genre, including two operas, music for dance, orchestral works and chamber music, but a particular focus has been vocal music, including his extended vocal-instrumental song cycles, American Visions , Orpheus , and his recently premiered Four Orchestral Songs on Poems of Seamus Heaney . His highly acclaimed first opera, Romulus , was produced by the Guggenheim Museum at its Peter. B. Lewis Theatre and garnered warm acclaim, with Steve Smith writing in The New York Times , “I would have happily stayed to hear it again.” BBC Music Magazine named the subsequent CD release of Romulus a “best of the month” selection, and Fanfare made it a “best of the year” choice. Jane Eyre was a winner of both the Inaugural Frontiers Competition of the Ft. Worth Opera and the
Center for Contemporary’s Opera’s annual competition for new works.

Karchin’s music has been championed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center,
Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and by the Louisville Orchestra, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Earplay Ensemble of San Francisco, Voices of Change (Dallas, TX), the Plurimo Ensemble (Venice, Italy), Specturm Sonori and the Karos Percussion Ensemble (Seoul, South Korea), among many other groups. His music is recorded on Bridge, Naxos, New World, Albany, New Focus, and CRI labels, and his compositions are published by C. F. Peters Corporation and the American Composers Alliance. Mr. Karchin is the recipient of numerous awards for his work including Koussevitzky, Fromm and Barlow Foundation commissions, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and three awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is Professor of Music at New York University.
About Diane Osen
Librettist Diane Osen graduated from Vassar College and earned an MA in English from
Rutgers University before embarking on a career as a writer, consultant and teacher. Her
writing talents emerged against a background of immersion in the world of opera: her father, David Osen began his career as a baritone at New York City Opera, singing in productions including The Student Prince and Der Rosenkavalier . One of Osen’s four books, The Book That Changed My Life , is a collection of interviews she conducted with prize-winning novelists, historians and poets including John Updike, E.L. Doctorow, Don DeLillo, Diane Johnson, David McCullough and Philip Levine. In fashioning the libretto for Jane Eyre , she felt she was adapting the book that changed her own life, and took great pleasure in re-introducing to 21st century audiences an iconic figure of 19th century literature.
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