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Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara -
Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.
It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered
and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has
happened, unexpectedly, with Herculanum, a four-act grand opera by
Félicien David, which in 2014 was recorded for the first time.
This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.
Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.
This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the
most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100
songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable
artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan
Sutherland (the last-mentioned singing the duet “Les Hirondelles”
This new release of John Taverner’s virtuosic and florid Missa
Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The
Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s
Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, which topped the UK Specialist Classical
Album Chart for 6 weeks, and with which the ensemble celebrated their
40th anniversary. The recording also includes Taverner’s two
settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.
Sounds swirl with an urgent emotionality and meandering virtuosity on Jonas Kaufmann’s new Puccini album—the “real one”, according
to Kaufmann, whose works were also released earlier this year on Decca records, allegedly without his approval.
Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au
bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc
Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.
Richard Taruskin entitled his 1988 polemical critique of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in the context of historically informed performance, ‘The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past’.
As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world.
Philippe Jaroussky lends poetry and poise to the sounds of nineteenth- and
Carolyn Sampson has long avoided the harsh glare of stardom but become a favourite singer for “those in the know” — and if you are not one of those it is about time you were.
This Winterreise is the final instalment of Matthias Goerne’s series of Schubert lieder for Harmonia Mundi and it brings the Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, begun in 2008, to a dark, harrowing close.
This elegant, smartly-paced film turns Gluck’s Orfeo into a Dostoevskian study of a guilt-wracked misanthrope, portrayed by American countertenor Bejun Mehta.
We see the characters first in two boxes at an opera house. The five singers share a box and stare at the stage. But Konstanze’s eye is caught by a man in a box opposite: Bassa Selim (actor Tobias Moretti), who stares steadily at her and broods in voiceover at having lost her, his inspiration.
Richard Strauss may be most closely associated with the soprano voice but
this recording of a selection of the composer’s lieder by baritone Thomas
Hampson is a welcome reminder that the rapt lyricism of Strauss’s settings
can be rendered with equal beauty and character by the low male voice.
Bernarda Fink’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Lieder is an important new release that includes outstanding performances of the composer’s well-known songs, along with compelling readings of some less-familiar ones.
Das Rheingold launches what is perhaps the single most ambitious project in opera, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.
This live performance of Laurent Pelly’s Glyndebourne staging of
Humperdinck’s affectionately regarded fairy tale opera, was recorded at
Glyndebourne Opera House in July and August 2010, and the handsomely produced
disc set — the discs are presented in a hard-backed, glossy-leaved book and
supplemented by numerous production photographs and an informative article by
Julian Johnson — is certainly stylish and unquestionably recommendable.
03 Apr 2005
Caballe: Beyond Music
Monserratt Caballé’s journey to La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera was truly a road of talent, dedication, and will. One of the most beautiful and athletic voices of our generation, declared as Callas’ successor, Caballé dominated both the dramatic spinto and bel canto arenas, transcending the realm of the opera world to influence the popular masses.
Caballe: Beyond Music
TDK DV-DOCMSC [DVD]
Monserratt Caballé's journey to La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera was truly a road of talent, dedication, and will. One of the most beautiful and athletic voices of our generation, declared as Callas' successor, Caballé dominated both the dramatic spinto and bel canto arenas, transcending the realm of the opera world to influence the popular masses.
EuroArts' DVD documentary Caballé: Beyond Music follows Caballé along the singer's path to success. Opening with Caballé entering her childhood conservatory of Barcelona, we witness the very roots that have supported her throughout her career. She talks warmly about memories of her teacher, the endless hours of practice and study, and those rare moments sneaking into the concert hall to sing. Her story is that of Cinderella; growing up in a poor family during post World War II, her family could no longer support her studies until the Betrand family, a wealthy Barcelona family influential in the arts, came to provide for her. On a whim, the family had Caballé sing for Conchita Bodia, a famous Lied singer and prized student of Granados. Bodia became her mentor and teacher, instilling in her a love for the songs of Strauss.
We follow Caballé as she recounts her first audition tour at the age of 23. Though told to go home and have children, Caballé found the strength in her to continue and secure a place in the opera house of Bremin, Germany. There she developed her prize roles of Mimí, Butterfly, and Violetta, and a firm foundation as a house lead singer. Her overnight success is attributed to a quick cover for a pregnant Marilyn Horne singing Lucrezia Borgia at the Met. From there, Caballé moves on to Covent Garden, singing Zeffirelli's Tosca, Norma at Paris Opera, and Semiramade at the Festival Aix-en-Provence.
This documentary delivers video footage of scenes from Adriana Lecouvreur, Tosca, Norma, and a duet with Marilyn Horne from Semiramade. We also hear from established artists and close friends of Caballé, including Claudio Abbado, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Zubin Mehta, Freddie Mercury, Mstislav Rostopovich, Cheryl Studer, Giuseppe di Stefano and Joan Sutherland. EuroArts also includes footage of live concerts with her daughter, soprano Montserrat Marti, as well as a performance with Freddy Mercury at the opening of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
It is clear that Caballé was truly one of the top performers of our time. She says, "When a singer truly feels and experiences what the music is all about, the words will automatically ring true." With a voice of angel, executing a pure, spinning piano at the top of her range with endless phrasing, she always aimed to be of service to the composer. Yet, EuroArts is able to take us beyond the performance to find the warm and endearing woman that is Caballé.