Let's not waste time: get this for soprano Lucy Crowe's voice, for her performance of "What passion cannot Music raise", for her "The soft complaining flute"–and don't forget the glorious "But oh! What art can teach". Okay–just get this for the magnificent Crowe, whose golden, ringing tone and impeccable, uninhibited technique sets Handel's arias ablaze in vibrant, scintillating glory, relegating any recorded competition to second-class status. (Listen to that long-held, stratospheric note in the final chorus, on the words "The trumpet shall be heard on high"–on high, indeed; it seems like Crowe could have sustained it forever!) To sing Handel requires technical ease and comfort, range and unreserved explicatory ability–and in this, and in her complete habitation of the world of Handelian style Lucy Crowe is unsurpassed.
Giovanni Simone Mayr‘s „Medea in Corinto“ is „the most absolutely amazing opera discovery in decades“ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). A triumph for the Bavarian State Opera, the work was staged with a roster of top vocalists headed by Nadja Michael and Ramon Vargas in a production crafted by one of the leading directors of our time, Hans Neuenfels, and with a musical director in demand all over the world, Ivor Bolton. Born near Ingolstadt, Germany, in 1763, Mayr moved to Italy around 1787 and became one of the most important composers of Italian opera between Mozart and Rossini. He also taught many reputable composers, such as Donizetti. Written at the dawn of romanticism and the bel canto era, his main works unite stylistic characteristics of Viennese classicism with Italian melodic exuberance. „Medea in Corinto“ was premiered in Naples in 1813.
Glyndebournes Saul stole the summer and had critics raving. The Guardian (****) applauded virtuoso stagecraft from director Barrie Kosky in his debut production there, calling the show a theatrical and musical feast of energetic choruses, surreal choreography and gorgeous singing. For The Independent, which ranked it amongst five top classical and opera performances of 2015, there was no praise too high for the cast. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Ivor Bolton sparkles from the pit with period panache, and designer Katrin Lea Tags exuberant costumes (The Times ****) set the Old Testament story in Handels time, with a witty twinge of the contemporary.