My review of Liza Lim’s The Navigator, in concert performance at the Bastille Opera is now available on MusicalCriticism.com:
Liza Lim’s third opera, The Navigator, is not short of ideas. Its inspirations begin in ancient Greek myth, the Mahabharata and the story of Tristan and Isolde (as told in the Breton folk tale and by Wagner), and this is before one considers its explorations of desire, war, creation and annihilation, its structure through the in utero development of the five senses, its sexuality or obscure symbolism; and before one has heard a note.Let’s start here: One of the most striking things about this score, even for the listener who finds its super-rich mix of ideas and allusions too much to take in on a first hearing, is that it does not rest for a moment. The instrumentarium (including electric guitar and a sub-ensemble of Baroque harp, viola d’amore and recorders) is huge in possibilities, and Lim writes with seemingly limitless fecundity. From the first naked notes of the prelude, written for solo Ganassi recorder and played superbly by Genevieve Lacey, the composer’s focus never drops.
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