Opera

Beatrice Cenci

Berthold Goldschmidt Beatrice Cenci opera to a libretto by Martin Esslin based on The Cenci by Percy Shelley. Directed 2018 by Johannes Erath at the Bregenz Festival. Stars Christoph Pohl (Count Francesco Cenci), Dshamilja Kaiser (Lucrezia), Gal James (Beatrice), Christina Bock (Bernardo), Per Bach Nissen (Cardinal Camillo), Michael Laurenz (Orsino), Wolfgang Stefan Schwaiger (Marzio), Sébastien Soulès (Olimpio), and Peter Marsh (A Judge). Johannes Debus conducts the Wiener Symphoniker and the Prague Philharmonic Choir. Stage design by Katrin Connan; costume design by Katharina Tasch; lighting design by Bernd Purkrabek. Released 2019. Grade: NA

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Salome

Richard Strauss Salome opera to a libretto from Hedwig Lachmann's German translation of Oscar Wilde's play Salome. Directed 2019 by Romeo Castellucci at the Salzburg Festival. Stars John Daszak (Herodes), Anan Maria Chiuri (Herodias), Asmik Grigorian (Salome), Gábor Bretz (Jochanaan), Julian Prégardien (Narraboth), Christina Bock (A Page of Herodias), Matthäus Schmidlechner (First Jew), Mathias Frey (Second Jew), Kristofer Lundin (Third Jew), Joshua Whitener (Fourth Jew), David Steffens (Fifth Jew), Tilmann Rönnebeck (First Nazarene), Paweł Trojack (Second Nazarene), Thomas Bennett (Kappadozier/Participant of the Young Singers Project), Peter Kellner (First Soldier), and Dashon Burton (Second Soldier). Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker. Sets, costumes and lighting by Romeo Castellucci; choreography by Cindy Van Acker; artistic collaborator was Silvia Costa; dramaturgy by Piersandra Di Matteo. Released 2019. Grade: NA

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Rusalka

Dvořák Rusalka opera to libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil. Directed 2012 by Kristina Wuss at the Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Stars Magdalena Polkowska (Rusalka); Tadeusz Szlenkier (Prince); Jacek Greszta (Water Gnome); Darina Gapicz (Witch); Katarzyna Nowak-Stańczyk (Foreign Princess); Pavlo Tolstoy (Gamekeeper); Victoria Vatutina (Turnspit); and Krystyna Nowak, Marta Ustyniak, Ewa Banasiak, Mariola Winkler-Kołtyś, Lidia Golińska, and Dorota Sobczak (Wood-sprites). Maciej Figas conducts Orchestra and Choir of the Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz (Choir Master Henryk Wierzchoń). Set and costume design by Mariusz Napierała; choreography by Iwona Runowska; multimedia productions by Krystian Drywa; ilght design by Maciej Igielski. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. Grade: NA

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Ghosts

Ghosts ballet, based on the play Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen. Music composed by Nils Petter Molvær. Created and directed 2017 by Marit Moum Aune at the Oslo Opera House. Choreography by Cina Espejord. Stars Andreas Heise (Oswald/Captain Alving), Kristoffer Ask Haglund (Oswald as a child), Camilla Spidsøe (Mrs. Alving, Oswald’s Mother), Sonia Vinograd (Young Mrs. Alving), Ole Willy Falkhaugen (Pastor Manders), Philip Currell (Young Pastor Manders), Grete Sofie Borud Nybakken (Regine, a Maid), Erle Østraat (Young Regine), Yoshifumi Inao (Carpenter Engstrand), Nils Petter Molvær (Musician), and other dancers from The Norwegian National Ballet (Artistic Director Ingrid Lorentzen) and The Norwegian National Ballet School. Set design by Even Børsum; costume design by Ingrid Nylander; lighting design by Kristin Bredal; video projections by Odd Reinhart Nicolaysen; voice over by Håkon Ramstad. Directed for TV by Tommay Pascal; produced by Xavier Dubois. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler ballet. Choreographed and directed by Marit Moum Aune. Based on the play of the same name by Henrik Ibsen. Staged 2017 at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Stars Grete Sofie Borud Nybakken (Hedda Gabler) Silas Henriksen (Eilert Løvborg), Philip Currell (Jørgen Tesman), Eugenie Skilnand (Thea Elvsted), Shane Urton (Assessor Brack), Samantha Lynch (Tante Julie), Klara Mårtensson (Diana), Kristian Alm (General Gabler, Hedda’s father), Erle Østraat (Hedda Gabler as child), and Helle Flood (Thea Elvsted as child). Features dancers from The Norwegian National Ballet (Artistic Director Ingrid Lorentzen) and The Norwegian National Ballet School. Music composed by Nils Petter Molvær; set design by Even Børsum; costume design by Ingrid Nylander; lighting design by Kristin Bredal; assistant direction by Christoper Kettner; group choerography by Kaloyan Boyadjiev. Directed for video by Tommay Pascal; produced by Xavier Dubois. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Die Zauberflöte

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (the Magic Flute) opera to libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. Directed 2018 by Lydia Steier at the Salzburg Festival. Stars Matthias Goerne (Sarastro), Mauro Peter (Tamino), Albina Shagimuratova (The Queen of the Night), Christiane Karg (Pamina), Adam Plachetka (Papageno), Maria Nazarova (Papagena), Michael Porter (Monostatos), Klaus Maria Brandauer (Grandfather), Tareq Nazmi (The Speaker), and the Wiener Sängerknaben (Three Boys). Constantinos Carydis conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor (Chorus Master Ernst Raffelsberger). Stage design by Katharina Schlipf; costume design by Ursula Kudrna; lighting by Olaf Freese; directed for video by Michael Beyer. Disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Vanessa

Samuel Barber Vanessa opera to a libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti. Directed 2018 by Keith Warner at Glyndebourne. Stars Emma Bell (Vanessa), Virginie Verrez (Erika), Edgaras Montvidas (Anatol), Rosalind Plowright (The Old Baroness), Donnie Ray Albert (The Old Doctor), William Thomas (Nicholas), and Romanas Kudriašovas (Footman). Jakub Hrůša conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Leader Kevin Lin) and the Glyndebourne Chorus (Chorus Master Nicholas Jenkins). Design by Ashley Martin-Davis; lighting design by Mark Jonathan; movement direction by Michael Barry; projection design by Alex Uragallo. Directed for video by François Roussillon; produced by George Bruell. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Pique Dame

Tchaikovsky Pique Dame opera to a libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky. Directed 2018 by Hans Neuenfels at the Salzburg Festival. Stars Brandon Jovanovich (Hermann), Evgenia Muraveva (Lisa), Vladislav Sulimsky (Count Tomsky/Plutus), Igor Golovatenko (Prince Yeletsky), Hanna Schwarz (Countess), Alexander Kravets (Chekalinsky), Stanislav Trofimov (Surin), Gleb Peryazev (Narumov), Pavel Petrov (Chaplitsky), and Oksana Volkova (Polina/Daphnis). Mariss Jansons conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor (Chorus Master Ernst Raffelsberger), and the Salzburger Festspiele und Theater Kinderchor (Chorus Master Wolfgang Götz). Set design by Christian Schmidt; costume design by Reinhard von der Thannen; lighting design by Stefan Bolliger; video designs by Nicolas Humbert and Martin Otter. Directed for video by Tiziano Mancini. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Didone Abbandonata

Mercadante Didone Abbandonata opera to a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola. Directed 2018 by Jürgen Flimm at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, Austria. Stars Viktorija Miškūnaitė (Didone), Katrin Wundsam (Enea), Carlo Vincenzo Allemano (Jarba), Pietro Di Bianco (Osmida), Diego Godoy (Araspe), and Emilie Renard (Selene). Alessandro De Marchi conducts the Academia Montis Regalis. Features Chiara Cattani on fortepiano. Set design by Magdalena Gut; costume design by Kristina Bell; lighting design by Irene Selka; choreography by Tiziana Colombo. Directed for video by Götz Filenius. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Il Castello di Kenilworth

Donizetti Il Castello di Kenilworth opera to a libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola. Directed 2018 by Maria Pilar Pérez Aspa with assistant director Federico Bertolani at the Donizetti Opera Festival. Stars Jessica Pratt (Elisabetta), Carmela Remigio (Amelia), Xabier Anduaga (Leicester), Stefan Pop (Warney), Dario Russo (Lambourne), and Federica Vitali (Fanny). Ricardo Frizza conducts the Orchestra Donizetti Opera and the Coro Donizetti Opera (Chorus Master Fabio Tartari). Set design by Angelo Sara; costume design by Ursula Patzak with assistant costume designer Nika Campisi; lighting design by Fiammetta Baldiserri. Directed for video by Adriano Figari and Matteo Ricchetti. Sound recorded by Rino Trasi and Giuseppe Famularo. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Das Wunder der Heliane

Korngold Das Wunder der Heliane opera to a libretto by Hans Müller-Einigen. Directed 2018 by Christof Loy at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Stars Sara Jakubiak (Heliane), Brian Jagde (Der Fremde or the Stranger), Josef Wagner (Der Herrscher or the Ruler), Okka von der Damerau (Die Botin or the Messinger), Derek Welton (Der Pförtner or the Doorman), and Burkhard Ulrich (Der blinde Schwertrichter or the Chief Justice). Marc Albrecht conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Chorus Master Jeremy Bines). Set design by Johannes Leiacker; costume design by Barbara Droshin; directed for TV by Götz Filenius. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Agrippina

Handel Agrippina opera to a libretto by Vincenzo Grimani. Directed 2016 by Robert Carsen at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna. Stars Patricia Bardon (Agrippina), Jake Arditti (Nerone), Danielle de Niese (Poppea), Filippo Mineccia (Ottone), Mika Kares (Claudio), Damien Pass (Pallante), Tom Verney (Narciso), and Christoph Seidl (Lesbo). Thomas Hengelbrock conducts the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble. Set and costume design by Gideon Davey; lighting design by Robert Carsen and Peter van Praet; video design by Ian Galloway; dramaturgy by Ian Burton. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-

Agrippina was Handel’s first great opera hit, but it is not often produced now. All the characters existed in history, but this libretto is a completely fictional baroque tale of incessant intrigue and lust for power/satiation by all except for good girl Poppea and good guy Ottone. Robert Carsen’s take on this is a bright, clean, funny update with a wicked twist in the finale (not spoiled here). In this review, we focus on Carsen’s stagecraft and the brilliant images captured by François Roussillon.

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Iolanta and The Nutcracker

This title has a double bill of Tchaikovsky works, an opera and a ballet:

  1. Iolanta opera to a libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky. Stars Sonya Yoncheva (Iolanta), Arnold Rutkowski (Vaudémont), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (King René), Andrei Zhilikhovsky (Robert), Vito Priante (Ibn-Hakia), Elena Zaremba (Marta), Roman Shulakov (Alméric), Gennady Bezzubenkov (Bertrand), Anna Patalong (Brigitta), and Paola Gardina (Laura). Sung in Russian.

  2. The Nutcracker ballet to a libretto by Dmitri Tcherniakov. Choreography by Arthur Pita, Édouard Lock, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Stars Marion Barbeau (Marie), Stéphane Bullion (Vaudémont), Nicholas Paul (Drosselmeyer), Aurelien Houette (The Father), Alice Renavand (The Mother), Takeru Coste (Robert), and Caroline Bance (The Sister) supported by the Corps De Ballet de L’Opéra national de Paris.

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Attila

Verdi Atilla opera to a libretto by Temistocle Solera. Directed 2016 by Daniele Abbado at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Stars Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Attila), Simone Piazzola (Ezio), Maria José Siri (Odabella), Fabio Sartori (Foresto), Gianluca Floris (Uldino), and Antonio Di Matteo (Leone). Michele Mariotti conducts the Orquesta del Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Chorus Master Andrea Faidutti). Set and lighting design by Gianni Carluccio; costumes by Gianni Carluccio and Daniela Cernigliaro; choreography by Simone Bucci; assistant stage direction by Boris Stetka; assistant stage design by Sebastiana Di Gesù. Directed for TV by Arnalda Canali. Released 2019, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Don Carlo

Verdi Don Carlo opera to a libretto by Camille du Locle and Joseph Méry. Directed 2013 by Peter Stein at the Salzburg Festival. Stars Matti Salminen (Flilppo II), Jonas Kaufmann (Don Carlo), Thomas Hampson (Rodrigo/Marchese di Posa), Anja Harteros (Elisabetta di Valois), Ekaterina Semenchuk (La Principessa Eboli), Eric Halfvarson (Il Grande Inquisitore), Robert Lloyd (Un frate/Carlo V), Maria Celeng (Tebaldo), Kiandra Howarth (Una voce dal cielo), Benjamin Bernheim (Il Conte di Lerma/Un Araldo reale), Antonio di Matteo, Peter Kellner, Domen Križaj, Roberto Lorenzi, Iurii Samoilov, Christoph Seidl (Sei deputati fiamminghi), Oleg Savran (Un boscaiolo), and Anna-Eva Köck (La Contessa D’Aremberg). Antonio Pappano conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus (Chorus Master Jörn Hinnerk Andresen). Stage music by Members of the Angelika-Prokopp-Sommerakademie der Wiener Philharmoniker. Set design by Ferdinand Wögerbauer; costume design by Annamaria Heinreich; lighting design by Joachim Barth; choreography by Lia Tsolaki; directed for TV by Agnes Méth. Released 2014, disc has dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-

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