Libretto adapted by John Adams from Shakespeare, Plutarch, and Virgil; libretto consultation by Elkhanah Pulitzer and Lucia Scheckner (E)
“richly evocative, and eminently singable”
“Adams’s sound world built to moments of thrilling intensity.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
“Adams’s score is a miraculous summation of the best of his work over the last 30-plus years. The syncopation, swirling winds, ominous brass, and sinister percussion are all characteristic.”
"finely wrought, fiercely expressive ... an unmistakable personal voice"
"The richer the language, the stronger Adams’s response ... The collision with Shakespeare appears to have been inevitable."
Wall Street Journal
“The orchestration is inventive and encyclopedic; the sprawling dramaturgy well-corralled; the text setting clear.”
"This opera delivers in spades."
“constant buzz of tense action … ever more inventive orchestral writing”
San Francisco Chronicle
“some of the most radiantly beautiful music in the composer’s catalog”
“theatrical grandeur blended with expressive intimacy in perfectly judged proportions”
“The music is rich, evocative and full of intricately crafted detail (Shakespeare’s famous invocation of Cleopatra’s “infinite variety” is too apt to resist applying here as well).”