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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 May 2007
Cesare Siepi: The Salzburg Recital of 1956; Arias from Norma, Faust, Don Carlo
For those who didn’t long ago purchased or exchanged this Salzburg recital via the pirate
connections, this is a fine opportunity to get maybe the best testimonial of this artist.
had a big voice that streamed along as the Mississippi but there is no denying that the delivery
could be a tiny bit monotonous, that the phrasing was not always very original. Maybe Siepi
belongs to that species in the artistic tribe that needs an audience to give the best of himself as he
did in this long and interesting recital. At the Met he sang several roles in German like
Gurnemanz and Don Pizarro. Therefore it won’t come as a surprise that he sings a few
well-known lieder from Schumann and Brahms. His German is acceptable, no more but still I
wonder what the composers would have thought of Siepi. I have an inkling they would wrinkle
their brows for just a moment and then they would sigh at the beauty of the sound and be happy
with the firmness of the line and hope that other belcanto singers would perform their music far
more often. In Ravel’s ‘Don Quichotte à Dulcinée’ Siepi is equally impressive — full of nuances
and proving he has splendid high almost baritonal notes.
The same can be said of his six opera arias though the accompanying piano is somewhat meager.
Here Siepi can be his own conductor, using more rubato than is usual in his official recordings.
As a result the phrasing is more original in Mefistofele and he shows some fine restrained
emotion in Jacopo Fiesco’s arias. Bongiovanni fills up this recital with live performances in
Norma (2), Faust (2) and Don Carlo. The firm doesn’t think it necessary to reveal the origin of
the sources for understandable reasons as these performances are in excellent sound and are
clearly taken from Metropolitan radio broadcasts. These renditions too reveal to us the best of the
singer: the velvety quality of the sound in the early fifties together with the power and the
nobility of the voice. Nowadays there is an incessant complaint about the lack of truly great
Italian tenors but this recitals reveals to us that not only in the high register there is a dearth of
outstanding voices. The great line of Italian basses that went on from De Angelis to Pasero to
Pinza ended with Siepi and we are the poorer for it. This record is proof.