Opera

Reviews of full operas as well as collections and recitals of arias

puccini butterfly pristine

Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Pristine Audio)

A deeply touching Butterfly and a thrilling Pinkerton who are all the more striking in Pristine’s vivid remastering [RMo]

Rossini: Le Siège de Corinthe (C Major)

A fine cast of singers are thrown out to sea by a pointless, dismal production [MP]

Mozart: Mozart, You Drive me Crazy! (Alpha Classics)

Attractive in every respect to lovers of Mozart, or of opera in general [GF]

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Donizetti: Dalinda (Oehms Classics)

Good, honest, open-throated singing in an intriguing and highly enjoyable reconstruction of a formerly lost work – and a star performance by the lead soprano [RMo]

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Offenbach: La Belle Hélène (Regis)

Not for nothing has this Offenbach been counted among the five all-time great recordings of French opera [CH]

Thomas Quasthoff (bass- baritone) Evening Star (Deutsche Grammophon)

A cunningly devised programme ideally showcasing Quasthoff’s vocal versatility and dramatic gifts [RMo]

Wagner Meistersinger Oper Berlin Naxos 2.110766-67 DVD

Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Naxos)

Some good performances do little to redeem this drab, even absurd production of Meistersinger [LW]

Deja Review Janacek Makropulos Case Prague Supraphon 10835126122

Janáček: The Makropulos Case (Supraphon)

(Déjà Review) This has an unmistakably authentic feel about it, with acerbic Czech brass playing, the difficult language easily rolling off the tongue, and the conductor and cast obviously totally inside the piece. It deserves success [TH]

Opera Arias in Turin in 18th Century (cpo)

Charming but stylistically uniform arias from Turin in the later 18th century [CRo]

Schmidt Fredigundis ORF Vienna Orfeo C380012

Schmidt: Fredigundis (Orfeo)

The only recording of Schmidt’s second opera does full justice to an unjustly neglected work [EJW]

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Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana & Leoncavallo: I Pagliacci (Pristine Audio)

A pleasure to hear Björling in these excellent Pristine transfers, even if these two roles are not amongst his greatest [PT]

Mercadante: Orazi e Curiazi (Opera Rara)

The best of a composer forever doomed to dwell in Verdi’s shadow, performed by a first-rate cast and starring the great Nelly Miricioiu [RMo]

Donizetti: La favorite (Naxos)

Javier Camarena as Fernand is worth a listen, but the singing on the whole is too compromised for a general recommendation [GF]

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Strauss: Die schweigsame Frau (BR Klassik)

A lovely supplement to the complete live recording in much better sound [RMo]

Rossini: La Cenerentola (Warner Classics)

A welcome return to the catalogue of an excellent performance [RJF]

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Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice (Erato)

Thrilling Orfeo ed Euridice starring Jakub Józef Orliński [DF]

Deja Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Rostropovich Warner 3712342

Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Warner Classics)

(Déjà Review) A stunning recording – overcome your prejudice and buy it [RMK]

Mozart: Don Giovanni (Deutsche Grammophon)

(Déjà Review) This well sung performance in traditional sets and costumes will provide much enjoyment [RJF]

Wagner: Lohengrin (RCA)

There is much to savour in this 59 year-old set [MP]

Britten: The Turn of the Screw (Opus Arte)

(Déjà Review) James’ story in Britten’s setting emerges magnificently [CC]

Price choice ALC1482

Leontyne Price (soprano) Personal Choice (Alto)

One of the most glorious female voices of the 20th century, in a selection from famous recordings [EJW]

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Donizetti: Maria de Rudenz (Warner Fonit)

Coarse at times, but often exciting, as one would expect a bleeding nun to be [MP]

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Jacqueline Delman (soprano) More from my archives (Oak Grove)

A valuable documentation of Delman’s versatility, musically, repertoire-wise and linguistically [GF]

Bertin: Fausto (Bru Zane)

The first-ever Faust opera based on Goethe – and from a feminine perspective [PCG]