Paola Prestini

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paola Prestini Paola Prestini (Erika Harrsch)

Oceanic Voices: Fimmene

Performed by the Ensemble ACJW, Live at Zankel Hall (with permission from Carnegie Hall)

Oceanic Voices, originally commissioned by Carnegie Hall and recently performed by the New York City Opera on VOX, is an operatic tableau of rituals that pays homage to Italian folk music of different times and regions—from Genoa to Salento and Sardinia. With a nod to the great contemporary Italian singers Fabrizio D’Andre and Roberto Licci, the work aims to create a world music of the Mediterranean people, a tribute through Prestini’s musical lens. The libretto has been compiled by Prestini, and the story is derived from the texts of the chosen songs and intermittent poems from a variety of Italian writers through the ages, including Vittoria Colonna, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Dante Alighieri, and Aleardo Aleardi. Oceanic Verses is sung in a number of dialects, including Griko, Genoese, and Sardinian, coloring the work with a variety of ethnic influences.

Oceanic Voices: Anninnia

Performed by the Ensemble ACJW, Live at Zankel Hall (with permission from Carnegie Hall)

The characters in the opera include a Mother, a Queen, a Man, and a Sailor, all who passionately interrelate, recounting tales that fuse the personal, social, and political. The ocean surrounds and binds their stories, serving as a metaphor for the expanse that can both separate cultures while simultaneously connecting them. In this way, the ocean becomes a sonic and visual narrator, guiding listeners through a personal journey into a culture Prestini left at a young age.

This performance was recorded as part of a Professional Training Workshop at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.


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Comments [18]


Oceanic Voices is interesting.

Sep. 27 2010 08:36 PM
Fulvia from Hudson Valley, NY

I learned about Paola Prestini from my own students of Italian at Bard College. Kasja Sadej, Leona Carney, and all the other gifted sopranos in the MS Program in Vocal Arts were amazed at the talent and creativity of Paola Prestini. When I heard Oceanic Verses (Carnegie Hall and VOX), I understood why that music and those words can be so moving. I wish Paola were selected for Orpheus Proj 440.

Sep. 22 2010 09:53 AM
Amelia Ames from Jersey City

Paola's music sounds like nothing else, yet seems to come from the four corners of the earth. She's a force to be reckoned with, an inspiration, and I agree with Wendy that Orpheus would be fortunate to have a new piece by her.

Sep. 20 2010 11:43 AM

This music is very beautiful. I have absolutely no authority to critically analyze it, but when I put it on I feel better.

Keep up the great work!

Sep. 09 2010 05:40 AM
Katie Pawluk

Very Different from the other entries--very striking and beautiful!!

Sep. 07 2010 12:34 PM
Kevin Scott from Middletown, New York

As I continue to listen to these young composers, Ms. Prestini is definetly one who has collected all music of all eras, and embodied them into a unique and original world. It is striking, arresting and keeps your mind and ear attuned to what she has to say. If this is what she does for the voice, I want to hear what she does with an orchestra.

Aug. 06 2010 01:17 PM
Paola Prestini from San Francisco

Hello, this is Paola. Thanks for the comments. The singers are Leona Carney, Rie Miyake, and Kasia Sadej; wonderful singers from the Bard program.

Jul. 16 2010 08:12 PM

Who are the singers in this? There are no credits for the performers...

Jul. 16 2010 02:19 PM
Jill Steinberg from Philadelphia PA

I've been to both the Carnegie Hall and the NYC Opera VOX performances and was deeply moved by Paola's music. There were many teary eyes in the audience when they gave her a standing ovation at VOX. This is my number one choice to be included in the Orpheus Project 440.

Jul. 16 2010 10:19 AM
jon deak

Paola is a powerful force in new music and the cultural life of our time.
Her music is far-reaching and deep.
She'd represent Orpheus brilliantly, and truly deserves selection.

Jul. 13 2010 04:34 AM
Beth Morrison from New York

Paola's work is earthy and mystical, lush and extremely beautiful while being vibrant. Hers is a unique and true voice.

Jul. 12 2010 09:58 AM
Carla P Cota from Tucson, Arizona

The stirring in my soul, the song in my heart these are expression which are difficult to capitalize on but the music of composer Paola Prestini is a powerful representation of the human experience.

Jul. 06 2010 06:30 PM
Cornelius Dufallo from NYC

Paola is one of my favorite composers - a true original!

Jul. 03 2010 10:27 PM
Daniel Felsenfeld

I know, as one of the other nominated composers, I'm not supposed to root for my competition, but in this case I cannot help it. This piece is just wonderful--I've been in the house for several iterations (Carnegie Hall, VOX) and was moved in different ways both times. Tremendously touching and effective, emotional and spirited, and without an insincere note. By using all the tools composers are supposed to use (harmony, form, orchestration, pacing, mood, variety) Paola has made an endearing and completely unique confection. It just sounds like her.

Jun. 30 2010 10:51 PM
Wendy Law from NYC

Paola Prestini is one of my most favorite composers of all times. Her music in imaginative, lyrical, hauntingly beautiful, and extremely powerful. I am often moved to tears listening to her works! And I have had the great honor to play her piece "Oceano" for Solo Cello, and have worked with her extensively being part of her company Vision Into Art performing many of her works. Orpheus should be very honored to have the opportunity to perform her work. She most definitely deserves it. This piece is absolutely beautiful!

Jun. 25 2010 12:28 PM
Jeffrey Zeigler from San Francisco

Paola's music is extremely well crafted and unwaveringly beautiful. At a time when too many composers (several of which are on the nomination list) have decided to write quasi-indie rock minimalism simply because it is in vogue, Prestini has stayed true to her voice and is writing music that connects and is deeply personal.

Jun. 23 2010 03:37 PM
Polina Nazaykinskaya from Togliatti, Russia

This is amazing! I really love the deep feeling of folk roots in your music.
You should win.

Jun. 22 2010 03:03 PM
Alice Artzt from Princeton NJ

Most interesting and moving. Creates a lovely and exotic mood. I'd like to hear more from this composer. Reminds me a bit of the style of the chorus Les Voix Bulgares who made a very memorable recording a while ago.

Jun. 20 2010 12:02 AM

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