Dame Kiri Janette Te Kanawa ONZ DBE AC (born 6 March 1944) is a New Zealand/Māori soprano who has had a highly successful international opera career since 1968. Acclaimed as one of the most beloved sopranos in both the United States and Britain she possesses a warm full lyric soprano voice, singing a wide array of works in multiple languages from the 17th to the 20th centuries. She is particularly associated with the works of Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, Handel and Puccini…
This BBC Proms concert, titled A Handel Celebration, commemorates the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death and the 30th anniversary of the founding of The Sixteen, which got its name from the fact that the original chorus had 16 members. The forces used here are a bit larger than those Harry Christophers usually employs. The mixed-voice chorus numbers 30, and the orchestra is listed at 42 members, although it does not appear that they are all onstage at the same time.
As other reviewers have noted previously, the sleeve notes for Apex discs don’t necessarily overload readers with information. This issue contains a detailed track-listing in English together with the libretto and a very short uncredited introduction to Messiah written in English, French and German. Sadly however, no details at all are given about any of the performers, despite the fact that the late Lord Menuhin apparently enjoyed a sustained association with both the orchestra and choir from 1990 until his death in 1998.
Paul McCreesh is one of the better-known figures in London's active early music scene, particularly as a conductor of small ensemble music of the Baroque. He grew up playing the cello. While at Manchester University, he formed a student chamber choir and ensemble of period instruments. In 1982 he organized it formally as the Gabrieli Consort and Players. .
The first complete recording of the Breitkopf Urtext Edition of the organ concertos of George Frideric Handel. Handel's organ concertos enjoy a wide popularity, they are brilliant concert pieces, in which the organ plays a joyous, "worldly" part. Christian Schmitt is one of the most promising young organists in Germany, having won several international competitions. A welcome debut on Brilliant Classics of the famous Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, who play with great clarity and lively articulation, under the baton of Nicol Matt.
The first collaboration ever between conductor William Christie and director Luc Bondy with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, this production of Hercules has been a major event. Hercules returns from the war with Iole, a princess he fell in love with. Mad with jealousy, Déjanire, his wife, ends up totally insane after poisoning her husband. Half theatrical performance, half secular oratorio, Hercules wasn’t originally meant to be performed in front of an audience. Luc Bondy chose to show the dramatis personae as ordinary people, victims of their passions. The superb Chorus of the Arts Florissants, both mediator and prosecutor, is the main witness of this tragedy of women’s jealousy.
Annika Treutler grew up in Detmold and is now based in Berlin. She studied with Prof. Matthias Kirschnereit at the Rostock College of Music and Drama and Prof. Bernd Goetzke at the Hanover College of Music, Drama and Media. The young artist won third prize at the Montreal International Piano Competition in 2014 and reached the semifinals of the ARD International Music Competition in Munich that year. Annika Treutler has appeared as a guest soloist with such orchestras as the Konzerthaus Orchestra of Berlin, the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. On this release, she presents beautiful solo piano works by Johannes Brahms.
According to Christopher Hogwood, in his marvelous biography of Handel, "In the winter of that year , Handel received what was for him an unusual commission. Although closely associated with the London theatre, he wrote very little incidental music for plays. A request from John Rich to provide airs and dances for Smollett's 'Alceste' was undertaken, according to Hawkins, in repayment of a debt to Rich."
With so many fine-to-great Messiah’s already available, who stands to benefit from this lackluster, hardly serviceable offering? William Boughton’s conducting is pedestrian at best–the performance lumbers along politely, ignoring every one of Handel’s many opportunities to soar. This is especially excruciating in the choruses: rarely have “And he shall purify”, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates”, and “Let all the angels of God worship him” not to mention “Hallelujah” advanced with such leaden, dispassionate propriety.