Max Stern: Messer Marco Polo
excerpts from Prelude and Act II
based on the love story "Messer Marco Polo" by Irish-American author, Donn Byrne (1889-1928)
libretto by the composer
Golden Bells, daughter of Kublai Khan (soprano)
Li Po, court poet of China (bass)
Sanang, royal magician and court sorcerer (tenor)
1. Prelude (10:44)
A tone picture of the entire drama in miniature from Venice to China: excitement, adventure, love, marriage and loss. The final section, a coda of gongs and bells signals the closing of the gates to the Chinese garden.
Act II scene 1
2. Golden Bells is playing the Song of the Willow Branches on her lute, the saddest love song in all the world (10:01).
3. Sanang, the magician and the Crystal Ball Episode of Marco tortured in the Gobi desert (7:32).
4. The court poet, Li Po's Song (5:30).
5. The rescue of Marco Polo at Golden Bells pleading through Sanang's Distant Ears (6:09).
6. Li Po's poem, The Marrying Song (10:27)
Three Songs on Texts by American Poets (10:44)
7. Hold on to Dreams (text by Langston Hughes)(4:06)
8. Jenny Kissed Me (text by Leigh Hunt) (2:08)
9. Earthbound (text by Barbara Jasmin) (4:25)
About the performers
Kristyna Valouskova, soprano, is the foremost interpreter of contemporary vocal music in the Czech Republic.
Jiri Kalendovsky is bass soloist of the National Opera Prague.
Robert Sich is tenor soloist of the State Opera, Prague
Hanus Barton is a leading piano accompanist on the faculty of the Prague Academy of Musical Arts
Talich Chamber Orchestra is a historic Czech ensemble that has performed at international festivals and recorded for EMI records.
Max Stern, composer-conductor