to scratch an angel

Ari FrankelŐs all-new original chamber opera is inspired by the life, writings, and death of Primo Levi [1919-1987]. Frankel does not use any of Levi's writings; he channels impressions while exploring implications, through tonal and modal orchestral poetry. The opera's timeline and music morph techniques in search of truth, passion, and knowledge.

to scratch an angel looks at life, and at living without being alive. It explores emotions, actions, and consequences. "I write because I am a chemist," explained Levi. "Chemistry is a struggle with matter, a masterpiece of rationality, an existential parable. Chemistry teaches vigilance combined with reason." At his best, Primo Levi's palette was humankind and language. Those battlefields are where to scratch an angel's journey begins.

New York City Opera performed excerpts from the work as part of the Showcasing American Composers series, conducted by maestro George Manahan. American Opera Projects produced two full piano & voice readings of the powerful, tonal/modal work. Finally scored for soloists, choir, and chamber orchestra, Frankel is exploring production and recording interests in to scratch an angel premieres.

1st IMPRESSIONS | LIBRETTO [pdf] | MUSIC [mp3] | available MATERIALS | on Ari FRANKEL | on Primo LEVI

Levi Portrait

Primo Levi in his study, late 1986; Photo: Giansanti/Sygma

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page updated May 2009