Carlos Kleiber's 1977 La Traviata is a rare gestalt among studio opera recordings, and it is one of the conductor's finer achievements. Kleiber knits the score together with unwavering rhythmic and dramatic intensity, never allowing any single moment to eclipse the larger scene or musical structure. The singers are kept on a tight leash – given enough room to shape phrases and cadences, but not to indulge in sheer vocal display. The orchestra is similarly focused on realizing every detail of rhythm, melody, and articulation with vivid intensity. As a result, favorite arias, duets, and ensembles melt into the surrounding scenes in a way that invites curiosity about the drama at large while propelling it relentlessly forward. The general pace may strike some as a bit fast, but it's never boring, and frequently brilliant.
Julian, a middle-aged single doctor, meets his childhood friend Pablo again. The latter is back from Africa and has just married a beautiful young blonde, Elena. Julian falls in love with her and tries to seduce her, but she mockingly pushes him away from her. He then finds that Ana, his nurse, bears a troubling resemblance to Elena. He decides to gradually transform Ana into Elena…
Sounds Of Space, the title of Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodriguez’ debut recording, evokes images of science fiction. In truth, it’s about a far more personal adventure. “It’s about the space that surrounds us,” he explains. “In this record I wanted to introduce myself: here are the people, the places and the sounds that have surrounded me, and made me who I am.” A key player in Rodriguez’ extraordinary story is producer Quincy Jones, who co-produced Sounds Of Space with Rodriguez.
The exceptional nature and high artistic quality of this performance justify publication of this video even though the filming was done only to preserve the performance for Teatro Regio's archives and therefore offers few close-up shots and occasionally unclear lighting.
The Metropolitan Opera performance of Lucia Di Lammermoor features Joan Sutherland in a triumphant return to the Met after a four year absence. Dame Joan gives a performance of astounding facility and musical sensitivity. Gaetano Donizetti's tragic masterpiece is based on Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Bride of Lammermoor, a brooding tale of love, murder, and vengeance set in seventeenth-century Scotland. Taped live in its entirety on November 13, 1982.
This production, by Andrei Serban with sets and costumes by Michael Yeargan, originally was conceived for the Welsh National Opera in a co-production with the Netherlands Opera, and it was premiered in Cardiff in 1982. It also appeared with great success at Covent Garden 10 years later. The present video is of a performance given at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, to which the production traveled in 2001 as part of the Bellini bicentennial celebration.
–Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com