Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 2

Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.

The Tallis Scholars: Josquin's Missa Di dadi

‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.

A Venetian Double: English Touring Opera

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s fifteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.

Walter Braunfels : Orchestral Songs Vol 1

New from Oehms Classics, Walter Braunfels Orchestral Songs Vol 1. Luxury singers - Valentina Farcas, Klaus Florian Vogt and Michael Volle, with the Staatskapelle Weimar, conducted by Hansjörg Albrecht.

Lalo: Complete Songs

Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the Symphonie espagnole (which is, despite the title, a five-movement violin concerto), the Symphony in G Minor, and perhaps some movements from his ballet Namouna, a scintillating work that the young Debussy adored.

New from Opera Rara : Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe

Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara - Gounod La Colombe and Donizetti Le Duc d'Albe.

Félicien David: Herculanum

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.

Samuel Barber: Choral Music

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.

A Prize-Winning Rediscovery from 1840s Paris (and 1830s Egypt)

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.

Félicien David: Songs for voice and piano

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” with herself!).

John Taverner: Missa Corona spinea

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.

“Nessun Dorma — The Puccini Album”

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.

Honegger: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher

Marion Cotillard and Marc Soustrot bring the drama to the sweeping score of Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne dArc au bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc

Far in the Heavens — Choral Music of Stephen Paulus

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.

Review: You Promised Me Everything

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’.

Donizetti: Les Martyrs

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.

Green: Mélodies françaises sur des poèmes de Verlaine

Philippe Jaroussky lends poetry and poise to the sounds of nineteenth- and twentieth-century France

A worthy tribute for a vocal seductress of the ancient régime

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.

Schubert’s Winterreise by Matthias Goerne

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.

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

This elegant, smartly-paced film turns Gluck’s Orfeo into a Dostoevskian study of a guilt-wracked misanthrope, portrayed by American countertenor Bejun Mehta.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Victoria de los Angeles—Profile in Music
22 Apr 2006

Victoria de los Angeles—Profile in Music

For those without much time to read reviews, I can be extremely brief: hurry and buy this DVD. For all the others: the same advise though maybe they want to know the reasons for such a purchase.

Victoria de los Angeles—Profile in Music
Songs by Schubert, Brahms, Falla, Vives, Granados, Montsalvage, Nin, Mompou. Arias by Falla, Rossini, Wagner, Puccini.

Victoria de los Angeles, Gerald Moore, Patrick Harvey, Georges Prêtre, Felix Zanetti, Frederico Mompou

EMI Classics 0946 3 10203 9 1 [DVD]

$24.98  Click to buy

It takes half a minute watching this issue before one succumbs to the charm of the lady and the beauty of the voice. In the past, I’ve been somewhat immune towards some of her recordings, especially in repertoire where the voice is stretched and not very suitable, like in the heavier parts of Butterfly and that ill-advised Cavalleria where she is completely overwhelmed by Corelli. But the combination of looks and voice as here is to be seen is simply irresistible.

The concert starts with three popular lieder, Gerald Moore his virtuosic self as an accompanist. The voice is so warm, charming and exuberant that one forgets all carping. Her German is quite good, though not in the league of Schwarzkopf or Dieskau; but maybe that’s de los Angeles’ strength. One simply and immediately forgets that here is high Art with a capital "A" and realizes that Lieder can be performed just to enjoy them. Fifty years afterwards it strikes me (in her recordings as well) that de los Angeles is far more timeless and therefore more modern than her great German contemporaries, as she is not chewing on consonants or looking for hidden meanings. Of course, she is incomparable in Falla’s famous Jota and how she enjoys singing El retablo de Isabela by Vives. A song it is, but it could come straightforward out of one of the maestro’s magnificent zarzuelas like Dona Francisquita, Bohemios, Maruxa or La Generala.

The second part of this DVD consists of a BBC Profile in Music with opera arias and one song. De los Angeles starts out with Salud’s monologue from Vida breve and one almost shivers with emotion, knowing the sad fate that was awaiting the soprano herself only shortly afterwards. In Barbiere she is pure magic: the voice warm, playful and always with a smile in it. And the way she acts, it ought to be seen. This is a Rosina of one’s dreams. Maybe she is a little overparted in Tannhäuser, but it still is a treat to get Wagner sung in this almost lilting way. And as Cio Cio San she is heart breaking. The sets she is acting in are discreet but sufficient. One doesn’t see the orchestra and nevertheless wonders if the singing was done indirectly. Probably not as she has a lot of talking to do between arias; but then it only proves she was already highly proficient at synchronized lipping. A John Freeman is the conceited and very irritating interviewer throwing away opportunity after opportunity with his stupid questions e.g.: "whom do you like best to work with? Germans, Italians, English?" and a prime example of imbecility "are you interested in public affairs? in Spanish politics?" This at a time when Franco still had opponents during the civil war shot. De los Angeles stays calm, always smiling and laughing and speaking a rich American English with that beautiful speaking voice. With historical hindsight, we know that soon tragedy will unfold and the laughing Vicky (as she was lovingly called by her fans) will turn into herself, always friendly but aloof, never speaking her mind anymore. (Her husband cheated all the time on her while gambling away all her money and indebting her severely. She became pregnant again and her son suffered from diabetes. Her second son was born with the Down's syndrome. Though losing her voice, she had to perform into her seventies to survive. She could finally get a divorce but had to bury her eldest son. She died almost destitute.)

The third part of this DVD is devoted to a recital of well-known Spanish songs at Besançon. By 1967, the voice had thinned and the top was more problematic than ever but in this repertoire she can still sing with that rich middle voice and one hardly notices the decline. The bonus is a song recorded with the composer at the piano, filmed in fine colours. The picture quality is not perfect at first and when the camera has to move from medium to close there is some abruptness. But the quality soon improves (somewhat strange as it is the same kinescope) and, when we have reached Brahms, everything is as perfect as can be expected from those broadcasts. The sound, too, is perfect; and no admirer of vocal art can do without this issue.

Jan Neckers

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):