Archive for the ‘Natalie Dessay’ Category

Dessay, Kozena, Villazon: a trio of quality operatic releases

September 4, 2008
Classical buffs bemoan the dramatic decline in the number of CD releases; some buffs are already tolling the bell for the classical recording business.

As a casual buyer of classical CDs I see it differently – why bother buying everything when you can hear a lot of what you fancy on the remarkable BBC Radio 3?

And I just don’t see the need for endless recycling of the repertoire: who on Earth needs yet another recording of Beethoven’s Ninth or Verdi’s La Traviata?

The kind of CDs I tend to buy – operatic extracts and recitals by favourite sopranos, mezzos and tenors – keep me well sated.

Favoured recent releases include:

* Natalie Dessay – Italian Opera Arias

* Magdalena Kozena – Ah! Mio Cor: Handel Arias, and

* Rolando Villazon – Cielo e Mar.

Three magnificent voices captured at the peak of their powers – should keep me happy for a while.

Gerry Smith

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OPERA ROUND-UP: Strauss’s Salome, Natalie Dessay, and a Mozzafest

March 13, 2008

Recent opera highlights for grown-ups: 

* David McVicar’s new London production of Strauss’s Salome (Royal Opera House) demanded respect, but it failed to engage fully.  It had some compelling sub-Wagnerian sounds from the pit, but the principals didn’t really fire my imagination.  Occasionally inspired, mostly disappointing.  

* Natalie Dessay’s star continues to rise.  Following her triumph in last year’s La Fille du Regiment in London – one of the most exciting performances I’ve seen, in any musical genre, in recent years – the French soprano has released some outstanding new product, including Bellini’s La Sonnambula and a must-have compilation, Airs d’Opéras Italiens  

Airs d’Opéras Italiens – tracklist: Verdi La TraviataE strano!… Ah, forse è lui – Follie! Follie… Sempre liberaBellini I puritaniO rendetemi la speme – Qui la voce sua soave – Vien dilettoDonizetti Maria StuardaAllenta il piè, Regina – Oh nube che lieve – Nella pace del mesto riposoVerdi RigolettoGualtier Maldé… Caro nomeBellini I Capuleti e i MontecchiEccomi in lieta vesta – Oh! quante volteDonizetti Lucia di LammermoorEccola… Il dolce suono – Ardon gli incensi –S’avanza Enrico – Spargi d’amaro pianto  

* Mostly Mozart, the Barbican’s welcome annual mid-summer Mozzafest, bravely pitched against The Proms season on the other side of London, runs this year from 10 July to 2 August, and booking is now open. Highlights include Cosi Fan Tutte, by Garsington Opera, La Clemenza di Tito, starring Alice Coote, and Mozart’s Requiem. 

The programme is well worth a look: www.barbican.org.uk   

Gerry Smith