Constellations, A Chamber Opera
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A contemporary opera based on the life of Joan Miró.

Constellations, with music by Efraín Amaya and libretto by Susana Amundarain, is a chamber opera inspired by the life and work of Spanish artist Joan Miró. American composer and conductor Efraín Amaya was born in Venezuela, where he began his musical studies. A graduate of Indiana University and Rice University, Amaya has served on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon where he conducted the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble. His compositions have been performed around the world at international festivals. He is currently on the faculty at Minot State University and conducts the Minot Symphony Orchestra. Recordings of his music appear on the Albany Records and Oberlin Music Record labels.
Efraín Amaya, composer
Constellations, A Chamber Opera
Raquel Winnica Young (mezzo-soprano); Dan Kempson (baritone); Sara Shafer (soprano); Arts Crossing Chamber Orchestra; Efraín Amaya (conductor)

“This is a one-act chamber opera inspired by the life and work of surrealist artist Joan Miro, with music by Venezuelan composer Efrain Amaya and a libretto from his wife and collab-orator Susana Amundarain. The opera draws from a period when Miro, exiled in northern France from the Spanish Civil War, narrowly escapes the encroaching Nazi armies with his daughter and wife, Pilar. In Amundarain’s libretto, “Jo” struggles with his purpose as an artist and his feelings of helplessness in such traumatic times. His wife “Pi” yearns to connect with him and calls for help from Tessa, an angel of Saint John. Though the action revolves around Jo’s art and personal crisis, Pi is the beating heart of the work, thanks in part to the gorgeous, expressive singing by mezzo-soprano Raquel Winnica Young. She is torn between supporting her closed-off husband and moving her family to safety, feeling unable to do either. It is her heartfelt plea for spiritual guidance in Act 1—one of the most beautiful parts of the opera—and her subsequent bold acts of love that drive the narrative. The music is mostly tonal, with beautiful vocal writing (especially for Pi) and instrument writing that often imparts a sense of wonder or deep feeling. The Arts Crossing Chamber Orchestra gives fine (though not flawless) performances and the singers are all excellent. Sound is very good. Notes and libretto are included.” (American Record Guide)
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