This aria is from an opera based on the screenplay to the movie The Fisher King. The story is a fantastical, urban update of the old Celtic myth and is about the redemption of loss and pain through simple acts of kindness.
In this part, Jack, having just lost his job and girlfriend, drunkenly wanders the street. A small boy tries to be kind and gives him his Pinnochio doll. Jack, singing to the doll, becomes increasingly bitter and attempts suicide.
After this aria he is rescued by Parry (aka Parsifal), and the story of their mutual salvation begins.
The percussion section is playing a junk set of found objects that roughly match the pitches of the lower instruments in the orchestra. The vocal part is quite free and is instructed to be sung freely and with the tone subservient to the bitterness of the mood.
Grady Cousins: Baritone
CalArts New Millennium Players
Conducted by Marc Lowenstein
Recorded live at the Getty Center