…If your taste leans towards Austro-German late-Romantic music and you are, perhaps, also enjoying CPO’s superb on-going Weingartner series then this SACD is a must. It certainly deserves a top recommendation.
By Jacques Offenbach. Seeking to exorcise the failure of his current love affair, the poet Hoffmann tells the story of his three past loves - the doll-like Olympia, the high-class courtesan Giulietta, and the ambitious but delicate Antonia - and recalls how each was thwarted by the evil influence of his rival. In this production by the distinguished film director, John Schlesinger, with spectacular designs by Maria Björnson and William Dudley, Offenbach's nightmare world is brought to life. The all-star cast is headed by Placido Domingo as Hoffmann: his three loves are Ileana Cotrubas, Agnes Baltsa and Luciana Serra and the manifestations of his rival are sung by Geraint Evans, Robert Lloyd, Siegmund Nimsgern and Nicola Ghiuselev. The score, which includes such favorites as the "Barcarolle" and the "Doll's Song", is conducted by Georges Prêtre.
Christian Thielemann, “by common consent the leading Wagner conductor of our time” (Die Presse), returns to Bayreuth for this radiant account of Die Walküre filmed at the 2010 Festival. Appearing on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, it provides the only audio-visual document of Tankred Dorst’s Ring production, and follows the hugely successful release of the whole cycle on CD. Two new singers join the cast: Johan Botha as Siegmund, who was showered with praise by the press (“ideal vocal casting” in the words of the critic on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and Edith Haller, with her “beautiful, strong soprano voice” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) as his sister and lover Sieglinde.
In Richard Wagner’s 'Ring of the Nibelung', the first act of 'Die Walküre' takes up a special place. The love-triangle of the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde and the ominous Hunding stands out in the context of this tetralogy because it possesses its own dramatic tension and self-enclosed trajectory within what is otherwise such a complex, richly interconnected series of works. In musical terms it goes from one climax to the next, from the turbulent orchestral prelude through to Siegmund’s love song “Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond” and the passionate union of the sibling couple. At the most recent production at the Vienna State Opera, the twins were sung by Nina Stemme and – for the first time in the role – Johan Botha.