The Death of Don Juan CD Reviews


Performers: Elodie Lauten, vocals, keyboards, Trine (a custom-made lyre); Arthur Russell,cello, voclas; Peter Zummo, trombone, vocals; Bill Raynor, guitar; Randi Larowitz, soprano; Steven Sauber, spoken voice
Label: Unseen Worlds

This CD reissue of the original LP recording, including cover art by John Massey, original liner notes by John Schaefer and additional, recent liner notes by Kyle Gann, and performances by Arthur Russell and Peter Zummo marks Elodie Lauten's 27th release to-date. The Death of Don Juan, originally released in 1985 (with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts Opera/Musical Theater program) was on WNYC’s top ten recordings of that year. It was premiered as a live multimedia concert version at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 1987 with support from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts. In 1988, Kyle Gann who had seen it in Boston commented in The Village Voice it was “a cohesive and compelling major work”. Then it became largely forgotten and never received a New York premiere. However, in the past few years, Elodie Lauten’s The Death of Don Juan has generated renewed interest. It is currently listed in Wikipedia as “one of the major postminimalist works of the 1980s”. Alan Licht listed it as #3 on his Minimalist Top Ten, calling it “one of the great lost experimental records of the 80s” (

Comments on the Unseen Worlds CD reissue:

"...fascinating album."

"Compelling." Sequenza21

"Truly captivating from the outset, highly recommended!"

"A long-overlooked masterpiece of new music."

"Lauten was mining new areas of musical expression
that wouldn’t be fully discovered for decades to come."
Other Music

"A milestone."

"The welcome reissue of a long unavailable LP dating from 1985, The Death of Don Juan is an unusual opera that still captivates..."
Touching Extremes