Morton Feldman wanted Samuel Beckett to write something for him to set to music, and he pestered Beckett until he did. NEITHER is the result, a 50-minute work for soprano voice and orchestra. While it was commissioned and premiered by the Rome Opera (in 1977), it is not an opera - it has no story, no mise-en-scene, nothing but a singer and the orchestra. The text is 16 short lines expressing Beckett's (and Feldman's) existential view: "from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself by way of neither." The way it is sung, the words are incomprehensible -- for the most part the syllables are drawn out, sung in a monotone. The orchestral music will sound familiar to anyone who has heard Feldman's COPTIC LIGHT (1985) or FOR SAMUEL BECKETT (1990), both superb works in my opinion.
I have a confession to make. I have not heard the Col Legno live version of NEITHER. I have the first recording, from 1990, issued in 1998 on the hat[now]ART label. Sarah Leonard is the soprano, and Zoltan Pesko conducts the Frankfurt Radio-Symphony Orchestra. I am giving this more recent live recording 5 stars, but I don't know how it compares. What I can say, which you might not know otherwise, is that NEITHER is definitely worth hearing. I'm pretty sure the hat[now]ART version is still available, and Col Legno has produced many fine recordings of avant-garde music, so you can be confident that this one is no exception. Their more recent recording of Feldman's VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA in the Musica Viva live series, for instance, is outstanding (see my review).