Mozart's opera seria tells of the King of Crete who is saved from a terrible storm by promising the gods that he sacrifice the first person he meets when reaching land, only to be greeted by his beloved son Idamante. In this Salzburg staging under Sir Roger Norrington Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas sings the title role, with Czech mezzo Magdalena Kozena giving an acclaimed performance as Idamante. Salzburg favourite Anja Harteros is the jealous Elettra, with Ekaterina Siurina as Idamante's beloved Ilia.
Mezzo Magdalena Kožená returns with another early music adventure on Archiv Production after her highly acclaimed Vivaldi album: Kožená explores the early Italian Baroque music of Claudio Monteverdi with rewarding results. Inspired by the improvisational nature of much of this music, Kožená reveals yet another aspect of her musical personality with selections from L’incoronazione di Poppea, Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and more.
The new recording from Magdalena Kožená features deeply-felt interpretations of sacred songs from the Baroque to the 20th Century. In a rare recording collaboration, she is joined by virtuoso Christian Schmitt, in music for voice and organ from the sacred traditions of Germany, Austria, France and England, as well as her native Czechoslovakia. Of course, the album includes music by J.S. Bach – a composer with whom Magdalena Kožená has long been associated - with sacred aspects of German song represented by Hugo Wolf and Schubert.
Arthaus presents the Vienna State Opera’s outstandingly cast new production of Werther on DVD. The production was the Vienna State Opera debut for the young Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan - the Argentinian tenor Marcelo Álvarez, took the title role. Although he had already secured an international reputation through his performances in leading opera houses all over the world, this was his first appearance in the premiere of a production in Vienna. His Charlotte, on this occasion the young Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, joined the Vienna State Opera in 2003. Her performances have been enthusiastically received and she has already been labelled as the new mezzo wonder alongside Vesselina Kasarova and Magdalena Kožená. Staged by internationally sought-after Rumanian director, Andrei Serban, the apparently sentimental love story – normally presented in 18th century period costumes - reveals a study of personal relationships and a close observation of a woman, who comes of age too late. Serban’s aim was to rid the opera of the unjustifi ed reputation of banality that clings to it despite its underlying tragic mood. By setting the production in the stiff, claustrophobic atmosphere of a small town in the 1950s, he aimed to make the audience more aware of its deeper levels of self-denial. by Peter Pabst.