Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.







Recently in Recordings

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.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail @ Hangar-7

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: Notturno

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 Sings Mahler Lieder

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.

Gergiev’s Das Rheingold

Das Rheingold launches what is perhaps the single most ambitious project in opera, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Hänsel und Gretel

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.

Magdalena Kožená: Love and Longing

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 Magdalena Kožená.

Once I was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon

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.

Amore e Tormento

Alfredo Kraus, one of the most astute artists in operatic history in terms of careful management of technique and vocal resources, once said in an interview that ‘you have to make a choice when you start to sing and decide whether you want to service the music, and be at the top of your art, or if you want to be a very popular tenor.’ 

Rivals—Arias for Farinelli & Co.

In generations past, an important singer’s first recording of Italian arias would almost invariably have included the music of Verdi. 



Antonio Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus
11 Sep 2007

VIVALDI: Dixit Dominus

In 2005 the Australian musicologist Janice Stockigt made the case that several works attributed to Baldassare Galuppi in the Saxon State and University Library (Dresden) were really the works of Antonio Vivaldi.

Antonio Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus

Körnerscher Sing-Verein Dresden, Dresdner Instrumental-Concert, Peter Kopp

DG 477 6145 [CD]

$13.99  Click to buy

This recording is the first to feature the newly re-claimed Dixit Dominus from this group of rescued works. “Rescued” may seem a strong word here; Galuppi in his day was without question a preeminent figure in the musical life of Venice, but in our own day he is a figure who must stand in the shadow of Vivaldi, whose canonical stature ensures that “new” works from his pen will enjoy a heightened degree of celebrity.

“Dixit Dominus,” one of the psalms at Vespers, here receives a large-scale setting not unlike the familiar “Gloria” of Vivaldi: short movements follow in succession in a variety of styles that include choral declamations superimposed on bustling, sequence-laden orchestral figuration, contrapuntal movements (rarely developed or complex, except in the final movement), duets featuring imitation and reliance on parallel thirds, and solo writing with melismatic floridity. The variety is an appealing one, though inevitably the whole will also feel somewhat fragmented and undeveloped. Filling out the recording here are three psalms by Galuppi, also from the Dresden library. Though from a later generation—the music is a bit less rollicking and has more “Classical” balance—the Venetian kinship is readily apparent and comprises a nicely cohesive program. Additionally, as all the works come from Dresden sources, the program also reminds of the long reach of the Italian style in the eighteenth century.

The performances are gratifying in many ways: Kopp’s direction offers a secure hand, commanding engagingly quick tempi from choir and soloist alike, taking obvious delight in the famous rhythmic life of the style. The choral agility at the end of the “Dixit” is particularly impressive, but no less so the solo command of often acrobatic challenges. Roberta Invernizzi emerges as the most distinguished of the soloists, and her “Gloria Patri” aria from Galuppi’s “Nisi Dominus” is the high point of the recording. Here her ornamental flair and technical control create a moment of welcome graciousness, all the more rich for its coupling with elegant solo violin playing from the ensemble.

Does the “Dixit Dominus” sound better as a work by Vivaldi than Galuppi? Doubtlessly the way we frame our works of art can powerfully influence the way we perceive them, and our eagerness to have a “new” work by a master composer will shape the way we hear “Dixit Dominus.” Heard as a rediscovered work, there is clearly much to celebrate, and this is a performance that ably sets the celebration on its way. Without the Vivaldi tag, there would still be much to savor, though I suspect we would do so with less ado.

Steven Plank

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):