Continuing its tradition of commissioning new operas, the Houston Grand Opera gives the world premiere recording of A Coffin in Egypt by Ricky Ian Gordon. Based on Texan playwright Horton Foote’s single-character play, A Coffin in Egypt possesses all of the depth and lyricism of grand opera. The libretto by Leonard Foglia and music by Ricky Ian Gordon offer the essence of opera’s disarming intimacy. Set in Egypt, Texas, the triple-entendre title is of symbolic significance to believers and Bible scholars, with the final reference to a literal journey taken by Myrtle, the 90-year-old character in the opera. The emotional journey of this opera takes us through our common experiences of joy, pain and the accepting peace of forgiveness. The incomparable Frederica von Stade was lured out of retirement to take on the leading tour-de-force role.
"... I believe this work would be an effective piece of theatre. The story moves fast, with short scenes, and the extra characters serve to add variety to the narration of the main character... The work is written for her [Frederica Von Stade] voice, and she sings it impeccably. She also creates a perfect characterization of Myrtle - lonely, proud, a bit blind to her own faults, and yet projecting s picture of old-world gentility..."
Richard Sininger - American Record Guide - November/December 2014