|Available at Amazon:|
Rudi Stephan, Die ersten Menschen, Orchestre National de France, M. Franck (released May 29, 2007)
The story is a post-Freudian re-imagining of the aftermath of the fall of man, based on the erotic mystery play of Otto Borngräber, a sort of cross-fertilization of Genesis with the Oedipus myth. True to a medieval Christian interpretation, Chabel (Abel) is a sort of Christ figure, revealing the presence of the creator to his family, who have forgotten God in the sweat of their labor. When the first act concludes with God's acceptance of Chabel's lamb, offered on an altar, Kajin (Cain) does not even bother to offer any of his harvested crops. He is concerned only with finding a woman, after his lust for Chawa (Eve) has been awakened. Chawa, herself inflamed for an uninterested Adahm, calls out for God to let her see her husband as he was when he was young.
Composer Rudi Stephan (1887-1915)
The musical style is closer to Strauss and Korngold than Berg, with the broad, sweeping gestures of a large late Romantic orchestra, as in Adahm's impassioned remembrance of his first glimpse of the newly created Chawa in Paradise ("Wie sie vor mir stand") in Act I, scene 2. The cast of four solo voices is strong, with some occasional stridency at the edge of vocal control from heroic tenor Wolfgang Millgramm as the visionary Chabel (Abel). Franz Hawlata is a stentorian, all-serious Adahm (Adam) to the flighty, insistent Chawa (Eve) of Nancy Gustafson. Donnie Ray Albert, whom we last heard live in the Symphony of a Thousand in Washington, is a vibrant and puissant Kajin, responding with force to the sweeping orchestral sounds behind him in his final passage ("Etwas glüht wo in meinem Him"). This is an opera worth getting to know much better.
Naïve V 5028