The world premiere recording of Shalimar the Clown has been released on Albany Records. The recording, made in 2016, features singers Sean Panikkar, Andriana Chuchman, Gregory Dahl, Katharine Goeldner, Thomas Hammons, Jenni Bank, Geoffrey Apgalo, Justin Austin, and Aubrey Allicock. Sitarist Arjun Verma and tabla Maestro Javad Butah compliment the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Jayce Ogren. It’s available at Albany Records, iTunes, Amazon , Spotify and all other major outlets.
Shalimar the Clown is based on the novel by Salman Rushdie, with a libretto by award winning New York playwright Rajiv Joseph. As with Mr. Rushdie’s book, the opera is part Hindu/Muslim Romeo and Juliet and part Himalayan Paradise Lost — a meditation on the personal as political, and an allegory of the danger of innocence. The Wall Street Journal called Shalimar the Clown “Haunting… topical, literary and theatrical..poignant and vivid.” The Chicago Tribune said the opera possessed “The dramatic resonance of modern Shakespearean tragedy”. The NY Times cited the opera’s “genuine out of the box composing”, and noted Ms.Chuchman’s “Intelligent, beguiling, bravura performance.”
The work was commissioned by Opera Theater of St. Louis with support from the Fred M. Saigh Endowment, the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, the Whitaker Foundation, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, The Berges Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Peter Henderson produced the recording for the PanGalactic company, Paul Hennerich engineered and Jack Perla served as Associate Producer.
“Sean Panikkar stands out above them all. This is truly his show… His pure, clear voice displays truly remarkable power. It shines like a beacon above the rest even when the entire cast are singing their hearts out. And his diction is superb. Shalimar is a tour de force role; Panikkar triumphs in it!”