Listen to a Sample:
My personal reaction to Luigi Nono is generally, well, “no no”, but fans of his work need look no further. Intolleranza, sung here in English, though the words are mostly inaudible, is basically a plotless exploration of torture, violence and protest, featuring moments of dazzling beauty contrasted with (deliberately) unbearable cacophony. The nameless hero of the work is a screamer of a role, and in this performance Lawrence West is up to the herculean challenge. Beverly Sills is on hand for an extended cameo in the opera’s second half, providing a wall of stratospheric sound, though most of her words are lost in the shuffle of the orchestration. This is not for everybody, but those who can embrace Nono’s soundscape are in for a gripping experience.