A Chamber Opera by Hilda Paredes
Based on a Story by Isabel Allende
Watching the world premier of Hilda Paredes’ chamber opera Phantom Palace, I had the sort of out-of body experience where you say to yourself “This can’t be happening in New Haven”. I simply couldn’t come to terms with the realization that I was seeing topflight European modern opera, performed by a major international company premiering a ceaselessly provocative, unexpectedly comic and altogether amazing work…just a few blocks from my home. This is the kind of thing you feel you can only travel huge distances to see. But there it is: New Haven should be talking about Phantom Palace-in a number of languages- for years to come.
New Haven Advocate.
Hearts of darkness: Boldly, Paredes’ ‘Phantom Palace’ illuminates the spirit world.
Almost a masterpiece, the world premiere of “Phantom Palace”, a chamber opera by Hilda Paredes based on a story by Isabel Allende, opened the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Thursday night with a wild excursion into the world of Latin American magic realism.
Paredes’ music, modern like Gyorgy Ligeti but denser, is palpable original and has wonderfully sideways and inverted texture.
New Haven Register
Social activism finds voice in opera.
Ghosts visited the stage of Yale University Theatre this month, native ghosts from distant past of an unnamed Latin American country ruled by a brutal dictator….
In setting the story, Paredes evidently sought to draw on the musical qualities
of the languages used to tell it, sometimes employing electronic means to manipulate
her sound material (the spirit voices are made to come from different parts
of the theatre), and sometimes using leitmotif textures (rather than themes)
to evoke dramatic situations.
As her tale is one of pain, she has produce music of pain, full of angularity, pointillism and dissonances, often pervaded by an aura of tension and mystery.