University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Karchin: Jane Eyre

01/19/2020 1:00 pm
01/19/2020 4:30 pm

 

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

This will not be the first time I have aired a recording of an operatic rendering of Charlotte Bronte's famous novel. On Sunday, May 18, 2003 you heard British composer Michael Berkeley's Jane Eyre in its Music Theatre Wales production of the year 2000 as co-produced by BBC Radio Three and released on a single Chandos compact disc. Those who love Bronte's novel might complain that Berkeley's opera leaves out way too much of the story.

As an opera, Jane Eyre gets a much fuller treatment from American composer Louis Karchin (b. 1951). Diane Osen's libretto can be credited with a more literarily in-depth adaptation of Bronte's book. In recorded form, Karchin's Jane Eyre is a longer work, clocking in at two hours and ten minutes spread out over two Naxos compact discs. Karchin worked on his opera for four years, 2010-14. It won the 2012 award in composition from the Center for Contemporary Opera. Its premiere staging came in 2016 at the Kaye Playhouse in Manhattan, and subsequently it was recorded in 2017 with Karchin himself conducting the Orchestra of the League of Composers. There's a singing cast of nine characters. Jane is soprano Jennifer Zetian. Edward Rochester is tenor Ryan MacPherson.