That's New Yorker critic Alex Ross's description of John Adams's A Flowering Tree, heard in its world premiere run last November at the New Crowned Hope festival in Vienna. Other American critics reported as well that this new opera has some of the most beautiful music Adams has ever written.
Bay Area audiences can find out for themselves, as the composer himself conducts the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the American premiere performances. Jessica Rivera, Russell Thomas and Eric Owens are the soloists in a semi-staged version of the work directed by Peter Sellars, who did the full production in Vienna.
That complete staging will be presented this summer, August 10-12 at London's Barbican Centre with Adams conducting once again.