Naxos

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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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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La Fresque

La Fresque (The Fresco) dance production based on a traditional Chinese folk tale. Music by Nicolas Godin with the collaboration of Vincent Taurelle. Choreographed and directed 2017 by Angelin Preljocaj at the Théâtre de la Criée, Marseille, France. Stars Clara Freschel, Nuriya Nagimova, Nagisa Shirai, Anna Tatarova, Yurié Tsugawa, Sergi Amoros Aparicio, Marius Delcourt, Antoine Dubois, Jean-Charles Jousni, and Fran Sanchez from Ballet Preljocaj with Mirea Delogu, Victor Martivez Caliz and Simon Ripert. Set designs and videos by Constance Guisset Studio; costumes by Azzedine Alaïa; lighting design by Éric Soyer. Directed for TV by François-René Martin. Produced by Antoine Perset and Denis Molière. Released 2019, disc has PCM stereo sound. Grade: NA

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Le Corsaire

Le Corsaire ballet. Choreographed by Manuel Legris to a libretto by Manuel Legris and Jean-François Vazelle. Music by Adolphe Adam. Staged 2016 at the Wiener Staatsoper. Stars Robert Gabdullin (Conrad), Maria Yakovleva (Médora), Liudmila Konovalova (Gulnare), Kirill Kourlaev (Lanquedem), Davide Dato (Birbanto), Alice Firenze (Zulméa), Mihail Sosnovschi (Seyd Pasha), Natascha Mair, Nina Tonoli and Prisca Zeisel (Odalisques) as well as dancers from the Wiener Staatsballet and the Balletakademie der Wiener Staatsoper. Valery Ovsianikov conducts the Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper. Set and costume design by Luisa Spinatelli; lighting design by Marion Hewlett; choreographic assistance by Albert Mirzoyan. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Released 2019, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A

The show opens with our bodacious boatload of buccaneers beating across the boisterous billows boldly breaching beaches boasting beautiful bimbos. Wherever these pirates venture, wild adventures await:

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Der Freischütz

Carl Maria von Weber Der Freischütz opera to libretto by Friedrich Kind. Directed 2017 by Matthias Hartmann at the Teatro alla Scala. Stars Michael Kraus (Ottokar), Frank van Hove (Kuno/Samiel’s Voice), Julia Kleiter (Agathe), Eva Liebau (Ännchen), Günther Groissböck (Kaspar), Michael König (Max), Stephen Milling (A Hermit), and Till von Orlowsky (Kilian). Myung-Whun Chung conducts the Coro e orchestra del Teatro alla Scala (Chorus Master Bruno Casoni). Set design by Raimund Orfeo Voigt; costume design by Susanne Bisovsky and Josef Gerger; lighting design by Marco Filibeck; dramaturgy by Michael Küster. Released 2019, music was recorded with 48kHz/24-bit sound sampling and disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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I Puritani

Bellini I Puritani opera to libretto by Carlo Pepoli. Directed 2018 by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito at the Staatsoper Stuttgart. Stars Roland Bracht (Lord Gualtiero Valton), Adam Palka (Sir Giorgio Valton), Ana Durlovski (Elvira), Réne Barbera (Lord Arturo Talbo), Gezim Myshketa (Sir Riccardo Forth), and Heinz Göhrig (Sir Bruno Robertson). Manlio Benzi conducts the Staatsorchester Stuttgart and the Staatsopernchor Stuttgart (Chorus Master Christoph Heil). Dramaturgy by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito; set and costume design by Anna Viebrock; lighting design by Reinhard Traub; video direction by Marcus Richardt. Released 2019, disc has 5.0 dts HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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L'Étoile

Emmanuel Chabrier L’Étoile opera to libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo. Directed 2014 by Laurent Pelly at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Stars Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Lazuli), Christophe Mortagne (Le Roi Ouf I), Hélène Guilmette (La Princesse Laoula), Jérôme Varnier (Siroco), Elliot Madore (Hérisson de Porc-Épic), Julie Boulianne (Aloès), François Piolino (Tapioca), François Soons (Patacha), Harry Teeuwen (Zalzal), Jeroen van Glabbeek (Le Maître), and Richard Prada (Le Chef de la Police). Patrick Fournillier conducts the Residentie Orkest The Hague and the Chorus of the Dutch National Opera (Chorus Master Nicholas Jenkins). Set design by Chantel Thomas; costume design by Laurent Pelly in collaboration with Jean-Jacques Delmotte; lighting design by Joël Adam; dialogue adaptation and dramaturgy by Agathe Mélinand. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Released 2019, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

The “étoile” or “star” here is not a character in the opera but one of those shining in the firmament, which is linked by the bogus astrologer Siroco to the fates of a preposterous King and the lumpenprolateriat street peddler Lazuli (Stéphanie d’Oustrac in trousers). Confused? You will be even more so when you learn that both the King and the peddler are in love with the same Princess Laoula, etc.

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Die Schöpfung

Haydn Die Schöpfung (The Creation) oratorio. Directed 2017 by Carlus Padrissa and La Fura dels Baus at La Seine Musicale, Île Seguin, France. Stars Mari Eriksmoen (Gabriel/Eva), Daniel Schmutzhard (Raphael/Adam), and Martin Mitterrutzner (Uriel). Laurence Equilbey conducts the Insula Orchestra and the accentus (sic) choir (Chorus Master Marc Korovitch). Directed for TV by Isabelle Soulard. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Wozzeck

Alban Berg Wozzeck opera to libretto by the composer. Directed 2017 by Krzysztof Warlikowski at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Stars Christopher Maltman (Wozzeck), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Marie), Frank van Aken (Drum Major), Marcel Beekman (Captain/Madman), Sir Willard White (Doctor), Jason Bridges (Andres), Ursula Hesse von den Steinen (Margret), Scott Wilde (First Apprentice), Morschi Franz (Second Apprentice), Jacob Jutte (Marie’s Son), and Richard Prada (A Soldier). Matt Albrecth conducts the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus of Dutch National Opera (Chorus Master Ching-Lien Wu), and the New Amsterdam Children’s Choir (Chorus Master Eline Welle). Set and costume design by Małgorzata Szczęśniak; lighting design by Felice Ross; video design by Denis Guéguin; choreography by Claude Bardouil; dramaturgy by Christian Longchamp; directed for film by François Roussillon. Released 2018, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Macbeth

Verdi Macbeth opera to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. Directed 2017 by Emma Dante at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo. Stars Roberto Frontali (Macbeth), Marko Mimica (Banco), Anna Pirozzi (Lady Macbeth), Federica Alfano (Dama di Lady Macbeth), Vincenzo Costanzo (Macduff), Manuel Pierattelli (Malcolm), Nicolò Ceriani (Doctor), Antonio Barbagallo (Servant), Francesco Cusumano (Duncano), Nunziatina Lo Presti (Fleanzio), and Actors of the Emma Dante Company and Students of the School of Performing Arts at the Teatro Biondo, Palermo. Gabriele Ferro conducts the Orchestra, Coro e Corpo di ballo del Teatro Massimo. Set design by Carmine Maringola; costume design by Vanessa Sannino; choreography by Manuela Lo Sicco; lighting design by Cristian Zucaro. Directed for film by Matteo Ricchetti. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Death in Venice

Britten Death in Venice opera to a libretto by Myfanwy Piper. Directed 2014 by Willy Decker at the Teatro Real. Stars John Daszak (Gustav von Aschenbach), Leigh Melrose (The Traveller/Elderly Fop/Old Gondolier/Hotel Manager/Hotel Barber/Leader of the Players/Voice of Dionysus), Tomasz Borczyk (Tadzio), Anthony Roth Costanzo (The Voice of Apollo), Duncan Rock (English Clerk/Venice Guide), Itxaro Mentxaka (Cadging), Vicente Ombuena (Concierge), Antonio Lozano (Crystal Merchant), Damián del Castillo (Waiter), Nuria García Arrés (Vendedora de Encaje), and Ruth Iniesta (Strawberry Seller/Newspaper Seller). Alejo Pérez conducts the Teatro Real Chorus and Orchestra (Chorus Master Andrés Máspero). Set design by Wolfgang Gussmann; costume design by Wolfgang Gussmann and Susana Mendoza; lighting design by Hans Toelstede; choreography by Athol Farmer; dramaturge by Klaus Bertisch. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Cendrillon

Massenet Cendrillon opera (Cinderalla) to a libretto by Henri Caïn . Directed 2017 by Barbara Mundel and Olga Motta at the Theater Freiburg. Stars Kim-Lillian Strebel (Cendrillon), Anja Jung (Madame de la Haltière), Anat Czarny (Le Prince Charmant), Katharina Melnikova (La Fée), Irina Jae Eun Park (Noémie), Silvia Regazzo (Dorothée), Juan Orozco (Pandolfe), Jongsoo Yang (Le Roi), Naoishi Sekiguchi (Le Surintendant des Plaisirs), Roberto Gionfriddo (La Doyen de la Faculté), and Pascal Hufschmid (Le Premier Ministre / La Voix du Hérault). Fabrice Bollon conducts the Philharmornisches Orchester Freiburg as well as the Opern und Extrachor des Theater Freiburg (Chorus Master Bernhard Moncado). Choreography by Graham Smith; set design and costumes by Olga Motta; lighting by Dorothee Hoff; dramaturgy by Heiko Voss. Directed for TV by Tiziano Mancini. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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La Campana Sommersa

Ottorino Respighi La Campana Sommersa opera to a libretto by Claudio Guastella. Directed by Pier Francesco Maestrini in 2016 at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. Stars Valentina Farcas (Rautendelein), Maria Luigia Borsi (Magda), Agostina Smimmero (An Old Witch), Angelo Villari (Enrico), Thomas Gazheli (The Ondino), Filippo Adami (A Faun), Dario Russo (A Priest), Nicola Ebau (A Schoolmaster), and Mauro Secci (A Barber). Donato Renzetti conducts the Orchestra del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, the Coro del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari (Chorus Master Gaetano Mastroiaco), and the Coro di Voci Bianche del Conservatorio 'G. P. da Palestrina' di Cagliari (Chorus Master Enrico di Maira). Set design and projections by Juan Guillermo Nova; costume design by Marco Nateri; lighting design by Pascal Mérat. Directed for TV by Tiziano Mancini. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Benvenuto Cellini

Hector Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini opera to a libretto by Léon de Wailly and Henri Auguste Barbier. Directed 2015 by Terry Gilliam. Stars John Osborn (Benvenuto Cellini), Maurizio Muraro (Gicacomo Balducci), Laurent Naouri (Fieramosca), Orlin Anastassov (Le Pape Clément VII), Nicky Spence (Francesco), Scott Conner (Bernardino), André Morsch (Pompeo), Marcel Beekman (Le Cabaretier), Mariangela Sicilia (Teresa), and Michèle Losier (Ascanio). Sir Mark Elder conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chorus of the Dutch National Opera (Chorus Master Ching-Lien Wu).

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