Elizabeth Watts

Soprano

Elizabeth Watts

Since abandoning a career in archaeology in favour of singing in 2002, Norwich-born soprano Elizabeth Watts has rapidly established herself as one of Britain's finest young singers. Shortly after graduation from the RCM, she was accepted onto ENO's Young Singers Programme, won first prize in the 2006 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and represented England in Cardiff Singer of the World the following year where she took first prize in the Rosenblatt Song Prize Competition. A former BBC New Generation Artist, Watts has performed in several Proms and made her solo debut on disc with a recital of Schubert Lieder for Sony; her opera credits include Semele, Susanna, Pamina, and Flora in both Britten's The Turn of the Screw and Tippett's The Knot Garden.

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François Couperin: Leçons de Ténèbres

François Couperin: Leçons de Ténèbres


Brossard:

Stabat Mater

Couperin, F:

Trois Leçons de Ténèbres


Lucy Crowe (soprano) & Elizabeth Watts (sopranos)

La Nuova Musica, David Bates

François Couperin's 'Leçons de Ténèbres' (c. 1713-17), a setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, fused devotional expression with a dramatic performing style embodied here by sopranos Lucy Crowe and Elizabeth Watts. Two Trio Sonatas and a 'Stabat Mater' by Sébastien de Brossard round out this luminous programme.

La Nuova Musica was founded by its artistic director David Bates in 2007 whilst in residency at Snape Maltings and was hailed by BBC Radio 3 as “one of the most exciting consorts in the early music field”. They are regular contributors at Aldeburgh Music, St John’s Smith Square, London Handel Festival, Wigmore Hall and Spitalfields Music. Highlights of 2015 were a performance of 'Acis and Galatea' at SJSS which received a 5* review in The Times, describing it as “a reading that sparkled from the giddy overture to the consoling final chorus” followed by a concert performance of Cesti’s 'Orontea', where “Bates’ conducting had superb poise, and the cast was impeccable, with not a weak link anywhere” (The Guardian).

In 2016 LNM will also record Pergolesi's 'Stabat Mater' and Bach Cantatas with Lucy Crowe and Tim Mead. Concert performance highlights for 2016 include Handel’s 'Berenice' at the Göttingen Internationale Händel Festspiele; their debut at the Salzburg Festival with Bejun Mehta; and an exciting collaboration with American choreographer Zack Winokur on Purcell’s 'Dido and Aeneas' at the Brighton International Festival, with Dame Ann Murray singing the title role.

“Two of the UK’s finest early music voices divvy up Les Leçons de Ténèbres…Crowe is ecstatic and golden, ravishing in her upper flourishes…Watts is grainier, softer-edged, earthier. When they sing together in the third lesson, the combination is breathtaking” The Guardian, 8th September 2016

“such an intelligent choice of voices…both with a lovely purity and clarity, both ornamenting effectively, with Crowe’s more tightly focussed sound contrasting very well with Watt’s more voluptuous tone and vibrato.” Record Review, 24th September 2016

“Bates directs some very fine performances here. Both instrumentalists and voices of La Nuova Musica are terrific as are the two soloists in the Trois Leçons de Tenebres, Lucy Crowe and Elizabeth Watts. The excellent SACD recording is set in a lovely acoustic with a real sense of presence and detail.” The Classical Reviewer, 26th September 2016

“a dramatic, well-paced performance that shows Brossard’s slender if learned talent to best effect. Unlike Schneebeli, who employed boy sopranos and Old French pronunciation of the Latin texts, Bates produces a more modern, full-bodied sound, and it is the grands choeurs rather than the petits choeurs that most impress.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“Crowe here offers an intense and dramatic reading of the first Leçon … Elizabeth Watts takes centre stage in the second setting – her voice plummy and voluptuous … The two join in an impassioned and operatically-inspired performance of the final Leçon … the performing forces are expanded for Brossard’s highly-charged setting of the Stabat Mater, its grief-filled text delivered with raw and plangent expressivity.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 ****

“Having two soloists of the calibre of Lucy Crowe and Elizabeth Watts ensures that the vocal line positively gleams, and there is a beautifully limpid quality throughout. They are flexible yet also a little fragile, well suited to the pleading nature of the text…Brossard’s Trio Sonatas provide some earnest instrumental variety. They're beautifully played, and the thin string tone adds a plangent air to what you find in the more explicitly penitential vocal music” MusicWeb International, January 2017

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Sullivan, A: HMS Pinafore

Sullivan, A: HMS Pinafore


Elizabeth Watts (Josephine), Toby Spence (Ralph Rackstraw), John Mark Ainsley (Sir Joseph Porter KCB), Andrew Foster-Williams (Captain Corcoran), Hilary Summers (Buttercup), Neal Davies (Dick Deadeye), Gavan Ring (Bill Bobstay), Barnaby Rea (Bob Becket), Kitty Whately (Hebe), Tim Brooke-Taylor (narrator)

Scottish Opera, Richard Egarr

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here, and Katherine's exclusive interview with Richard Egarr here.

Richard Egarr conducts the Scottish Opera in Gilbert and Sullivan’s much-loved nautical comic opera: HMS Pinafore. Performed and recorded live at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival to a sold out audience, the story unfolds with additional narration from comic actor and broadcaster Tim Brooke-Taylor. Heading up a cast that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the opera world are John Mark Ainsley, Elizabeth Watts and Toby Spence.

The well-crafted, yet light-hearted story unfolds on the HMS Pinafore as Josephine, the captain’s daughter, falls in love with a lowly sailor (Ralph Rackstraw) despite arrangements by her father to marry Sir Joseph Porter. Sir Joseph is a perfect caricature of Britain’s class system of the day – a pompous and splendidly incompetent man. Nevertheless, this likeable character decrees his liberal views and inadvertently encourages a couple in love to reject social conventions and elope. A tale of British silliness, filled with British humour, ends happily for all characters.

Egarr applies his extensive knowledge of period performance practice to recreate the sound and style typical of the late nineteenth century, a first for a Gilbert and Sullivan recording. HMS Pinafore is rich in comic burlesque, sending up theatrical and operatic conventions and parodying the Italian opera of the day. The tongue-in-cheek writing is apparent from the opening chorus and the music is equally rich in comic pastiche and styles; ‘For he is an Englishman’ is one of the greatest master-strokes.

Climb aboard the HMS Pinafore for a hugely fun seafaring romp!

“There’s a tremendous sense of affection and conviction from all involved, and never a suggestion of anyone condescending to the material...Egarr brings out some wonderful orchestral detail which I’d never noticed before (particularly in the big ensembles), and phrases everything with such line and lyricism that any sense of that ‘rum-ti-tum’ autopilot which often repels Gilbert and Sullivan's detractors is kept consistently at bay.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 20th May 2016

“Gilbert's satire...still resonates, and was a gift for Sullivan's talent for parodying Italian opera. That and its native tunefulness keep the score fresh, as this Scottish Opera performance under Egarr, recorded live at last year's Edinburgh International Festival, happily reminds us.” Sunday Times

“It sounds like everyone involved was having a lot of fun. Richard Egarr, for example: who knew that he was such an affectionate Savoyard?...It was clearly one of those occasions where everyone plays off each other, and with a cast like this, the results are never less than engaging.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

“The whole presentation is well-rehearsed and the orchestra is excellent. It was nice to see that Scottish Opera follow the D’Oyly Carte with the need for excellent diction… . In many a recording we find there are woodwind lines that fail to come across, but here there is absolute clarity from every section.” MusicWeb International, June 2016

“[Egarr proves] himself a natural for this repertoire; the whole thing bounces, sparkles and smiles, with Scottish Opera's orchestra playing with the insouciant grace that is such a crucial element of operetta style. The cast is splendid...Elizabeth Watts is a gorgeous Josephine, Andrew Foster-Williams makes a perfectly proper Captain Corcoran and Hilary Summers's warm contralto is nicely suited to Little Buttercup.” Sunday Telegraph, 5th June 2016 ***

“Richard Egarr brings springy energy to the score...Elizabeth Watts's Josephine has a mischievous touch.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2016

Presto Disc of the Week

20th May 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - August 2016

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Alessandro Scarlatti: Con eco d'amore

Alessandro Scarlatti: Con eco d'amore


Scarlatti, A:

Figlio! Tiranno! (from La Griselda)

Se geloso è il mio core (from Endimione e Cintia)

Nacque, col Gran Messia (from Non so qual piu)

A questo nuovo affanno (from L'Eraclea)

Mentre io godo in dolce oblio (from La Santissima Vergine)

Ombre opache

Qui dove … Torbido irato e nero

Con voce festiva

O vane speme! ... Cara tomba del mio diletto (from Il Mitridate Eupatore)

Sussurrando il venticello (from Tigrane)

Ergiti, Amor, su i vanni (from Scipione nelle Spagne)

Esci ommai (from Il Mitridate Eupatore)

Dolce stimolo al tuo bel cor (from Il Mitridate Eupatore)

D’amor l’accesa face (from Venere, Amore e Ragione)

Io non son di quei campioni (from La Statira)

A battaglia, pensieri


Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Mark Bennett (trumpet), Huw Daniel (violin) & Laurence Cummings (continuo, director)

The English Concert

With a voice described as "one of the most beautiful Britain has seen in a generation" (IRR), Elizabeth Watts has established herself among the brightest talents performing today. After training as a chorister at Norwich Cathedral, Elizabeth went on to study archaeology at Sheffield University before attending the Royal College of Music in London.

Her many prizes include the 2006 Kathleen Ferrier Prize (UK), the 2007 Outstanding Young Artist Award at the Cannes MIDEM Classique Awards and the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize at the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. A former ‘BBC New Generation Artist’, she received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2011 and this recording is supported by the Trust. Her critically praised debut recording of Schubert Lieder was followed by an equally acclaimed disc of Bach Cantatas (harmonia mundi), a programme of Richard Strauss Lieder with Roger Vignoles, and a recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music led by Richard Egarr.

In this selection of rarely heard Alessandro [rather than Domenico] Scarlatti arias from his cantatas, oratorios and operas, she is joined by the acclaimed period instrument ensemble The English Concert led by Laurence Cummings. Elizabeth is currently recording Couperin's 'Lecons de Tenebres' with Lucy Crowe and La Nuova Musica for harmonia mundi.

“Golden-voiced soprano Elizabeth Watts has spent the past few years unearthing neglected arias by Alessandro Scarlatti...Watts just about gets away with the spectacular pyrotechnics but is most affecting when Scarlatti takes his foot off the accelerator.” The Observer, 8th October 2015 ***

“this is exciting music, revealing an enormous range of colour and emotions through both scoring and vocal line. Watts grabs every opportunity with a voice of perfect weight, pliancy and line, offering a solid middle balanced with an exciting top.” Opera Now, October 2015

“The music is fascinating, often revelatory, the playing of The English Concert first-rate (Laurence Cummings always has a precise ear for texture and colour), while the mingled grace, brilliance and expressive intensity of Watt’s singing could hardly be bettered.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2015

“Here given new life with the invigorating English Concert, skittering firework displays alternate with soulful contemplation in a programme full of surprises.” The Independent, 11th October 2015

“As her career has progressed, Watts hasn't lost the ability to get to the heart of an aria and peel back the layers…there's scintillating playing from The English Concert, including a dashing obbilgato solo by violinist Huw Daniel in 'Esci omai'.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2015

“it’s amazing, tightrope walking stuff there; the fact that she can control her vibrato and actually distinguish between a trill and that vibrato and some of those high notes; the sheer tone quality is astonishing, and the way she’s managing to blend with the trumpet; this is a contest without an obvious winner, and that’s very much in the recording’s favour.” CD Review, 12th December 2015

“Watts and director Laurence Cummings give us a dazzling sequence of numbers. Her voice is thrilling at full pelt: brassy enough to make your windows rattle, but sensitive and seductive in the quieter moments. There’s some glorious, athletic trumpet playing from Mark Bennett, and the whole anthology fizzes with theatrical energy.” The Arts Desk, 26th December 2015

“Trumpeter Mark Bennett joins the singer occasionally, most effectively in the martial A battaglia, where soprano and brass battle it out for the virtuoso honours, while violinist Huw Daniel also vies for attention in an extended sequence from the serious opera Mitridate. But the album, of course, belongs to Watts, who receives nothing but the most sympathetic support from Laurence Cummings and The English Concert.” Classical Ear, 22nd February 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2015

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Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, February 2014


Mariusz Kwiecien (Don Giovanni), Alex Esposito (Leporello), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Commendatore), Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira), Antonio Poli (Don Ottavio), Malin Byström (Donna Anna), Elizabeth Watts (Zerlina) & Dawid Kimberg (Masetto)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Nicola Luisotti (conductor) & Kasper Holten (direcctor)

Kasper Holten talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about Don Giovanni here.

Mozart’s sublime tragic comedy offers boundless scope for directors, and Kasper Holten has chosen it to follow his directorial debut of Eugene Onegin. He wanted to shift the emphasis from Don Giovanni’s sex life into a darker place, showing Giovanni’s womanizing as an attempt to stave off his own mortality. Each woman he seduces represents a life he could have had. Though it is a dark piece, Holten handles it with a light touch and works with a superb cast – Mariusz Kwiecien, one of the world’s leading Don Giovannis, Alex Esposito, a fresh, vigorous Leporello and acclaimed French soprano Véronique Gens.

Set designs including innovative use of projections are by Es Devlin (most recently at the Royal Opera House with Les Troyens), Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Extra features: Introduction, Don Giovanni's Women, Director's commentary and a cast gallery.

Running time: 187 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Holten shows us Giovanni as a man older than usual, lonely, perhaps trying to stave off his fear of death with each new seduction...Some of the singing would not pass muster on CD. But the acting is beyond praise...Kwiecien has a dangerous charm and Alex Esposito, more friend than servant, is a perfect foil.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

“anyone who misses Mariusz Kwiecien's performance here will regret it...never have I seen a final scene so aggressively personal, so mad, so viciously without repentance...Watt's Zerlina is charming and pure-toned. Alex Esposito offers a star turn as Leporello...The Covent Garden forces are downright magnificent.” International Record Review, December 2014

“Admittedly it’s technically superb. The cast is variable. Mariusz Kwiecien´’s Don is well sung and acted, but on neither account explains his allure...Esposito is a detailed Leporello...Elizabeth Watts provides attractive tone and presence and Antonio Poli’s Ottavio is cleanly sung. Nicola Luisotti conducts briskly from the fortepiano.” Opera Now (**)

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Mozart: Requiem

Mozart: Requiem


Mozart:

Requiem in D minor, K626

Ave verum corpus, K618

Per questa bella mano, concert aria, K 612

& Robert Nairn (double bass obbligato)


Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Phyllis Pancella (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Kennedy (tenor) & Eric Owens (bass-baritone)

Handel and Haydn Society, Harry Christophers

Following the success of the Mozart Mass in C minor last year, CORO is delighted to announce the release of its second recording with Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society. Celebrated soloists Elizabeth Watts, Phyllis Pancella, Andrew Kennedy and Eric Owens joined Harry and the Society to record Mozart’s Requiem live at Boston’s Symphony Hall earlier this year.

Mozart’s final moments are reflected through this masterpiece of drama, intensity and depth. The mysterious circumstances surrounding the Requiem’s commission (delivered by a ‘messenger in black’ who refused to reveal the identity of the person who had sent him), and the fact it was left incomplete by a dying Mozart, have ensured a continued fascination with the work.

Completed by Mozart’s colleague Süssmayr in 1792, the Requiem is one of Mozart’s most popular and enduring works and one of the most enigmatic pieces of music ever composed.

The CD will also feature Mozart’s Ave verum corpus and the first recording on period instruments of his concert aria Per questa bella mano for bass voice and solo double bass obligato—a piece famous for its fiendishly difficult double bass part, performed superbly on this recording by Robert Nairn.

“[Owens's] instrument sounds magisterial as it rolls along, matching well with the three remaining soloists. Elizabeth Watts is a luminous soprano. Phyllis Pancella can rely on the almost contralto-like qualities of her mezzo. Andrew Kennedy's strong tenor makes a direct human appeal. The choir, too, is well blended and nicely balanced, negotiating the fast passages with impressive neatness. Orchestral playing is both vivid and disciplined” BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 ****

“a tangible excitement and momentum from one movement to the next makes this interpretation far more exciting than many studio recordings...And what a Dies irae this is. Breathless, barely contained, with brisk and extreme changes of dynamics always grabbing you by the hand and dragging you onwards; it is totally compelling...It's the most consistently engaging and propulsive recording of the Requiem I've heard.” Classic FM Magazine, November 2011 *****

“The recording grants welcome clarity to the orchestration, with colle parti trombones particularly audible. Tempi are generally brisk...the performance of [Per questa bella mano] is all one could wish for.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2012

Coro Handel and Haydn Society - COR16093

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Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony

Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony

& other works


Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 2 'A London Symphony'

1920 version

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Sound sleep

Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Mary Bevan (soprano), Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Orpheus With His Lute

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Variations for Brass Band

Royal College of Music Brass Band


Vaughan Williams’s London Symphony (the composer’s favourite of the nine) makes a rare appearance in its 1920 first publication. Three lesser-known works complete a highly desirable programme, while Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra understand how this music should be played like few others. This is mandatory listening.

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Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato


Sarah-Jane Brandon, Elizabeth Watts (sopranos), James Gilchrist (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (baritone)

Mark Morris Dance Group & Choeur & Orchestre du Teatro Real Madrid, Jane Glover

'L'Allegro' was Mark Morris's premiere work as Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium in 1988, and has since been performed to critical and audience acclaim all over the world. Winner of numerous awards including a Laurence Olivier Award, 'L'Allegro' uses Milton's text and features sets inspired by William Blake's later watercolours.

Founded in New York City in 1980 by Morris, the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) is considered one of the preeminent modern dance companies, its members praised repeatedly for their technique and their musicality. Live music and community engagement are vital components of the Dance Group, which has toured with its own musicians, the MMDG Music Ensemble, since 1996. Through Access/MMDG programming, the Dance Group provides educational opportunities in dance and music to people of all ages and abilities while on tour internationally and at home at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY.

The performance was filmed July 2014 at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain.

Bonus Feature:

Insights - Mark Morris on L'Allegro

Overture: Concerto grosso Op. 6 No. 1

A tempo giusto / Allegro

97 mins [ballet] and 13 mins [bonus]

Subtitles: French & Spanish

16:9

“I was extremely impressed by the energy and stamina of the dancers, who must shed pounds during every performance … as a Gesamtkunstwerk it works very well.” Early Music Review, 2nd August 2015

“Morris's reinterpretation is a consummately musical extravaganza that takes conspicuous inspiration from William Blake's famous Miltonic illustrations…the set-piece dances are often architecturally symmetrical and always strikingly beautiful…anyone fond of Handel's masterpiece should see this” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

“The group extends and challenges the boundaries of classical music and dance; their boundless energy, enthusiasm, and understanding of the music enhances the musical experience, rather than detract from it … As a conservative, classically trained musician I was initially sceptical, yet once again life has thrown me a curve ball in the form of this combination. Highly recommended.” Hi-Fi Plus, September 2015

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Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato


Sarah-Jane Brandon, Elizabeth Watts (sopranos), James Gilchrist (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (baritone)

Mark Morris Dance Group & Choeur & Orchestre du Teatro Real Madrid, Jane Glover

'L'Allegro' was Mark Morris's premiere work as Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium in 1988, and has since been performed to critical and audience acclaim all over the world. Winner of numerous awards including a Laurence Olivier Award, 'L'Allegro' uses Milton's text and features sets inspired by William Blake's later watercolours.

Founded in New York City in 1980 by Morris, the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) is considered one of the preeminent modern dance companies, its members praised repeatedly for their technique and their musicality. Live music and community engagement are vital components of the Dance Group, which has toured with its own musicians, the MMDG Music Ensemble, since 1996. Through Access/MMDG programming, the Dance Group provides educational opportunities in dance and music to people of all ages and abilities while on tour internationally and at home at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY.

The performance was filmed July 2014 at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain.

Bonus Feature:

Insights - Mark Morris on L'Allegro

Overture: Concerto grosso Op. 6 No. 1

A tempo giusto / Allegro

97 mins [ballet] and 13 mins [bonus]

Subtitles: French & Spanish

BD25 1080i HD 16:9 2.0 pcm/5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, Region Code ABC

“I was extremely impressed by the energy and stamina of the dancers, who must shed pounds during every performance … as a Gesamtkunstwerk it works very well.” Early Music Review, 2nd August 2015

“Morris's reinterpretation is a consummately musical extravaganza that takes conspicuous inspiration from William Blake's famous Miltonic illustrations…the set-piece dances are often architecturally symmetrical and always strikingly beautiful…anyone fond of Handel's masterpiece should see this” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

“The group extends and challenges the boundaries of classical music and dance; their boundless energy, enthusiasm, and understanding of the music enhances the musical experience, rather than detract from it … As a conservative, classically trained musician I was initially sceptical, yet once again life has thrown me a curve ball in the form of this combination. Highly recommended.” Hi-Fi Plus, September 2015

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Mozart: Opera Arias and Overtures

Mozart: Opera Arias and Overtures


Mozart:

Le nozze di Figaro, K492: Overture

Deh vieni, non tardar (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

Idomeneo, K366: Overture

Quando avran fine omai ... Padre, germani, addio! (from Idomeneo)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

Don Giovanni, K527: Overture

Batti, batti, o bel Masetto (from Don Giovanni)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

Vedrai, carino (from Don Giovanni)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

La clemenza di Tito, K621: Overture

S'altro che lacrime (from La clemenza di Tito)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

La finta giardiniera, K196: Overture

Appena mi vedon (from La finta giardiniera)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

Così fan tutte, K588: Overture

Ei parte...Per pietà (from Così fan tutte)

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)


Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Christian Baldini

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has established impeccable Mozartian credentials with its award-winning discography, to which Mozart: Opera Arias and Overtures is the latest addition.

The SCO’s previous forays into operatic repertoire (Handel with soprano Emma Bell and Mozart, Haydn & Cimarosa with baritone William Berger) have been highly critically acclaimed.

This recording features a hand-picked selection of arias from six of Mozart’s much-loved operas, alongside their respective overtures.

The SCO’s affinity with Mozart’s music is demonstrated with perfect eighteenth-century style in the overtures; whilst the arias see the orchestra lend characterful support.

Award-winning soprano Elizabeth Watts has performed in Don Giovanni at Covent Garden, Così fan tutte for Glyndebourne on Tour and Le nozze di Figaro for Santa Fe Opera and Welsh National Opera; she utilises her experience to create memorable performances.

A love of Mozart inspired conductor Christian Baldini to make music his career so it is fitting that his recording debut with the SCO features repertoire that is so close to his heart.

With a voice described as ‘one of the most beautiful Britain has produced in a generation’ (IRR), Elizabeth Watts has established herself as ‘one of the brightest new talents’ (The Independent).

Watts won the 2006 Kathleen Ferrier Prize and the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize at the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

In 2014 Watts performed in London’s most prestigious venues including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Festival Hall and at the Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.

Christian Baldini is a dynamic artist with a ‘keen ear for detail' (The Scotsman). He regularly conducts several international orchestras including the SCO, and opera for the Aldeburgh Festival.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is a world-renowned orchestra with an outstanding reputation for Mozart.

The SCO’s extensive series of Linn recordings feature Robin Ticciati, Sir Charles Mackerras, Ingrid Fliter, Emma Bell, William Berger, Karen Cargill, Artur Pizarro, Alexander Janiczek and Joseph Swensen.

“Watts is a rising British talent in this repertoire, but her Susanna and Ilia occasionally sound fierce. Her Zerlina is sweeter, and she hits form with Fiordiligi’s Per pieta, from Così fan tutte.” Sunday Times, 14th June 2015

“Watts's lyric soprano has gradually ripened and deepened without losing its purity. With its admixture of mezzo warmth allied to secure, shining high notes, hers is now an ideal Fiordiligi voice. In 'Per pieta' her technical mastery (immaculate runs, precipituous leaps taken with poise) and urgency of feeling make one eager to hear her in the role on stage.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

“The glorious voice of Elizabeth Watts – now established as one Britain’s leading sopranos – more than justifies the purchase price...Christian Baldini makes an impressive recording debut with the SCO, bringing real drive and focus to overtures.” The Observer, 28th June 2015 ****

“This disc shows, and in supremely vivid sound, that a delightful light lyric soprano is on the cusp of becoming something greater…her discreet ornamentation, unforced tone and careful vocal emphasis all seem nigh on perfect.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

“Watts has put together a cracker of a programme … the aria ‘Cara tomba’ is one of several hear-stoppingly beautiful moments on the disc. Watts, Cummings and the English Consort make an ideal partnership in what is one of the most thrilling albums of its kind I’ve heard in recent years; I can’t recommend this recording highly enough.” Early Music Today, September – November 2015

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Mahler: Symphony No. 4

Mahler: Symphony No. 4


Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 portrays another side of the composer, different to the one hitherto seen by the general public. No major battles are fought in this symphony; rather, it is a portrayal of a childlike vision of life and a better world in the Hereafter. Mahler’s Dutch friend and colleague, Alphons Diepenbrock, may well have provided the most fitting description of the nature of this symphony and its position within Mahler’s oeuvre: “[...] in his Symphony No. 4, he exclusively praises the sensations of the soul, severed from all earthly ties, from various angles ⎯either as childish yet unearthly merriment, or as the highest ecstasy attained by mystics in bygone years during the contemplation of the divine. However, one should not search for irony here. The work is like a beautiful dream, an indispensable link in the series of Mahler’s nine symphonies that speak sufficiently of harsh reality, and that, according to some, will one day be considered the monumental musical oeuvre of the present day.”

The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra lives up to its reputation for its brilliant Mahler performances and surpasses all expectations under the baton of conductor Marc Albrecht. And Elizabeth Watts’ performance in the final movement is surely one not to be missed. The chemistry between Watts and the orchestra is utterly pervasive. With a voice described by International Record Review as “one of the most beautiful Britain has produced in a generation”, Watts sweeps the listener off their feet with this sunny, accessible symphony from Mahler. The perfect combination of immaculate performance with impeccable PENTATONE sound quality can only result in a magical musical experience.

“Successively excited, rueful and at peace, [Watts] leaves extremes of colour to the orchestration around her…I especially enjoy Albrecht and the orchestra letting the sunshine into the Scherzo, and their negotiation of the first movement is classical in form and conception…in its self-effacing way, the performance is true to the symphony's deceptive charm” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone - PTC5186487

(SACD)

$15.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

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