Rossini’s classic take on the “Cinderella” story is a comic opera full of thrilling arias, beautiful melodies and lots of laughs. The Metropolitan’s charming production was revived in 2009 for star mezzo, Elīna Garanča. The mezzo triumphs in the role and dispatches vocal fireworks throughout. She is joined by American tenor Lawrence Brownlee and a cast of bel canto singers.
Recorded live at a concert in the large hall of the Musikverein in Vienna in November 1991, this performance of Verdi’s dramatic Requiem is really commanding. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the chorus of the Vienna State Opera respond appropriately to Abbado’s exciting but not over-operatic handling of the work, and the recording is admirably clear. The soloists are a fine and well-matched quartet.
Decca, the opera company, presents a premium collection of the 100 most beautiful opera tracks on 6 CDs. Enjoy classic arias and overtures, performed by the greatest opera stars of all time. This is a fine compendium of opera's "greatest hits" by great singers including Pavarotti, Bartoli, Caballe, Horne and Sutherland from opera's latest "golden age" in the last decades of the 1900s. They're all there on six CDs, from Pavarotti's great "Nessun Dorma" to Sutherland's "Casta Diva."
Here's the complete concert that brought together four of the world's most exciting singers, performing beloved arias, duets, and quartets. Anna Netrebko and Ellna Garanca appear together for the first time on stage in this dazzling gala for a quartet of "superstars" (Badische Zeitung). "Bel canto at its most beautiful and most ravishing" (Badische Neueste Nachrichten).
Starring Angela Gheorghiu as the celebrated French actress Adriana Lecouvreur and Jonas Kaufmann as her lover Maurizio, Count of Saxony, Cilea’s verismo drama explores celebrity, romance, jealousy, and death. The trio of sublime voices is completed by Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina as Adriana’s jealous rival, the Princess de Bouillon. David McVicar’s hit production – the first performance of the opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for more than a century – presents the life of the French actress as a blurring of the distinction between fantasy and reality.
The RCOC is an independent operatic ensemble performing on period instruments, created by the conductor and musicologist Juan Bautista Otero and the stage producer Isidro Olmo. It focuses its activity on the rediscovery of the musical heritage related to Spain and the old Bolurbon kingdoms in Italy during the 18th century, specially concerning the music for the stage of the Neapolitan operatic masters as David Pérez, Domingo Terradellas, Domenico Scarlatti, Mariana Martínez or Martín y Soler as commissioned by the great castrato Farinelli. This is clearly a project close to Juan Bautista Otero's heart, and one that he has been associated with since 1998. No amount of hyperbole, from me or anyone else, will prepare you for just such a fine example of neglected repertoire.The singing is superb and the quality digipack presentation reflects the attention to detail that artist own-labels have brought to the classical market. (Gramophone Magazine)
Early music specialists are still working through the wealth of Handel operas that began coming more to light in the late 20th century. Flavio, Rè di Longobardi remains one of his more obscure works. Its musical variety and richness make it a piece that deserves more attention and this excellent recording in Chandos' series of Baroque operas featuring Christian Curnyn and Early Opera Company makes a strong case for it. The plot, like that of many of Handel's operas, is convoluted to the point of being indecipherable, but each of the characters is carefully drawn. These singers invest each one with an incisive dramatic distinctiveness, and their voices are different enough that here is never in doubt as to which characters are singing. Curnyn leads a superb cast in an elegant performance. Countertenors Tim Mead and Iestyn Davies have voices that aren't particularly large, but they sing with effortless-sounding agility and lyrical attention to long lines, and because Mead is an alto and Davies a mezzo their voices are always easy to distinguish. The women, soprano Rosemary Joshua, Renata Pokupic, and contralto Hilary Summers, are all stellar, with warm, large, sensuous voices that they deploy with shapely musicality and dramatic insight. (In a disorienting voicing decision, for one pair of lovers Handel writes the women's part for a contralto and the trousers male role for mezzo-soprano.) Tenor Thomas Walker and bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams are also compelling, almost but not quite in the same league. The Early Opera Company delivers a polished performance that conveys both the score's drama and its sometimes less than serious commentary on the characters' plights.(Stephen Eddins)