Amilcare Ponchielli's sole operatic work La Gioconda made him a major figure in Italy. It was not just the title that made it such a success - 'La Gioconda' is the Italian term for the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting that is better known to the English-speaking world as 'Mona Lisa' - but rather its music and the poetic quality of Arrigo Boito's score. The production featured here was taken from a 1986 performance of the Vienna State Opera. Filippo Sanjust was responsible for production and set, Gerlinde Dill was in charge of choeography, whilst Adam Fischer conducted both choir and orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Internationally renowned stars Eva Marton and Placido Domingo, who play the leading roles in the performance, ensure an unforgettable operatic experience.
The oratorio "The Creation" is one of the highlights of Joseph Haydn's late oeuvre. The work, first performed in 1798, is considered the most successful work by the great composer and, at the same time, a prime example of the classical oratorio. The present recording of the creation dates from 1975. In the leading roles will sing the award-winning American soprano Helen Donath, the German tenor Adalbert Kraus and the Swiss bass baritone Kurt Widmer. They will be accompanied by the alto Vera Scherr as well as the Süddeutsche Madrigalchor and the Festival Orchestra Ludwigsburg, under the direction of Wolfgang Gönnenwein, the longtime artistic director of the festival (1972 to 2004).
Cecilia Bartoli recreates the 1828 triumph of the legendary Maria Malibran - original star and dedicatee of Halévy's "tragi-comedy", Clari. Tracing the love of a callow country-girl for a duplicitous Duke, this hugely entertaining and first-ever modern production of Clari proved the overwhelming hit of the Zurich Opera season. Zurich Opera's own period-instrument orchestra, La Scintilla, under Adam Fischer, contribute a thoroughly researched, stylistically and historically well-informed accompaniment, yet without neglecting the liveliness and spirit of Italian opera.
Brahms’ Piano Concertos present challenges to even the most seasoned performer, and so it is a testament to the confidence and abilities of the young French pianist, Adam Laloum, having recorded both works together for his Sony debut. Laloum is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including first prize for the Clara Haskil Piano Competition in 2009 and more recently the Victoire de la Musique Classique (Instrumental Soloist of the Year) in 2017. Adam says about the Second Concerto: “The Second Concerto to me contains […] fantasy, with an extraordinary sense of noblesse and maybe a different type of generosity: it is warmer and more human. Although it is an immense work, sometimes in it [Brahms] talks about simple things and even about humour – always with a lot of tenderness.