Redesigned since it was first seen at the London Coliseum in 2011, Deborah Warner’s elegant and untricksy production of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical romance transferred last autumn to the Metropolitan Opera. Offering as it does a beautifully detailed and sensitively characterised reading of the piece, Chekhovian in atmosphere and period, it merits a warmer critical reception than it has received on either side of the Atlantic.
Claude D'Anna's film of Verdi's Macbeth is a gloomy affair, stressing the descent into madness of the principal villains. It's acted by the singers of the Decca recording of the opera (with two substitutions of actors standing in for singers) and the lip-synching is generally unobtrusive. The musical performance is superb, conducted by Riccardo Chailly with admirable fire, and sung by some of the leading lights of the opera stages of the 1980s.
Maria Szymanowska Piano Duo is formed by two pianist associated with the Academy of Music in Łódź. The guiding thought of the joint activity adopted by the artists is to promote Polish music and works of less known composers, whose pieces are gradually being forgotten. Polish music, to which the present CD including four hands piano music is dedicated, occupies a special place in their output.