A Grammy Double for Elmer Gantry and Pyramix
The recording also earned a Grammy for the composers in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category. Robert Aldridge composed the music and the librettist was Hershel Garfein. The pair has been working together on this idea since 1990. There was nearly a triple celebration as Soundmirror’s producer on the sessions; Blanton Alspaugh was also nominated in the Producer of the Year, Classical category.
Elmer Gantry is a new American opera based on Sinclair Lewis’ famous satirical novel from 1927 that follows the adventures of a fraudulent, womanizing evangelist. Elmer, a small-town football hero with the gift of gab, falls in love with and becomes business manager for a beautiful traveling evangelist, Sharon Falconer. He helps her realize her dream of building a magnificent tabernacle before his misdeeds bring ruin to them both. The music for Elmer Gantry places traditional operatic forms – arias, duets and large ensembles – into a boldly American, vernacular, and ‘roots’-based musical language. Original hymns and gospel choruses help to tell this quintessentially American story of religion, love and corruption. The Opera was given its first complete performance by the Nashville Opera in November 2007. Then as now, the part of Elmer Gantry was played by Keith Phares. The recording features Patricia Risley as Sharon Falconer with Vale Rideout, Frank Kelley, Heather Buck, the Florentine Opera Chorus and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
The recording was made on March 19 and 21 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee. It was conducted from the pit by William Boggs and the performance was directed by John Hoomes. The recording was released in July 2011 and was listed by Opera News as one of the top ten opera recordings of last year.
Soundmirror’s John Newton remarked; “Pyramix is really the only solution for us. It just sounds way better than any other digital recorder and what is great is we can deliver clients masters in the best quality PCM or DSD. We are really excited about the new Horus Networked Audio convertor. This is going to be perfect for the way we work and the ability to control the units remotely will be ideal for this type of recording.”