the beautiful final few minutes of Michael Nyman's opera 'Love Counts' with libretto by Michael Hastings.
The opera was the tenth release on MN Records, and the second opera recording for the label, Love Counts is a love story between the unlikeliest of couples: Avril, a lecturer in mathematics at a major college who has divorced a man who physically abused her, and Patsy, a middle-weight fighter at the end of his career who cannot read or recognise numbers.
Michael Nyman uses Riemenschneider's collection of 371 Bach chorale harmonisations to help Patsy find his voice – they are harmonically fragmented, sped up, slowed down, overlaid with themselves. Just as Dr P, the Alzheimer's suffering protagonist of Nyman's The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, has 'his' Schumann, so, in Love Counts, Patsy, a parallel sufferer, has 'his' Bach.
Award-winning writer Michael Hastings had previously worked with Nyman on the libretto for the opera Man and Boy: Dada, also available on MN Records.
Love Counts was commissioned by the Badisches Staatstheater, Karlesruhe, Germany and first performed there on 12th March 2005, directed by Robert Tannenbaum. This is a recording of the Almeida Theatre (London) production of Love Counts where it was performed in July 2006 by the Michael Nyman Band, bass baritone Andrew Slater and soprano Helen Williams, designed by Peter McKintosh and directed by Lindsay Posner.
The production received great critical-acclaim with four-star reviews from The Independent, The Times (London) and The Guardian.
'Via this intimate coupling of music and words, by turns witty and nostalgic, Nyman and Hastings reveal themselves to be sentimental old souls, intent on turning Raging Bull into Love Story'. The Observer
'Andrew Slater is wonderfully believable as the gravelly voiced, slow-witted Patsy, his swagger long beaten out of him, and is perfectly counterpointed by Helen Williams's vulnerable, compassionate Avril. Together they bring the opera to life quite marvellously.' The Guardian