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Poul Ruders: The Thirteenth Child
Ruders Edition: Vol. 14

$ 16.99
Poul Ruders: The Thirteenth Child <br> Ruders Edition: Vol. 14 <br> BRIDGE 9527

2019 Fanfare *Want List*
2019 Opera News *Critics Choice*
2019 American Record Guide *Critics Choice*

"The Thirteenth Child" is a welcome addition to the catalogue.  Ruders brings the story to life with bold, bright primary colors. The source material's magical spells, enchanted landscapes and vengeful bad guys seem to have particularly inspired the composer.  But Ruders's imagination is fired by goodness as well as evil.  Princess Lyra's Act 1 closing aria is gorgeously melodic; as sung by Sarah Shafer, it's also winsome and shimmering.  On a moment-by-moment basis, this is one of the most enjoyable new operas of the past two decades." --Joshua Rosenblum, OPERA NEWS (Critic's Choice, December 2019)

The Thirteenth Child is a new opera in two acts, with music by Poul Ruders to a libretto by Becky & David Starobin. Commissioned by The Santa Fe Opera and the Odense Symfoniorkester, the libretto is an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm story, "The Twelve Brothers".  The recording, made in Denmark and the USA, brings Ruders's gripping 80-minute score vividly to life, and is being released by Bridge Records in tandem with the world premiere staging of The Thirteenth Child by the Santa Fe Opera in July and August of 2019.  The recording features  soprano Sarah Shafer as Princess Lyra; mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford as Queen Gertrude (Ms. Mumford will also create the role for The Santa Fe Opera production); bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam as Drokan; bass Matt Boehler as King Hjarne; tenor David Portillo as Benjamin; tenor Alasdair Kent as Prince Frederic and Toke, and bass Alex Rosen as Corbin.  The Odense Symfoniorkester and the Bridge Academy Singers are conducted by David Starobin and Benjamin Shwartz, with Amber Evans, chorus master.  The Thirteenth Child is Poul Ruders's fifth opera.  The 70 year old Danish composer is well known for his gripping dystopian opera, The Handmaid's Tale. The Thirteenth Child shares some of the dark world of The Handmaid's Tale, but also gives the listener a fairytale, full of romance, magic and transformation.



"The Thirteenth Child is an unalloyed success...a threshold to the mysterious realms of the unconscious, even the astral, a place where flowers can transform into ravens in the blink of an eye.   It acts as a reminder that true theatricality is alive and well; it reminds us that Ruders's chameleon ability to move between musical vernaculars, yet to speak always the truth, puts him up there with the finest of living composers.  The stunning recording enables us fully to throw ourselves into this magical parallel world."  - Colin Clarke, Fanfare 

"Fairy tales advance by surprising, generally magical events, and Ruders has invented captivating music for each. Ruders and his librettists have created an enchanting work in the genre of the fairy-tale opera, replete with spells, magic gardens, a quest to find 12 long-lost brothers, and a princess (the 13th child of the title) fated to undergo ill and happy adventures before she rescues her brothers and weds her prince..." - Fanfare Magazine, June 2019

"...two outstanding singers, mezzo Tamara Mumford as Gertrude and lyric soprano Sarah Shafer as Lyra...Ruders furnishes the mother-daughter relationship with his most beautiful music, and the two singers are luminous in tone and moving emotionally. I must single out bass Matt Bochler as Hjarne, who encompasses an extraordinary vocal range extending from Fafner-like low notes to an eerie high falsetto. As the love interest, Prince Frederic, lyric tenor Alasdair Kent has a gleaming romantic tone perfectly suited to some of Ruders’s most romantic melodies."
- Fanfare Magazine, June 2019

"I haven't encountered a libretto this fine in a long time...Becky and David Starobin's libretto tells a story that resembles a Grimm's fairy tale, maintaining a certain distance befitting its simulation of a fairy tale without alienating the listener- no small feat in 2019.” - The American Record Guide

"The Thirteenth Child is a decidedly modern take on the traditional notion of a fairy tale. To a knowing libretto by Becky and David Starobin, Ruders responds with music of darkly macabre, poetically illuminating commentary...Ruders remains a masterful evoker of menacing atmospheres and tremulous feelings – sine qua non for fairy tales." - Classical Ear

"The Thirteenth Child offers a fabulous recording of a new opera by Danish composer Poul Ruders.  Ruders’ musical score glows with a keen sense of story-telling and the emotional responses of the characters." - Performing Arts Monterey Bay

"From the very beginning, the music grips one with its dark, tragic tone...both the music and its performance are excellent...this is a fascinating work that bears repeated listening." - Art Music Lounge

"The combination of fairy-tale magic, lightly comic moments and a happy ending have elicited a score marked with lyric elements, glowing consonant orchestral interludes, and one delightfully humorous male ensemble.  Benjamin's heroic death sets up the moral that is told at the end: "No joy without sorrow...dark days always come, in love we find the light."  This message has inspired Ruders to write an opera of expressive breadth and depth, one that I look forward to seeing and hearing again." - Sharps & Flatirons

"Adapted from Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s story ‘Die zwölf Brüder,’ Danish composer Poul Ruders' two-act opera The Thirteenth Child is a setting of an atmospheric, wonderfully singable libretto by Becky and David Starobin. The operatic tapestry woven by the Starobins from the threads of the Grimms’ story unfurls in music that is by turns mesmerizing, wrenching, moving, and, in the opera’s final scene, uplifting... a drama that ensnares the listener’s heart." - Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts, June, 2019

"Ruders has become a master...he uses simple melodies to represent universal themes like a mother's love or love of country. The stage action was natural. The projections were incredible, bringing three-dimensional images on the walls of the unit-set. The swirling patterns while Hjarne is being influenced by Drokan’s warning were wonderful, as were the snakes slithering over the walls as the madness became worse. The production team deserved their ovations, as did the cast." - RADIO KUCO: Opera Page

"This relatively short opera is filled with beautifully conceived musical ideas. The music includes a sweeping symphonic introduction to King Hjarne’s plaintive The night air groans. It is Tamara Mumford’s Queen Gertrude who introduces the opera’s most distinctive melodic leitmotiv representing her maternal need to protect her sons and suggesting Gertrude’s beating heart." - Operawarhorses.com

The Thirteenth Child production blog:


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