Charles Mackerras, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beverly Sills - Donizetti: Roberto Devereux (2001)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Charles Mackerras, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beverly Sills - Donizetti: Roberto Devereux (2001)

Charles Mackerras, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beverly Sills - Donizetti: Roberto Devereux (2001)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 638 Mb | Total time: 65:55+69:50 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Westminster | # 471 224-2 | Recorded: 1969

Elizabeth I in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux was, Beverly Sills has said, the role that took 10 years off her career, and indeed, it’s a fearsome undertaking. The very long role is composed over a slightly larger than two-octave span, and there are forte passages at both ends, both in ensembles and alone, and the sheer number of notes the character has to get out is awe-inspiring. Emotionally, too, the part is ripping: The elderly Elizabeth, in love with the Earl of Essex, who in turn loves Sara, the Duchess of Nottingham (forget real English history), is a ferocious monarch, comfortable and powerful only when ruling, and in private, a shattered woman, filled with vulnerabilities. Sills’ voice was at its pristine best in 1969, when this was recorded, before she sang it on stage. She is in absolute control of every resource she ever had: accurate roulades, brutal chest tones, full-bodied high notes, the ability to express both rage and joy, an impeccable bel canto line, stupendous breath control.

John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Chor - Gluck: Alceste (2002)

Posted By: ArlegZ
John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Chor - Gluck: Alceste (2002)

John Eliot Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Chor - Gluck: Alceste (2002)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 607 Mb | Total time: 65:13+69:39 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Philips | # 470 293-2 | Recorded: 1999

Gardiner illuminates Alceste's subtle colors and inflections, assisted by von Otter, whose perceptive performance as Alceste is one of emotional sincerity and spot-on vocal accuracy.
Despite being a watershed between baroque and classical opera - and a major influence on Mozart, Berlioz and even Wagner -Gluck (1714-87) is still best known today for one opera. Orfeo ed Euridice might be a masterpiece but it's one that has tended to overshadow his other fine achievements.

Patrick Gallois, Kevin Mallon, Toronto Camerata - C.P.E. Bach: Flute Concertos (2002)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Patrick Gallois, Kevin Mallon, Toronto Camerata - C.P.E. Bach: Flute Concertos (2002)

Patrick Gallois, Kevin Mallon, Toronto Camerata - C.P.E. Bach: Flute Concertos (2002)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 569 Mb | Total time: 125:56 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Naxos | # 8.555715-16 | Recorded: 2002

The Flute Concertos of C.P.E. Bach are among the most dramatic and engrossing of this important composer's works. This Bach was a major influence on Haydn and Mozart, but the music is worth hearing in its own right, and the Concerto in A Minor, which opens this set, is one of the masterpieces of its era. Gallois and the Toronto Camerata use modern instruments, but their performances are permeated by the sensibility of Bach's era. They are clear and forceful, responding beautifully to the pre-romantic elements in the music, and Gallois even adds appropriate embellishments to his playing. The Concerto in D Minor may not be the composer's own arrangement for flute, but it sounds convincing enough. This is certainly the best set of C.P.E. Bach's Flute Concertos since the long-deleted Rampal set for CBS, and the performances are markedly superior to those on a recent Black Box CD.
-Leslie Gerber

James Levine, Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Die Zauberflote (2005)

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James Levine, Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Die Zauberflote (2005)

James Levine, Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (2005)
NTSC 4:3 (720x480) | Deutsch (LinearPCM, 2 ch) | 189 min | 4,24+7,00 Gb (DVD5+DVD9)
Classical | Label: TDK | Sub: English, Deutsch, Francais, Espanol, Italiano | Recorded: 1982

This production of Mozart’s Zauberflöte received enormous and unanimous approval, when it was premiered in Salzburg. The Theatre wizard Jean-Pierre Ponnellecreated a staging which became part and parcel of the festival programme for over nine years and soon acquired the status of a legend. Of course, none of that would have had the same appeal if it had not been in accord with Mozart’s music, performed with perfect blend of lightness and pathos, humour and profundity, by James Levine and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; nor would it all have worked without a truly Festival-worthy cast of singers: the Finnish bass Martti Talvela, who departed way too soon in 1989, in his famous role as Sarastro, the incomparable Edita Gruberová as “the best-ever Queen of the Night” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), the legendary Tamino Peter Schreier as well as the petite, lyrical soprano Ileana Cotrubas˛ as Pamina. Further, Christian Boesch, who sang the role of his life with Papageno, was credited most for his performance in this legendary Zauberflöte.

Riccardo Muti, Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Così fan tutte (2006)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Riccardo Muti, Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Così fan tutte (2006)

Riccardo Muti, Wiener Philharmoniker - Mozart: Così fan tutte (2006)
NTSC 4:3 (720x480) | Italiano (LinearPCM, 2 ch) | 188 min | 5,89+6,55 Gb (2xDVD9)
Classical | Label: TDK | Sub: English, Deutsch, Francais, Espanol, Italiano | Recorded: 1983

Così fan tutte is the third most-frequently performed work at the festival after Le nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte. This DVD provides a closer look at a classical staging from the Salzburg Festival in the series of important opera productions seen at the festival in the last decades. Riccardo Muti had made a sensational Salzburg début in 1971 and this Così fan tutte was his first Mozart opera at the festival. It was acclaimed by both the general public and international critics, who were virtually unanimous in their praise of the aesthetic quality of the production. Muti was praised for his authoritative approach to Mozart’s music, while the remarkably homogeneous team of international soloists was equally applauded. The singers form an admirably cohesive ensemble and all of them are outstanding Mozart singers. The production became a staple at the Salzburg Festival and hugely popular with audiences. Muti gives both the musicians and the audience time to appreciate Mozart’s music in all its beauty, formal mastery and, above all, in the endless variety of its depiction of human foibles. The Vienna Philharmonic’s playing is well sprung and relaxed, but always imbued with great intensity.

Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Bach: Geistliche Kantaten (11CD) (2008)

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Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig - Bach: Geistliche Kantaten (11CD) (2008)

Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum - Bach: Geistliche Kantaten (11CD) (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 3,03 Gb | Total time: 10h 55min | Scans included
Classical | Label: Berlin Classics | # 0184212BC | Recorded: 1975-1984

These performances are not, to be sure, historically informed, nor are they fashionably chamber-like. The Thomanerchor is traditionally large (and all male), and it is accompanied in four of the 11 discs by the Gewandhaus Orchestra and in the remaining seven by the Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum. The roster of the latter is not listed, but, like the Gewandhaus Orchestra, its players use modern instruments and are not adverse to vibrato. On the other hand, Rotzsch does avoid, for the most part, languid tempos and extravagant gestures. The young men of the Thomanerchor are well trained and attentive and make, collectively, a joyfully controlled noise. The orchestral players and instrumental soloists, too, are beyond reproach. Similarly, Rotzsch’s soloists are top-drawer. Among the latter, Arleen Augér, Otrun Wenkel, Peter Schreier, and Hermann Christian Polster make the most frequent appearances, but the others, including the likes of Regina Werner, Doris Soffel, Theo Adam, and Siegfried Lorenz, are splendid as well. Rotzsch, himself, sings on two of the discs (he is a tenor).
–George Chien

Horst-Tanu Margraf, Handel-Festspielorchester Halle - Handel: Poros (1998)

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Horst-Tanu Margraf, Handel-Festspielorchester Halle - Handel: Poros (1998)

Horst-Tanu Margraf, Händel-Festspielorchester Halle - Händel: Poros (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 842 Mb | Total time: 52:00+56:00+48:00 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Berlin Classics | # 0093742BC | Recorded: 1958

Poro, re dell'Indie ("Porus, King of the Pakistani region", HWV 28) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. The Italian-language libretto was adapted from Alessandro nell'Indie by Metastasio, and based on Alexander the Great's encounter with King Porus in 326 BC. The libretto had already been set to music by Leonardo Vinci in 1729 and by Antonio Vivaldi among others and was used as the text for more than sixty operas throughout the 18th century.
The opera was first given at the King's Theatre in London on 2 February 1731 and on 15 further occasions. A run of 16 performances was a mark of success for the time as is the fact that the work was revived on 23 December 1731, and again in a revised form on 8 December 1736. It was also given in Hamburg and Brunswick.

Christian Curnyn, Early Opera Company - Handel: Serse (2013)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Christian Curnyn, Early Opera Company - Handel: Serse (2013)

Christian Curnyn, Early Opera Company - Handel: Serse (2013)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 722 Mb | Total time: 66:46+60:16+39:27 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Chandos | # CHAN 0797(3) | Recorded: 2012

The opera is based on a libretto adapted by the poet Silvio Stampiglia for Giovanni Bononcini, whose setting was staged at Rome’s Teatro di Torre Nona in 1694. Handel completed his opera in 1738 in little more than a month. However, his typically swift pace and resourceful treatment of musical themes and models should not be misconstrued as complacency, carelessness, or low imaginative powers. The autograph manuscript reveals that Handel invested considerable skill in arias that are perfectly tailored to the dramatic storyline, many of which were meticulously crafted and then redrafted.

David Daniels, John Nelson, Ensemble Orchestre de Paris - Handel: Oratorio Arias (2002)

Posted By: ArlegZ
David Daniels, John Nelson, Ensemble Orchestre de Paris - Handel: Oratorio Arias (2002)

David Daniels, John Nelson, Ensemble Orchestre de Paris - Handel: Oratorio Arias (2002)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 293 Mb | Total time: 67:23 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin | # 5 45497 2 | Recorded: 2000

This is a beautiful selection of arias from Handel’s oratorios composed in the latish 1740s. Each one is a gem and David Daniels again proves himself the leading “operatic” countertenor of our day. He possesses one of the few countertenor voices that might be called “sensual”, not to mention one of the few with any respectable volume. He even puts pressure on it occasionally–as opposed, say, to Drew Minter or Alfred Deller, who aim (aimed) for a diaphonous sound.
–Robert Levine

David Daniels, Harry Bicket, The English Concert Bach: Sacred Arias and Cantatas (2008)

Posted By: ArlegZ
David Daniels, Harry Bicket, The English Concert Bach: Sacred Arias and Cantatas (2008)

David Daniels, Harry Bicket, The English Concert Bach: Sacred Arias and Cantatas (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 452 Mb | Total time: 66:48 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin | # 50999 519037 2 | Recorded: 2007

It has been a several years since David Daniels’ last recital for Virgin Classics – in 2004 the renowned countertenor explored Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’Eté - and his most recent recital of Baroque works, the critically acclaimed Oratorio Arias by Handel, dates back to 2002.
For this new release, Daniels returns to sacred works of the Baroque era with this programme of sacred arias and cantatas by Bach. He lends his beautiful countertenor voice and immense musicianship to this programme of famous cantatas, namely “Ich habe genug”, and arias from Bach’s Mass in B minor and the Saint Matthew’s and Saint John’s Passions. The programme was recorded in London in September 2007.

Wolfgang Katschner, Lautten Compagney Berlin - Galuppi: La Diavolessa (2004)

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Wolfgang Katschner, Lautten Compagney Berlin - Galuppi: La Diavolessa (2004)

Wolfgang Katschner, Lautten Compagney Berlin - Galuppi: La Diavolessa (2004)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 642 Mb | Total time: 61:53+63:18 | Scans included
Classical | Label: CPO | # 999 947-2 | Recorded: 2003

La diavolessa dates some way into the Galuppi/Goldoni canon, being the 13th of their joint ventures. It was first given during November 1755 at Teatro San Samuele in Venice, and like many of Galuppi’s operas soon traveled beyond the confines of Italy, being taken up in Leipzig and Prague in the year following its Venetian premiere. The motivational force of the plot is greed, but Goldoni also has some pertinent observations on social status to make. The action centers round the Naples home of Don Poppone, a wealthy fool obsessed by the belief that there is hidden treasure in his cellar. Two couples arrive at his house: by invitation, a socially conscious Roman count and countess; and Dorina and Giannino, a pair of young lovers whose relationship is foundering for lack of money, sent by Falco, a wily Neapolitan innkeeper, who has told Poppone that the young couple will help him “recover” his treasure. Needless to say, Poppone confuses the identity of the two couples when they arrive, and only after the plan to relieve him of his money is revealed are the ensuing twists and turns of the plot ultimately resolved to the satisfaction of all.

Eduardo Lopez Banzo, Al Ayre Espanol Orquestra - Handel: Amadigi di Gaula (2008)

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Eduardo Lopez Banzo, Al Ayre Espanol Orquestra - Handel: Amadigi di Gaula (2008)

Eduardo López Banzo, Al Ayre Español Orquestra - Handel: Amadigi di Gaula (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 852 Mb | Total time: 79:57+78:18 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Ambroisie | # AM 133 | Recorded: 2006

Amadigi di Gaula had its premiere in London in 1715. Its libretto, based on a medieval legend and encompassing such effects as a magically appearing sorceress, reflects the then-fashionable English taste for spectacle in operatic production. Musically, however, the opera is of chamber dimensions, involving just five soloists, and takes in some emotionally intimate moments. In this backward-looking piece – it even ends with a brief ballet – Handel doesn't attempt any structural innovations: the arias and duets are cast firmly in the tripartite da capo format. Still, he finds room for the occasional imaginative touch, as when he uses French-overture gestures in a few of the ritornelli to suggest tragic breadth, or has the two voices in a hitherto contrapuntal duet launch the "B" section in straight thirds.

Philippe Pierlot, Carlos Mena, Ricercar Consort - Vivaldi: Stabat Mater (2004)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Philippe Pierlot, Carlos Mena, Ricercar Consort - Vivaldi: Stabat Mater (2004)

Philippe Pierlot, Carlos Mena, Ricercar Consort - Vivaldi: Stabat Mater (2004)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 331 Mb | Total time: 70:35 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Mirare | # MIR 9968 | Recorded: 2003

Spanish countertenor Carlos Mena is not one of those who evoke the powerful castrati who might have sung these sacred arias in Vivaldi's day; his voice is smooth and precise, with a tendency toward emotional restraint. This isn't blood-and-guts Vivaldi, but it's quite lovely. Even the final Nisi dominus, RV 608, with its virtuoso arias and sharp contrasts, is kept under control at all times rather than being treated as a set of operatic numbers. Mena is technically flawless in this work (listen to the rather chilling long notes in the "Cum dederit dilectis," track 22), which stands somewhat apart from the rest of the program – the intent is to close the proceedings with a burst of energy after two sad pieces that offer refined tragedy in Mena's readings.

John Nelson, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Bach Choir - Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed Il Moderato (2000)

Posted By: ArlegZ
John Nelson, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Bach Choir - Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed Il Moderato (2000)

John Nelson, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Bach Choir - Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed Il Moderato (2000)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 614 Mb | Total time: 50:00+63:14 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin | # 5 45417 2 8 2 | Recorded: 1999

One of the best ideas Handel and his colleagues ever had was to make an oratorio out of John Milton's verse–specifically, of Milton's "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso" ("The Happy Man" and "The Pensive Man"), with the libretto cutting back and forth between the two poems to make a sort of dialogue, and with an added conclusion titled "Il Moderato" ("The Moderate Man"). The resulting work has never been as famous as Messiah, but it has always been a special favorite of Handel lovers. The King's Consort made a fine recording of L'Allegro in 1999; the selling point of the present version (which appeared almost exactly one year later) is the cast of soloists, which includes soprano Lynne Dawson and countertenor David Daniels, both genuine Baroque superstars, and tenor Ian Bostridge, current king of the art song. All three are very good indeed (as is bass Alastair Miles), with Bostridge in particularly fine form. You wouldn't think anyone could outdo the King's Consort's extraordinary Paul Agnew, but Bostridge does: every vocal color is apt, every word is completely clear. Interestingly, the aria everyone looks forward to, "Sweet Bird," goes not to Dawson but to her younger colleague Christine Brandes. The coloratura holds no problems for Brandes, though she sounds as if she's having to work harder than does Lorna Anderson for the King's Consort (to say nothing of the divine Miss Emma).

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Handel: Scipione (2010)

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Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Handel: Scipione (2010)

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Handel: Scipione (2010)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 927 Mb | Total time: 61:54+49:16+60:09 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Aparte | # AP005 | Recorded: 1993

This welcome mid-priced reissue of Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques 1994 Fnac Music recording of Handel s Scipione features a cast of stellar singers. Their scintillating performance was universally praised upon its initial release, and this version remains the only available recording. Scipione is an opera in three acts based on a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli, composed for the Royal Academy of Music in 1726. It was based upon the life of Roman General Scipio Africanus. Handel revived the opera in 1730, but it did not receive another production until 1967. Christophe Rousset and his band play gorgeously and with great energy.
–Classics Today