The Lifework of Juan Diaz
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Based on a Ray Bradbury story, this recording is for fans of modern opera.

Based on the story by Ray Bradbury, this marvelous chamber opera was composed by Lawrence Rapchak between September 1988 and February 1989. It was given its world premiere performance on April 21, 1990 by the same forces heard on this recording. As with so many contemporary operas, the libretto is riveting. Here is a synopsis: Juan Diaz, a poor peasant, dies after a lifetime of failing to provide for his wife Maria and their three children. On his deathbed, he promises to somehow help care for them from beyond the grave. A year after the death, the malevolent gravedigger Alejandro cheats Maria and unearths the body of her late husband, placing it on display in the catacombs. The loyal and courageous Maria then manages to steal the body and evade the gravedigger's charges of theft. She then places the body on an altar in her home, thus creating a small museum of her own, and charges admission to the tourists who come to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Through her actions she has made it possible for Juan to keep his deathbed pledge by providing income for his family.
Contents:
Lawrence Rapchak, composer
The Lifework of Juan Diaz
Chamber Opera Chicago, Lawrence Rapchak, conductor

Review:
"This is an enchanting little opera, based on a Ray Bradbury story and teleplay....Composer Lawrence Rapchak adds music as flavorful as the story. A small chamber ensemble with a variety of percussion fills out a complex web of music which includes tonal and nontonal elements, classical structures, and even leitmotifs. Over all this run predominantly lyrical vocal lines; there are hints of the Menotti of Amahl and The Saint of Bleeker Street, both in the drama and the vocal settings, but this music if far more original and every bit as effective....The Lifework of Juan Diaz is Rapchak's first opera; it deserves great success and promises much for the future." (Fanfare)
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