Recently in Recordings
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.
Recorded at a live performance in 2012, this CD brings together an eclectic
selection of turn-of-the-century orchestral songs and affirms the extraordinary
versatility, musicianship and technical accomplishment of mezzo-soprano
Once I was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon features an assortment of
songs by Ricky Ian Gordon interpreted by soprano Stacey Tappan, a longtime
friend of the composer since their work on his opera Morning Star at
the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
29 Nov 2005
Michele Pertusi - Recital
Bass-baritone Michele Pertusi’s voice is captured in this recital disc after only two years of formal studies. Taking this into account one can forgive what he calls “imperfections: a few, slight musical errors, some invented or switched words, a Neapolitan pronunciation that is not quite perfect, an English one which could be improved on, a few marred notes.”
If the dates in the liner notes are correct, it is difficult to imagine the singer is only nineteen years old at the time of this recital. His voice is richly colored, expressive, secure, with a smooth tone, and he displays the bravura of a seasoned performer. It is, for sure, an ambitious recital but Pertusi is not intimidated by the music, nor the public for whom he is singing. The recital includes selections by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, and songs by Tosti, Denza, de Curtis, Tagliaferri, Porter and Rodgers. For an encore the young singer chose songs by Bixio, and Falvo. He also reprises two previous selections: Verdi’s cabaletta from Attila, “Oltre quel limite,” and Denza’s song, “Vien!”
Though Pertusi has a well deserved reputation for his interpretations of Mozart and Rossini, in this recital he is at his best singing the four Verdi Arias, and in some of the songs.
In Ernani’s “Infelice, e tuo credevi,” Pertusi exhibits some of the flaws he mentions in the above quote, however, his overall delivery is emotional, and he executes an unexpected trill at the end of the aria. Don Carlo’s Filippo is not a role for a young bass, however, Pertusi sings “Ella giammai m’amò” as though he were much older. The listener feels the character’s pain through the pathos imbued by young Pertusi into his singing, and he ends the aria with a beautiful diminuendo which he floats over the faint, last notes coming from the cello. In “O tu Palermo” from Vespri Siciliani Pertusi faithfully follows the different emotions of the aria, and once again he ends the aria floating the seemingly endless final notes. In Attila’s “Mentre gonfiarse l’anima...Oltre quel limite...” Pertusi easily displays the melancholy in the aria with his lush, rich voice, and the soaring, fiery melody in the cabaletta. There is a well deserved call for “Bis,” several “Bravos” and long applause at the end of this piece.
Luigi Denza’s song “Vieni” and Tagliaferri’s “Passione,” reminiscent of Leoncavallo’s “Vesti la giuba” are filled with pathos and emotion which Pertusi easily provides in his interpretation.
English speaking audiences will delight in the singer’s rendition of Porter’s “So in Love” from Kiss me Kate, and Rodgers’ “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific.
The Parma Opera Ensemble ably provides accompaniment to the singer, at times sounding much larger than its ten members. The Ensemble has a solo, the “Sinfonia” to Rossini’s La Cenerentola.
The liner notes include a brief commentary by the singer and a candid interview with him, conducted by Stefano Olcese.
This recording, released twenty years after Pertusi made his operatic debut, is not for those who are seeking the mature singer, but for those who want a window into the singer’s early career. A delightful performance, for sure, where all is forgiven in exchange of the excitement and pleasure the young Pertusi provides the audience and CD listener, alike.