This Week in Classical Music 12/03/17

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Adams' New Opera Premieres; Plants Make Music.

It’s This Week in Classical Music, an update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.


John Adams’ new opera, “Girls of the Golden West,” had its premiere in California last week.

The opera’s climactic final scene is based on a real life Gold Rush  tragedy that happened on Independence day, 1851 : the lynching of a Mexican woman who was hanged for killing a white miner who had broken down her door.

A lot of the story is drawn from the letters of Louise Clappe, a New England woman who lived in the mining camps with her husband, a doctor, in 1851 and 1852, and published her letters under the pen name “Dame Shirley.”

The opera also incorporates bits of Mark Twain’s writings, and Shakespeare.

soprano Julia Bullock has her first great role as Dame Shirley, and closes the opera with a haunting Adams aria, finding promise of a wonderful California sky that can’t be darkened by the terrible deeds that happen under it.

After it’s American run, the opera heads to the Dutch national opera.



Can Plants make music?  The answer is YES.  By hooking them up to electrodes fed into a midi machine,that is, part of a project called “Music of the Plants”, developed by researchers at Damanhur, a spiritual eco-community in Piedmont, Italy.

Researcher Tigrilla Gardenia from Damanhur explains:

 “The Music of the Plants is based on a biofeedback system … it is a system that measures the bio frequency of the plants or trees and transfers it through a midi synthesizer, so that it is possible to hear the plants or trees and the variations of their frequency. 

The instrument is, in practice, a pulse converter that uses two sensors to register the flow of root- to-leaf lymph. The mechanism is comparable to an electrocardiogram for a human being.” He says. 

Gardenia has helped bring the Music of the Plants worldwide, from orchestral concerts in Tuscany to small shows in Brooklyn.  The instrument is apparently very popular among musicians.  They connect it to their plants and play along.

 For More on these, and other items and events, go to the website at KBACH dot org; be listening every week at this time for another update;  Find us on facebook and Follow us on twitter; Join us every weekday at Noon for the Most wanted hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 picks in classical music. 

I’m Randy Kinkel for This Week in Classical Music, on  89.5 KBACH, K-B-A-Q Phoenix and HD, a service of rio salado college and Arizona State University. 



Here's a link to video about the Opera.