American composer Louis Karchin wrote his first opera Romulus in 1990 and it won the American Opera Association Chamber Opera Competition that year. He revised the piece in 2006 and it received its premiere at the Guggenheim Museum in 2007, a collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process, American Opera Projects, and the Washington Square Ensemble, the New York-based new music group that records it here. The opera is scored economically for a mixed ensemble of 11 players, with solo roles for soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass. The libretto is based on a play by Alexandre Dumas, père, in an English translation by Barnett Shaw. The story, set in 19th century Tyrol, involves a case of questionable paternity that results in the marriage of two characters who are finally able to admit their affection for each other. The composer leads a very capable and personable cast of singers and the polished, lively Washington Square Ensemble in this 2009 recording, part of Naxos' American Opera Classics series.
AllMusic Review by AMG Staff