René Pape

Bass

René Pape

Pape received his musical education with the Dresdner Kreuzchor and the Dresden Conservatory. He debuted with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 1988, and achieved international recognition in 1995, when Sir Georg Solti cast him as Sarastro in a production of Die Zauberflöte. The year 1995 also saw his debut with the Metropolitan Opera, where he has performed every year since.

His repertoire includes virtually all the great German bass roles, as well as Ramfis in Aida, Filippo II in Don Carlo, Méphistophélès in Faust, and the title role of Boris Godunov. He made his film debut as Sarastro in Kenneth Branagh's The Magic Flute, which premiered simultaneously at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2006 Venice Film Festival.

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Verdi: Macbeth

Verdi: Macbeth


Željko Luèiæ (Macbeth), René Pape (Banquo), Anna Netrebko (Lady Macbeth), Claudia Waite (Lady-in-Waiting to Lady Macbeth), Christopher Job (A Servant of Macbeth), Raymond Renault (Duncan, King of Scotland), Noah Baetge (Malcolm, Duncan’s Son), Joseph Calleja (Macduff, Thane of Fife), Moritz Linn (Fleance, Banquo’s Son), Richard Bernstein (A Murderer), Seth Malkin (A Herald), James Courtney (A Doctor), David Crawford (A Warrior), Ashley Emerson (A Bloody Child), Jihee Kim (A Crowned Child)

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Fabio Luisi, Adrian Noble (dir.)

An unforgettable performance of Anna Netrebko at the MET now on DVD/BR!

Outstanding press acclaim for her performance:

New York Observer stated: “.. a superstar cast ... the most potent: Anna Netrebko's ferociously exciting star turn as Lady Macbeth ... a "demented" performance, one so exciting it propels both artist and audience figuratively to the brink of madness.”

While the New York Times writes: “Lady Macbeth is causing a sensation at the Metropolitan Opera ... This was Ms. Netrebko's night”

This MET performance featured not only an astonishing Anna Netrebko, but also a superstar-cast with artists like Željko Luèiæ, René Pape, Joseph Calleja and a brilliantly performing MET Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Fabio Luisi.

The DVD includes bonus material with artist interviews and backstage footage:

- 2 intros / Host: Anita Rachvelishvili

- Acts I and II (1’26)

- Act III and IV (0’15)

Backstage at the Met with host Anita Rachvelishvili (c. 15’)

- Interview: Anna Netrebko (2’19)

- "Gallery Met Shorts" (2'03)

- Interview: Željko Luèiæ (1’27)

- Interview: Joseph Calleja and René Pape (3’12)

- Interview: Donald Palumbo and David Frye (3’02)

- Interview: Fabio Luisi (2’28)

“[Noble's] direction is frequently gripping, aided by two magnificent central performances. Anna Netrebko's darker soprano of recent years is not perfectly suited to Verdi's heavier roles...it was a performance matched by Željko Luèiæ's Macbeth. His velvety timbre and stylish phrasing mark him out as one of the few Verdi baritones today worthy of the description...Luisi revels inthe score's dark tinta.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

Presto Discs of 2015

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Strauss, R: Elektra

Strauss, R: Elektra

Live recording from the Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburger Festspiele 2010


Iréne Theorin (Elektra), Waltraud Meier (Klytämnestra), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Chrysothemis), Robert Gambill (Aegisth) & René Pape (Orest)

Wiener Philharmoniker & Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Daniele Gatti (conductor) & Nikolaus Lehnhoff (stage director)

Special Release On The Occasion Of Richard Strauss’ 150th Anniversary On 11 June 2014.

Complete Opera Recording

+ Exclusive Bonus Feature: More than 150 minutes of highlights from 50 critically acclaimed opera, ballet & documentary productions on Blu-ray Disc

+ Arthaus Musik Blu-ray Catalogue

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, dts-HD

Master Audio 5.1 Picture Format: 16:9

Blu-ray Disc: 50 GB (Dual Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition

Subtitle Languages: DE (Original Language), GB, FR, ES, IT, JP, Korean

Running Time: 109 mins

FSK: 6

Region Code: worldwide

“Here's a treat for Expressionism junkies...dominated by Theorin's extraordinary heroine, a Brunnhilde gone seriously to seed, a real tour de force of concentrated energy, vocal stamina and dramatic power, who occupies most of the very well-made film in close-up. Daniele Gatti gets marvellous sounds from the Vienna Philharmonic, all the score's fever and neurosis but also its tenderness... There's really not a weak link here.” Opera Now, Summer 2011 *****

“Elektra's Freudian creepiness constantly attracts sensationalist productions, so it's a pleasure to report just how fine this 2010 Salzburg staging is. Daniele Gatti's conducting is powerful enough, but never loses sight of the score's eerie lyricism and sombre glow, which Nikolaus Lehnhoff's staging embodies to atmospherically...Among Elektras on DVD this, along with Karl Böhm's historical performance, must rank among the best; and on Blu-ray it is superb.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2011 *****

BBC Music Magazine

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BBC Music Magazine Awards 2012

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Gounod: Faust

Gounod: Faust


Jonas Kaufmann (Faust), René Pape (Méphistophélès), Marina Poplavskaya (Marguerite), Russell Braun (Valentin), Jonathan Beyer (Wagner), Michèle Losier (Siébel), Wendy White (Marthe)

Orchestra & Chorus of The Metropolitan Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Production from The Met

Stage direction: Des McAnuff

Jonas Kaufmann leads an all-star cast in a thrilling performance of Gounod’s melodrama.

”Mr. Kaufmann, a Met superstar… was a handsome, vocally splendid Faust. He sang the pensive and romantic passages with veiled dusky colorings and tender lyricism, and unleashed pent-up power in full-bodied phrases, capped by fearless high notes.” The New York Times.

Double Tony Award winning stage director Desmond McAnuff’s production, hailed by the New York Times as “rich with ideas and theatrically daring”, presents Faust as an atomic scientist inhabiting a dark world shot through with Cold War resonances.

Alongside Kaufmann, a typically gold-standard Met cast includes the “phenomenal” René Pape as Méphistophélès and the “ideally-suited” Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite.

Star conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin draws an “elegant, darkly textured performance” from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.

Also released in March 2014 is Werther on Blu-Ray featuring Jonas Kaufmann.

Subtitles: English, French, German, Chinese, Korean

“Here the Met plays a fistful of trumps. Jonas Kaufmann is an ardent Faust and, in smart evening clothes, is as stylish sartorially as he is vocally...Pape is a wickedly cynical Mephistopheles...But the star is Marina Poplavskaya's Marguerite...[she] makes you hear the Ballad of the King of Thule, the Jewel aria and the love duet as if the ink was scarcely dry on the page.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2014 ****

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Jonas Kaufmann (Parsifal), Katarina Dalayman (Kundry), Peter Mattei (Amfortas), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Evgeny Nikitin (Klingsor), Rúni Brattaberg (Titurel), Maria Zifchak (Stimme)

Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet of the Metropolitan Opera, Daniele Gatti, Francois Girard (dir.)

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast

François Girard's new production of Wagner's Parsifal, conducted by Daniele Gatti and starring Jonas Kaufmann, Katarina Dalayman, and René Pape in the leading roles, opened February 15 to popular and critical acclaim.

Wagner at first ordained that Parsifal be staged only in Bayreuth, at his own theater. The music drama was introduced there on July 26, 1882, six months before the composer's death. Against the wishes of Wagner's heirs, Heinrich Conried presented the U.S. stage premiere of the work during his first season as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, in 1903. Protests from Wagner's widow, Cosima, brought the issue to court. Ultimately Conried won, and the Metropolitan's version was hailed by some critics as superior to Bayreuth's. The Met's next new Parsifal production, in 1920, was directed by Richard Ordynski and designed by Josef Urban, whose decors were not replaced until 1956, when the company presented a new staging by Herbert Graf. The Met subsequently offered new Parsifal productions in 1970 (Nathaniel Merrill) and 1991 (Otto Schenk). The company's new staging by François Girard, a coproduction with the Opéra National de Lyon and Canadian Opera Company, had its Met premiere on February 15, 2013, with Daniele Gatti conducting.

“Few better casts could be imagined than the one the Met has assembled here. Jonas Kaufmann is the rare Wagnerian hero you can believe in.” **** Bachtrack

“The conductor Daniele Gatti draws diaphanous playing from the great Met orchestra and captures the shifting currents of this richly chromatic and complex score.”NYTimes.com

“At 43 Mr. Kaufmann is in his glory, equally adept in German, Italian and French repertory. Handsome and limber, he is a natural onstage. The baritonal colorings of his sound, his clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing, his refined musicianship — all these strengths come together in his distinctive Parsifal.” NYTimes.com

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Subtitles: GB, FR, DE, SP, IT

“The cast is magnificent...The biggest revelation is Peter Mattei’s searing Amfortas...[Kaufmann's] transformation from the gauche, feral boy of the first act to the grizzled spiritual leader of the last is masterfully paced...Gatti lets everything unfold in its own time, to luminous, hypnotic effect.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 17th February 2014

“Kaufmann is the Parsifal we've all been waiting for...Matching his agonies are those of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Katarina Dalayman's lustrous, secure Kundry, while the relaxed, minimal gestures of Rene Pape's Gurnemanz bely the vocal armoury he unleashes in the last Act. Gatti's pacing isn't my ideal...but on its own terms it's remarkable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“The orchestral sound is consistently rich and resonant...The impassioned intensity Jonas Kaufmann brings to Parsifal's music is matched by the rhetorical conviction of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor...This is very much Wagner for the 21st century.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“a fine-looking production...Kaufmann’s Parsifal looks and sounds the part and is well-paced. Evgeny Nikitin’s Klingsor seems to enjoy raising the rafters...Peter Mattei’s Amfortas steals the show with his gleaming baritone and anguished acting – a superb assumption.” Opera Now ****

Presto Disc of the Week

17th February 2015

Presto Discs of 2014

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GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Opera

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Jonas Kaufmann (Parsifal), Katarina Dalayman (Kundry), Peter Mattei (Amfortas), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Evgeny Nikitin (Klingsor), Rúni Brattaberg (Titurel), Maria Zifchak (Stimme)

Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, Daniele Gatti, Francois Girard (dir.)

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast

François Girard's new production of Wagner's Parsifal, conducted by Daniele Gatti and starring Jonas Kaufmann, Katarina Dalayman, and René Pape in the leading roles, opened February 15 to popular and critical acclaim.

Wagner at first ordained that Parsifal be staged only in Bayreuth, at his own theater. The music drama was introduced there on July 26, 1882, six months before the composer's death. Against the wishes of Wagner's heirs, Heinrich Conried presented the U.S. stage premiere of the work during his first season as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, in 1903. Protests from Wagner's widow, Cosima, brought the issue to court. Ultimately Conried won, and the Metropolitan's version was hailed by some critics as superior to Bayreuth's. The Met's next new Parsifal production, in 1920, was directed by Richard Ordynski and designed by Josef Urban, whose decors were not replaced until 1956, when the company presented a new staging by Herbert Graf. The Met subsequently offered new Parsifal productions in 1970 (Nathaniel Merrill) and 1991 (Otto Schenk). The company's new staging by François Girard, a coproduction with the Opéra National de Lyon and Canadian Opera Company, had its Met premiere on February 15, 2013, with Daniele Gatti conducting.

“Few better casts could be imagined than the one the Met has assembled here. Jonas Kaufmann is the rare Wagnerian hero you can believe in.” **** Bachtrack

“The conductor Daniele Gatti draws diaphanous playing from the great Met orchestra and captures the shifting currents of this richly chromatic and complex score.”NYTimes.com

“At 43 Mr. Kaufmann is in his glory, equally adept in German, Italian and French repertory. Handsome and limber, he is a natural onstage. The baritonal colorings of his sound, his clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing, his refined musicianship — all these strengths come together in his distinctive Parsifal.” NYTimes.com

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The cast is magnificent...The biggest revelation is Peter Mattei’s searing Amfortas...[Kaufmann's] transformation from the gauche, feral boy of the first act to the grizzled spiritual leader of the last is masterfully paced...Gatti lets everything unfold in its own time, to luminous, hypnotic effect.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 17th February 2014

“Kaufmann is the Parsifal we've all been waiting for...Matching his agonies are those of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Katarina Dalayman's lustrous, secure Kundry, while the relaxed, minimal gestures of Rene Pape's Gurnemanz bely the vocal armoury he unleashes in the last Act. Gatti's pacing isn't my ideal...but on its own terms it's remarkable.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“The orchestra sound is consistently rich and resonant...The impassioned intensity Jonas Kaufmann brings to Parsifal's music is matched by the rhetorical conviction of Peter Mattei's Amfortas and Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor...This is very much Wagner for the 21st century.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

“a fine-looking production...Kaufmann’s Parsifal looks and sounds the part and is well-paced. Evgeny Nikitin’s Klingsor seems to enjoy raising the rafters...Peter Mattei’s Amfortas steals the show with his gleaming baritone and anguished acting – a superb assumption.” Opera Now ****

Presto Discs of 2014

Winner

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GGramophone Awards 2015

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Wagner: Das Rheingold

Wagner: Das Rheingold


René Pape (Wotan), Nikolai Putilin (Alberich), Stephan Rügamer (Loge), Ekaterina Gubanova (Fricka), Viktoria Yastrebova (Freia), Zlata Bulycheva (Erda), Andrei Popov (Mime), Evgeny Nikitin (Fafner), Mikhail Petrenko (Fafner), Sergei Semishkur (Froh), Alexei Markov (Donner), Zhanna Dombrovskaya (Woglinde), Irina Vasilieva (Wellgunde), Ekaterina Sergeeva (Flosshilde)

Mariinsky Orchestra, Valéry Gergiev

In September 2013 the Mariinsky label releases the highly anticipated second instalment of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen conducted by Valery Gergiev. Recorded in the sumptuous acoustic of the Mariinsky Concert Hall, Das Rheingold is led by René Pape in the role of Wotan. Pape is ably supported by an international Wagnerian cast, and ‘Gergiev’s absolute mastery of this orchestra,’ (Wagner News) is in evidence once again in a tremendously dramatic performance. Siegfried and Götterdämmerung will complete the cycle in 2014.

Der Ring des Nibelungen was the pinnacle of Richard Wagner’s long and turbulent career and without question one of the greatest achievements in opera. Wagner wanted to create the perfect synthesis of music and drama and assumed total creative control of the project which was to take him 26 years to complete, with frequent interruptions. He introduced numerous innovations, not least the sheer scale of the project – typically a complete performance will last in excess of 15 hours, spread over four evening. No other opera matches the scale or ambition of the Ring.

The Mariinsky Theatre has close connections with Wagner and his music. The composer conducted at the theatre and was even offered the post of Music Director. It is also believed to be the first place where any of the music from the Ring was performed. Since Valery Gergiev became Music Director of the Mariinsky, Wagner’s music has once again become a core part of the theatre’s repertoire, both in St Petersburg and on tour.

“Gergiev tackles Wagner with the same excitement he brings to all his music-making. With that intensity comes a waywardness, usually concerning tempi...The orchestra is superb. All told this is a characterful and compelling account.” The Observer, 1st September 2013

“[Gergiev] draws plenty of vivid drama and glowing colour from the Mariinsky players, particularly the uniquely silken but powerful brass...Mikhail Petrenko and Evgeny Nikitin [make a] rich-voiced pair of giants, a splendid characterisation...the women...are really impressive. Stephan Rugamer shows how much a truly lyrical Loge can make of his music.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ****

“[Pape's] superbly well-sung performance is far from monotonously dignified...there are no weak links in this cast: Fricka, Loge, Fasolt and Fafner are all as good as any of the recently recorded rivals you might care to name...the uniquely euphoric spirit of The Ring's prelude emerges with irresistable conviction as the compelling drama unfolds.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“[Pape] is a singer in the Wagnerian lyric bass mode rather than the more conventional heroic bass-baritone. Even so, he has no difficulty with the high notes. His pointing of the text often pays dividends..in the casting of the two giants the Mariinsky does not disappoint...Markov is a magnificent Donner, sending out his challenge to the thunder in ringing tones.” MusicWeb International, 18th November 2013

“Gergiev conducts a swift reading in this performance – this Rhine is in full flood...Pape’s Wotan is pretty magisterial...Gubanova is a solid Fricka, sounding younger and less hectoring than many...The Rhinemaidens are forthright, almost cheerful; Ekaterina Sergeeva’s even mezzo is particularly attractive as Flosshilde.” Opera Now ***

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem


A Verdi Requiem with a dream line-up of soloists and the forces of La Scala, Milan, directed by one of the greatest maestros of our time

Preceding acclaimed performances at the Lucerne and Salzburg Festivals, Barenboim and his magnificent partners recorded this masterpiece around a live performance at La Scala, Milan, in 2012. This marks the first audio recording by Barenboim in his role as La Scala’s Music Director.

A superb quartet of soloists – Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Elīna Garanča and René Pape – stamp their authority on this terrific performance.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Barenboim's interpretative view is grand in conception, with the La Scala performers offering him sufficient depth and richness of tone...the four soloists form a quartet finely balanced in vocal weight and proficiency...this is an impressive account.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

“this performance, exciting and occasionally thrilling though it is, is not remotely Italian...It's a 'through-composed' linked-up performance, paced withy a dramatic curve that makes even the punchiest Italian-led ones...feel like number opera...The non-Italian soloists are in good fearless voice and aurally well integrated into this concept.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“So many of the older recordings on this list have vintage 'dream-teams' of soloists, and this 2012 Requiem offers a contemporary line-up of comparable lustre: Anja Harteros, Elīna Garanča, Jonas Kaufmann and René Pape are all on thrilling form, and Daniel Barenboim conjures suitably operatic drama from his La Scala forces.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical

“an optimum line-up of soloists for our time...Garanca’s lush mezzo sounds like an Amneris in waiting in the Lux aeterna; Pape is a rock in the bass soloist’s pronouncements...I wouldn’t want to be without Kaufmann’s searing Ingemisco and moving, introverted Hostias…” Sunday Times, 22nd September 2013

“It's a thoughtful, considered interpretation that places the emphasis not so much on the terrors of divine judgment as on mankind's suffering in the face of the unknown...the end result makes up in compassion for what it sometimes lacks in visceral excitement.” The Guardian, 10th October 2013 ****

“The magnificent full-throated chorus project in a manner liable to rip off the La Scala roof. And the soloists too trail opera glory...Barenboim, meanwhile, does everything to encourage bold attack from players and singers; even his pauses tremble. All told, it’s a thrilling account.” The Times, 13th September 2013 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

16th September 2013

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2013

Decca - 4785245

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem


A Verdi Requiem with a dream line-up of soloists and the forces of La Scala, Milan, directed by one of the greatest maestros of our time.

Preceding acclaimed performances at the Lucerne and Salzburg Festivals, Barenboim and his magnificent partners recorded this masterpiece around a live performance at La Scala, Milan, in 2012. This marks the first audio recording by Barenboim in his role as La Scala’s Music Director.

A superb quartet of soloists – Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Elīna Garanča and René Pape – stamp their authority on this terrific performance.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The magnificent full-throated chorus project in a manner liable to rip off the La Scala roof. And the soloists too trail opera glory...Barenboim, meanwhile, does everything to encourage bold attack from players and singers; even his pauses tremble. All told, it’s a thrilling account.” The Times, 13th September 2013 ****

“It's a thoughtful, considered interpretation that places the emphasis not so much on the terrors of divine judgment as on mankind's suffering in the face of the unknown...the end result makes up in compassion for what it sometimes lacks in visceral excitement.” The Guardian, 10th October 2013

“an optimum line-up of soloists for our time...Garanca’s lush mezzo sounds like an Amneris in waiting in the Lux aeterna; Pape is a rock in the bass soloist’s pronouncements...I wouldn’t want to be without Kaufmann’s searing Ingemisco and moving, introverted Hostias” Sunday Times, 22nd September 2013

“this performance, exciting and occasionally thrilling though it is, is not remotely Italian...It's a 'through-composed' linked-up performance, paced withy a dramatic curve that makes even the punchiest Italian-led ones...feel like number opera...The non-Italian soloists are in good fearless voice and aurally well integrated into this concept” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“Barenboim's interpretative view is grand in conception, with the La Scala performers offering him sufficient depth and richness of tone...the four soloists form a quartet finely balanced in vocal weight and proficiency...this is an impressive account.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

“what a thrill to hear four such exciting voices announce their arrival one by one in those first electrifying entries in the Kyrie...The chorus and orchestra are on rip-roaring operatic form, not least in a properly apocalyptic ‘Dies Irae’, complete with sinister sibilance that chills the blood and percussion-playing to rouse the dead. Terrific.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 16th September 2013

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Decca - 0743808

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620


Deon Van Der Walt (Tamino), Anton Scharinger (Papageno), Ruth Ziesak (Pamina), Luciana Serra (Königin der Nacht), René Pape (Sarastro), Franz Grundheber (Sprecher), Heinz Zednik (Monostatos), Edith Schmid-Lienbacher (Papagena), Wolfgang Schmidt, Hans Franzen (Zwei Geharnischten), Inga Nielsen, Iris Vermillon, Jard van Nes (Drei Damen), Members of the Tölzer Singerknaben (Drei Knaben)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Sir Georg Solti

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Sung in English and abridged


Matthew Polenzani (Tamino), Nathan Gunn (Papageno), Ying Huang (Pamina), Erika Miklósa (Queen of the Night), René Pape (Sarastro), Greg Fedderly (Monostatos), David Pittsinger (Speaker), Jennifer Aylmer (Papagena), Wendy Bryn Harmer, Kate Lindsey, Tamara Mumford (Drei Damen)

The Metropolitan Opera & Chorus, James Levine

Directed by Julie Taymor

“The best performance comes from Nathan Gunn as Papageno, with his irrepressible energy and sense of comic timing...Matthew Polenzani and Ying Huang make a believably young pair of lovers. The production is a visual delight, with its bright colours, puppets and masks. It is, predictably, entirely politically correct. James Levine's conducting is well-judged, save for a funereal 'Tamino mein!' Give this to your children, then take them to the opera house.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2011

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Sony - 88697910139

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