Download from iTunes Quantity in Basket: None LEI LIANG Inheritance TROY1819 - Price: $16.99
play sound file need help?
Go Back >


New opera by Grawemeyer Award winning composer Lei Liang featuring Susan Narucki.

Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang is the recipient of numerous awards and commissions including the Rome Prize and the Grawemeyer Award. On the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, Liang studied at the New England Conservatory and Harvard. Inheritance, his chamber opera with libretto by Matt Donovan draws attention to the hopelessness associated with gun violence in the United States, exploring the psychological effect on one of the heirs to the fortune made by the Winchester rifle, Sarah Winchester. The role of Sarah Winchester is performed by the extraordinary soprano Susan Narucki, who has presented more than 150 world premieres in opera, concert and recording. The opera is cast for three female voices, a male voice, and a chamber ensemble conducted by Steven Schick.
Lei Liang, composer
Susan Narucki (soprano); Kirsten Wiest (soprano); Hilary Jean Young (soprano); Josué Cerón (tenor); Anthony Burr (clarinet); Madison Greenstone (clarinet); Fiona Digney (percussion); Sean Dowgray (percussion); David Aguila (trumpet); Pablo Gomez Cano (guitar); Takae Ohnishi (harpsichord); Mark Dresser (contrabass); Steven Schick (conductor)

"Inheritance is a meditation on the meaning of [Sarah] Winchester's life and on the hopelessness of the rampant gun violence in American culture.…The opera is dreamy and ethereal, with mysterious music and ambiguous texts. But there are moments of clarity and references in the music to gunfire, manufacturing machinery and the pounding of hammers, contrasted with the keening of spirits and furtive, occasionally frenetic sounds from the harpsichord…Liang employs many recurring musical leitmotifs, small and unusual enough to avoid seeming pedantic…in particular, his writing for the two percussionists is virtuoso…Susan Narucki, as Sarah, again demonstrates that she's one of the great practitioners of contemporary vocal music…The supporting cast is quite good, as well…Conductor Steven Schick masterfully maintains an atmospheric sense of timelessness but also keeps the performers focused, making a strong case for the opera's dramatic relevance. There's music to admire and cogitate upon here." (Opera News)

"Before the rise of Silicon Valley and Dionne Warwick's 1968 hit "Do you know the way to San Jose," California was known for its Winchester Mystery House, a gaudy, sprawling mansion built by a munitions heiress to accommodate in its 160 rooms and 40 staircases the ghosts of America's gun culture and to expurgate her sins. This opera in 10 scenes is constructed so that Susan Narucki's great set piece, Sarah Winchester's narrative of dread, hope, and madness…emerges not so much out of the story…but from the accountability amplified by personal grief. In this and the following even more hair-raising scene, Narucki forces her character to experience almost impossible contrasts of beauty and pain. While Lei Liang's opera must obviously be seen to be fully experienced…so sensitively and imaginatively does he mix and match his kaleidoscopic sonic palette to Matt Donovan's freely evocative, numerology-obsessed libretto, the quartet of voices, the curious ensemble and the electroics that the highly charged narrative makes a deep impression even without the stagecraft. The recording captures the drama, layering the voices with the ideally captured instrumental riffs so that it's all perfectly clear and precise without being surgical…" (Gramophone)