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

Janacek Katya Kabanova Mackerras Decca 4218522

Janáček: Káťa Kabanová (Decca)

An incandescent central performance heads an excellent ensemble cast under Mackerras’ renowned leadership [MP]


Ponchielli: La Gioconda (Pristine Audio)

No one who loves this opera can afford to be without this recording for Callas’ unique insight into the title role [GF]

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Rossini: L’italiana in Algeri (Decca)

A pleasing but hardly essential recording of Rossini’s opera, noteworthy for being the first recorded in stereo [MP]

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Britten: Albert Herring (Decca)

A touchstone recording which is hard to beat for its general excellence and superbly detailed sound [MP]

Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music (Albion Records)

This important historical document must be judged on its own terms [JF]

Gloire immortelle! Grandes oeuvres patriotiques (Château de Versailles)

A pleasant romp through the realm of French patriotic music and beyond [MP]

Ponchielli: La Gioconda (Decca)

Perhaps not the finest La Gioconda recording but a deeply satisfying one nonetheless [MP]

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Rossini: La donna del lago (C Major)

Rossini standards held high in a new production of The Lady of the Lake [PCG]

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Purcell: The Fairy Queen (Harmonia Mundi)

This 35-year-old recording is still a worthy competitor in a crowded field and the sound comes up as fresh as new paint [GF]

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Strauss: Die Ägyptische Helena (Decca)

Not ideal in every respect, this recording is a fine achievement nonetheless [MP]

Puccini Symphonic Suites Rizzi Signum SIGCD778

Puccini: Symphonic Suites (Signum Classics)

Newly edited Puccini operatic suites receive glowing performances [PCG]

Verdi Macbeth Schippers Decca 4834118

Verdi: Macbeth (Decca)

A recording of power and presence, but with some really disfiguring cuts to the music [MP]

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Cherubini: Medea (Pristine Audio)

Callas’ stereo studio Medea gets the Pristine XR treatment [PT]

Richard Strauss Wagner Daniel Behle Prospero PROSP0072

Daniel Behle (tenor) R Strauss & Wagner (Prospero)

An important album. One which may surprise those who admire this tenor’s Mozart recordings [MP]

donizetti lucia lammermoor pristine audio

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Pristine Audio)

On balance, still the best of Callas’ recordings of Lucia di Lammermoor [RMo]

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Bizet: Carmen (Warner Classics)

The most authentically French recording of Carmen from the stereo era [MP]

Donizetti: La fille du régiment (Decca)

Sign me up for this regiment: this recording is as good as it gets [MP]

Lully: Atys (Château de Versailles)

This will bring much pleasure to lovers of French Baroque [SG]

Paderewski: Manru (cpo)

A most welcome recording of a neglected opera [EJW]

Diana Damrau (soprano): Operette (Erato)

An interesting and unhackneyed programme of operetta arias, with a soprano who possibly divides opinion [PT]

RStrauss Ariadne Auf Naxos Sinopoli DG 4713232

R Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (Deutsche Grammophon)

A reminder of all the strengths of this cruelly-underrated conductor/composer. Certainly, this is a major addition to the Strauss discography [CC]

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Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (Decca)

This remains a powerful experience 49 years after its initial release [MP]

Sir Adrian Boult (conductor) Berg, Stravinsky & Vaughan Williams (SOMM Recordings)

A significant addition to the Boult discography [SG]

Verdi: I Lombardi alla prima crociata (BR Klassik)

An exciting, red-blooded performance, captured live in the clearest sound of any available version [MP]