Known as the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music, BMOP/sound today announced the release of the charming family opera Tobias Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox. Led by conductor Gil Rose, Picker's setting of the beloved children's story by Roald Dahl is brought to life by the musicians of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), members of Odyssey Opera, the Boston Children's Chorus, and some of today's top vocalists including baritone John Brancy and mezzo-soprano Krista River.

Commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Opera in 1998, Picker's operatic adaptation of Mr. Fox establishes him as a composer whose appeal crosses all boundaries of age. "Fantastic Mr. Fox brings the characters of Dahl's novel to life in a way that enchants opera and music lovers of all ages," says Gil Rose, Artistic Director and Conductor of both BMOP and Odyssey Opera. Its 2014 co-production by BMOP and Odyssey Opera was hailed by WBUR Radio as "utterly delightful" and one of the "High Notes of Classical Music in 2014."

The tale concerns a battle of wits and wills between the clever Mr. Fox-on a mission to feed his family==and three mean and curmudgeonly farmers-Boggis, Bunce, and Bean-who want to kill the fox who's eating their chickens and drinking their cider. To outwit his enemies, Mr. Fox enlists help from his woodland friends including Mr. Porcupine, Miss Hedgehog, Rita the Rat, and more.

"The opera is full of symbolism, for those who want to find it," says Tobias Picker. "The underground world of the foxes is the unconscious natural world, and the above-ground world of the humans is cold and mechanistic. You could say there's a green message there."

Part slapstick humor, part action-packed romp, part chronicle of a loveable anti-hero, Mr. Fox moves at a cracking pace. Picker's complex score combines neo-classical Stravinsky, Eastern European stylings, tango, acting and singing into a cohesive theatrical production.

A renowned opera and symphony composer, Picker has adapted novels before but a children's story was a new project for him. Initially trained by a trio of American Modernists-Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, and Charles Wuorinen-Picker eventually embraced tonality and lyricism, traits that he effectively combines in his operas. The current Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera, Picker has been called "our finest composer for the Lyric Stage" (Wall Street Journal).

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