Mourning Becomes Electra  (Marvin David Levy)  (2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-865)
Item# OP3308
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Mourning Becomes Electra  (Marvin David Levy)  (2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-865)
OP3308. MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA (Marvin David Levy), Live Performance, 1 April, 1967, w.Mehta Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Marie Collier, Evelyn Lear, Sherrill Milnes, John Reardon, John Macurdy, etc. [World Premiere Cast, plus Collier's & Lear's Met Opera debut roles; Based on the play cycle by Eugene O'Neill, this mythic tale is set in Massachusetts shortly after the Civil War. Beneath the veneer of the prim and proper Mannon family are seething passions of bitterness, infidelity, incest, and even murder. The magnificently powerful music, written by Marvin David Levy, is completely original. Leonard Bernstein called Marvin David Levy's opera ‘a tremendous achievement, a remarkable work’….this opera received a 25-minute standing ovation on its opening night at the Metropolitan Opera in 1967.] (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-865. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.


“The new opera by Marvin David Levy received a pulverizing performance, thanks to the effort of two sopranos – Marie Collier from Australia and Evelyn Lear….One shudders to think of what would have happened had not these two brilliant singing-actresses been cast as Christine and Lavinia….an impact that hits the psyches of all of us….It should be said that the other members of the cast were almost on this level. The Metropolitan Opera, going all out in its production, selected the best of the singing-actors on its staff. John Reardon and Sherrill Milnes were entirely believable figures.”

- Harold C. Schoenberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 18 March, 1967

“Adapted from Eugene O'Neill's sprawling 1931 play of the same name, this opera focuses on a tormented family in a coastal New England town after the Civil War. A friend in New York helped Levy convince O'Neill's widow, Carlotta Monterey, to adapt MOURNING into an opera. But Levy never dreamed his opera would court interest from the Met, until he encountered the opera house's general manager, Rudolf Bing, at a Manhattan bar. ‘It wasn't my aim to get in the Met, not that I was going to turn it down’, recalls Levy, ‘It's also a burden, being so young, thrown into the spotlight, with no great deal of material behind you yet’. The Met's mounting of MOURNING wowed critics; but then the Opera, to Levy's dismay languished in obscurity for 31 years. He wrote few operas in the interim, and taught music history and orchestration at Brooklyn College, until the Lyric Opera of Chicago revived the much revised opera in 1998. More re-tweaking followed before presentations by the Seattle Opera in 2003 and the New York City Opera in 2004.”

- Phillip Valys, 5 Nov., 2013

“For most of Levy’s quicksilver career, his constant companion was his best-known composition, the Opera MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA. That work, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera when he was still in his 20s, would become both a source of his dissolution and, in the end, his salvation. Making its debut at the Met in 1967, MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA was the last full-length opera Levy ever wrote. Its history - from highly touted prospect to object of obscurity to recipient of late-life acclaim - parallels his own, illuminating the trajectory of a composer who found himself under immense pressure to cleave to musical fashions that were inimical to his art. ‘There wasn’t a taste for romantic contemporary music’, Levy told the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES in 1998, recalling the climate of draconian atonality in which he had composed the opera. The Met rarely commissions operas, and its selection of Levy was a signal honor.”

- PIONEER PRESS, 13 Feb., 2015

“MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA is, at long last (and I'm fully aware of John Adams' NIXON IN CHINA and THE DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER), a great American opera, the first since Gershwin's PORGY AND BESS in 1935.”

- Tom Rosenthal, THE INDEPENDENT, 6 June, 2004