Robert Ashley

Robert Ashley, solo voice; with Thomas Buckner, Carla Tato, Jacqueline Humbert, voices; "Blue" Gene Tyranny, keyboards; Paul Shorr, mixing and electronics.
Recorded live at the Teatro Olimpico in Rome.
Sung in English and Italian.

Ashley makes use of the story of "Atalanta"--a royal princess, discarded by her family, who was raised by the animals to become the fastest-running human, and who was later reclaimed by her father to marry her off for dynastic purposes--to present the character aspects of the "successful suitor." These three aspects of character are presented in the opera as anecdotes about three extraordinary men of our times: Max Ernst (surrealist painter), Willard Reynolds (shaman storyteller) and Bud Powell (composer pianist). The genius of these three men can be taken to represent three aspects of the opera itself: image, narrative and music. In the imaginary setting of Atalanta (Acts of God), one companion (singer) reminds her of her excellence (the "Odalisque" arias); another recommends to her the characteristics of excellence in men (the "Character Reference" arias); and a third amuses her with anecdotes, as if told to her by each of the three men (the "Anecdotes").

"Atalanta is part avant-garde, part Fellini soundtrack, a cultural car crash between old world decadence and new world laconicism."
— Peter Watrous, Musician Magazine

"Don't worry about plumbing all the depths -- the disquisitions on odalisques, Immaculate Conceptions, music and brain chemistry, and the story of the Flying Saucer's missed mark. There's plenty of surface fascination, and Ashley's droll, congenial voice falls comfortably on one's ears. This is art that doesn't focus like a telescope, but shatters and showers like a refractory kaleidoscope in reverse, twisting the hand and rearranging the eye."
— Steven A. Kvaal, City Pages

Album Notes

Track Listing:

Disc 1 —
1. "Max" Odalisque & Character Reference (18:50)
2. "Max" Anecdote with Chorale "No, Never, No" (24:28)
3. "Willard" Odalisque & Character Reference (20:17)

Disc 2 —
1. "Willard" Anecdote with Chorale "You've Got To Hold Me Tighter (Yeah)" (24:15)
2. "Bud" Odalisque & Character Reference (21:10)
3. "Bud" Anecdote with Chorale "Giving Love Away" (24:22)

CD 3301 (2 CDs)

Lovely Music Price: $30.00