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Opera in Two Acts. Composed by Conrad Susa (1935-). Piano/vocal score. 284 pages. Published by E.C. Schirmer Publishing (EC.4975).
Item Number: EC.4975
8.5" x 11" inches.
Written by Philip Littell, based on the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Opera in 3 Acts. The salon of Mme. Rosemonde's chateau outside Paris is the setting for the tangled web of intrigue and romantic relationships between the Chevalier de Danceny and Cecile de Volanges; Valmont (Rosemonde's nephew) and Madame de Merteuil (among his other female conquests are Madame de Tourvel, Emilie, and Cecile). The relationships are made and changed by a series of letters, shadowed by the overriding relationship between Valmont and Madame de Merteuil. Merteuil, in the end, emerges from the tumult to tell of her public humiliation and her subsequent misfortunes, including smallpox and bankruptcy. She cannot avoid betraying the regret of her true feeling for Valmont. She has lost everything, yet, defiantly, she survives. Duration: ~ 2 Hours, 45 Minutes
MARQUISE DE MERTEUIL - Mezzo Soprano
LA VICOMTE DE VALMONT - Baritone
MADAME DE ROSEMONDE - Soprano
PRESIDENTE DE TOURVEL - Soprano
MADAME DE VOLANGES - Mezzo Soprano
CECILE DE VOLANGES - Soprano
CHEVALIER DE DANCENY - Tenor
EMILIE - Soprano
AZOLAN - Baritone
JULIE - Soprano
VICTOIRE - Mezzo Soprano
MONSIEUR BERTRAND - Baritone
FATHER ANSELME - Mute
September 1994, San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Conservatory
University of Cincinnati - College Conservatory of Music
Banff Center for the Arts
Video recording available at operaaddiction.com, DVD-Y372
Mr. Littell's distillation lends the characters a certain depth and concreteness. The history and thus the motivations of the manipulative Marquises de Merteuil are deftly limned. And the Vicomte de Valmont, while philandering with a vengance... maintains a modicum of humanity, which makes his ultimate breakdown not only believable but, on some minimal level, touching. Mr. Susa's music, in its perfumed decadence, was also an honest mirror, grateful for the singing voice...
-James R. Oestreich, THE NEW YORK TIMES
For those who consider contemporary opera something to be dreaded and feared, Conrad Susa's new operatic version of The Dangerous Liaisons (★ ★ ★'s out of four)... seems too ingratiating to be true... it's too pretty to be dangerous. Following the superb overture of complimentary melodies playing a gentle game of tag, the piece settles into a well-upholstered but emotionally circumscribed style that suggests a laid-back Richard Strauss. This approach conveys the ornate veneer coating 18th century French society. And the alternatively interlocking and unraveling woodwind melodies suggest [the] behind-the-scenes intrigues...
-David Patrick Stearns, USA TODAY
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