Bejun Mehta

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Bejun Mehta

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Hosokawa: Stilles Meer

Hosokawa: Stilles Meer


Susanne Elmark (Claudia), Mihoko Fujimura (Haruko), Bejun Mehta (Stephan), Viktor Rud (Hiroto), Marek Gasztecki (Fisherman)

Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Vokalsolisten Hamburg, Kent Nagano (conductor) & Oriza Hirata (director)

First Hamburgische Staatsoper production with Musical Director Kent Nagano to be released on DVD.

One of Germany’s most acclaimed theatrical events of recent years: Stilles Meer (Silent Sea), by Japan’s most important living composer, dedicated to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that took place on March 11, 2011.

Toshio Hosokawa‘s opera draws on the Noh play Sumidagawa (Sumida River) about a mother’s overwhelming grief on the death of her son, and Mori Ōgai’s book Maihime (The Dancing Girl), about an ill-fated German-Japanese love affair. The production is staged by the celebrated Japanese director-playwright Oriza Hirata.

A fantastic cast, led by stars such as Danish soprano Susanne Elmark and counter tenor Bejun Mehta.

Including a 15-minute documentary in which the lead cast visit the tsunami area and the production is explained.

DVD Picture: 16:9 – NTSC

DVD Sound: PCM Stereo,

DD 5.1, DTS 5.1

Language/subtitles: N/A

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Running time: 120 mins (105 mins Concert, 15 mins Bonus)

Production year: 2016

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EuroArts - 8024272998

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El Maestro: Farinelli

El Maestro: Farinelli


Bach, C P E:

Symphony in E minor, Wq. 178 (H653)

Conforto:

La festa cinese: Overture

World premiere recording

Corradini, F:

Baile de las máscaras

World premiere recording

Hasse, J A:

Symphony in G minor, Op. 5/6

Jommelli:

Periodical Overture

World premiere recording

Marcolini:

La dicha en la desgracia y vida campestre: Overture

Nebra Blasco:

Tempestad grande amigo

World premiere recording

Seguidillas

Canción

World premiere recording

Porpora:

Carlo il calvo: Overture

World premiere recording

Alto Giove (from Polifemo)

Traetta:

Armida: Overture

World premiere recording


Pablo Heras-Casado makes his conducting debut performing instrumental and vocal music associated with Farinelli, the legendary 18th-century castrato who served as impresario and court musician to the kings of Spain.

This new album contains works by Baroque composers and features eight world premier recordings, including some arias sung by Bejun Mehta, “the best countertenor in the world” (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

As well as being a world class conductor, Heras-Casado prides himself on being fluent in Spanish, English, Italian & French.

“the disc's highlight is countertenor Bejun Mehta's poignant and beautifully controlled reading of Porpora's aria 'Alto Giove' from Polifemo...Concerto Köln, under the dynamic baton of Pablo Heras-Casado, offers such taut and spirited playing that surely even the melancholic Philip would have cheered.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

“The disc’s selling-point is the Spanish inflection to the well-known idiom, as in a stampy fandango by Nebra and a jaunty dance by Francesco Corradini; there is a pleasing vivacity to everything, alongside Iberian rhythms and instrumentation...Heras-Casado clearly feels strongly about this stuff and gets punctilious performances from Concerto Köln.” Opera Now ***

“The disc feels bitty, the result, one suspects, of trying to tell too complex a tale in too little space...But the individual numbers are terrific, the conducting flamboyant and the playing punchy and suave.” The Guardian, 10th July 2014 ****

“Aside from the dance rhythms and castanets, found especially in pieces by José de Nebra, there’s another reason to tap the foot. It’s the conducting of the Granada-born Pablo Heras-Casado, now a fast-rising star. With him at the helm, the period instrument stalwarts of Concerto Köln have no chance of sounding podgy.” The Times, 23rd May 2014 ****

DG Archiv - 4792050

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Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice

Filmed at the Baroque Theatre of Cˇeský Krumlov Castle


Bejun Mehta (Orfeo), Eva Liebau (Euridice) & Regula Mühlemann (Amore)

Collegium 1704, Collegium Vocale 1704, Václav Luks

Cinema Edition.

A Film by Ondrˇej Havelka.

The Baroque Theatre of Cˇ eský Krumlov Castle provides an ideal setting for one of the most important operas in music history, Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Director Ondrˇej Havelka captures much more than a stage performance: combining period details with modern psychological interpretation he chooses a cinematic approach that literally takes us behind the scenes of this unique venue. Bejun Mehta, ‘arguably the best countertenor in the world today’ (Sueddeutsche Zeitung), lends credibility to the emotions tormenting Orfeo’s heart. As his beloved Euridice, Austrian soprano Eva Liebau juggles joy and jealousy. Bringing comic relief to the work’s dark tone is Regula Mühlemann as Amore, who cheerily sends mortals zigzagging on their way to life, love – and, maybe, death. Under the baton of baroque specialist Václav Luks, the splendid soloists are supported by the Prague orchestra and vocal ensemble Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704. This is the perfect new release to celebrate Gluck’s 300th anniversary in 2014!

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.0

Picture Format: 16:9

Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)

Blu-Ray Resolution: 1080i High Definition

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

Running Time: 75 mins

FSK: 0

Worldwide available

Region Code: worldwide

“[Mehta's] creamy tone and expressive use of vocal nuance is a notable strength...his acting is committed and his vocal articulation, expression and characterization are exemplary...Eva Liebau sings strongly and acts well as Euridice whilst Regula Mühlemann as Amore, in colourful attire, and after a spectacular entrance, does so as well.” MusicWeb International, 1st July 2014

“Using the 1762 Vienna version of the score (with judicious cuts), it boasts an Orfeo of blazing dramatic commitment in countertenor Bejun Mehta and makes haunting use of light and shadow, especially in the great Hades scene.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014

“At its best, indeed, in the unadorned unfolding of hell and then heaven, the experience strikes fire in a manner crucially lacking in other filmed Orfeos. Unfortunately, not even this one comes free of curious directorial glosses...But since [Mehta] is a superbly commanding, passionate interpreter of Gluck's vocal lines, and since his cast colleagues give accounts of their music no less sensitive, the powerful impact of the whole survives the passing flaws.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ****

“[Mühlemann] portrays the character [Amor] with great charm. Eva Liebau is excellent as Eurydice, uncomprehending and then furious...Mehta mourns Eurydice at the start with tenderness, and there's a nice sense of wonder at the Elysian Fields...The period orchestra under Vaclav Luks is fine. There is much to enjoy here.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - September 2014

Building a Library

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - July 2014

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Arthaus Musik - 108103

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Che puro ciel

Che puro ciel

The Rise of Classical Opera


Bach, J C:

No, che non ha la sorte...Vo solcando un mar crudele (from Artaserse)

Gluck:

Se il fulmine sospendi (from Ezio)

Pensa a serbarmi, o cara (from Ezio)

Che puro ciel (Orfeo ed Euridice)

Vieni a' regni del riposo (from Orfeo ed Euridice)

Hasse, J A:

Dei di Roma, ah perdonate! (from Il Trionfo di Clelia)

Mozart:

Già dagli occhi il velo è tolto (from Mitridate, rè di Ponto)

Ah di si nobil alma (from Ascanio in Alba)

Perché tacer degg'io?...Cara, lontano ancora (from Ascanio in Alba)

Traetta:

Ah, se lo vedi piangere (from Antigona)

Dormi Oreste! (from Ifigenia in Tauride)

Ah, sì, da te dipende (from Antigona)


In the famous Preface to Alceste (1767), Christoph Willibald Gluck and his librettist Ranieri de' Calzabigi posited a new direction for opera. They spoke of moving beyond Baroque forms, of striving for a new naturalism in opera. They wanted, in Calzabigi's lovely phrase, to liberate the language of the heart. Taken from the height of this Reform period, the arias on this disc reveal composers exploring and experimenting, at struggle and at play, as they create the new forms that bring to opera the noble simplicity of the Classical era.

“Mehta shows how [coloratura passages] can have real expressive point and dramatic purpose, while his purity of line in quiet passages is ravishing...René Jacobs's meticulous accompaniments with the Akademie für Alte Musik add the finishing touches.” The Guardian, 14th November 2013 ****

“a well-chosen showcase, Mehta’s dramatic instincts are effectively deployed, and the accompaniments in the recitatives are handled with all the fluency we’ve come to expect from Jacobs complete Mozart opera recordings” CD Review, 16th November 2013

“if you have an ear for the tragic passions beneath the music’s formal contours, you will succumb to its expressive grace, especially with interpreters as persuasive as Mehta and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under René Jacobs.” Financial Times, 21st December 2013 ****

“Jacobs and Bejun Mehta unleash the primal energies buried in magnificent yet largely forgotten operas...Jacobs's abrupt tempo twists, the instrumentalists' boldness and the chorus's power make such ensemble sections as electrifying as Mehta's solos. This is a daring and important retelling of the story of Classical opera.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

“Always acutely alive to text and dramatic situation...Mehta's dramatic involvement elevates some rather routine invention in the items by the teenage Mozart...The most enjoyable, intelligently planned countertenor recital to have come my way in years.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

“Mehta tackles the tumultuous emotions and bravura technicalities of the great accompanied recitatives and arias that these innovative composers provided for the finest singers of the age. He provides solid style and a strong sense of purpose.” Opera Now ***

GGramophone Awards 2014

Finalist - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - February 2014

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902172

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Down by the Salley Gardens

Down by the Salley Gardens

Works by Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Howells & Quilter


Berkeley, L:

The Horseman

Finzi:

Since we loved

The sigh

At Middle-Field Gate in February (from I Said to Love)

Gurney:

Down by the Salley Gardens

Hely-Hutchinson:

Old Mother Hubbard - Set in the manner of Händel

Howells:

King David

The Widow Bird

The Little Boy Lost

Purcell:

Music for a while, Z583

arr. Tippett

Lord, what is man?, Z192

arr. Britten

Let the night perish (Job's Curse), Z191

arr. Britten

Quilter:

It was a lover and his lass

Three Shakespeare Songs, Op. 6

Hey, ho, the wind and the rain (No. 5 from Five Shakespeare Songs, Op. 23)

Take, O take those lips away

Stanford:

La Belle Dame sans merci (John Keats) (1877)

Vaughan Williams:

Linden Lea

Bright is the Ring of Words (No. 8 from Songs of Travel)

Warlock:

Jillian of Berry


Bejun Mehta (countertenor) & Julius Drake (piano)

This programme offers a vivid and varied cross-section of English song, ranging from the Edwardian aesthetic of Quilter and early Vaughan Williams to the intensely expressive style of Howells and Finzi. The Purcell realisations by Britten and Tippett, meanwhile, are products of two great 20th-century composers engaging with their musical heritage. In all these different styles, Bejun Mehta shows the same verbal and vocal mastery that won such acclaim for his debut Handel recital on harmonia mundi.

“Bejun Mehta certainly can't be faulted on his eclecticism in his whistle-stop tour of English song...Mehta's singing is so heart-stoppingly beautiful and musically perceptive that you wish he had recorded whole cycles rather than just representative songs.” The Guardian, 1st September 2011 ****

“Mehta's gift for mood and atmosphere is heard in the light beauty of Quilter's "It was a lover and his lass", the sweet melancholy of Gurney's "Down by the Salley Gardens" or the veiled mystery of Lennox Berkeley's "The Horseman". Pianist Julius Drake provides customary alert, expressive accompaniment.” The Observer, 11th September 2011

“Mehta is a technically excellent singer; with a firm well-supported line; an unusually resonant lower range; and fine expressive diction, well equal to Julius Drake's sturdy accompaniment. And he's hardly more bloodless than genteel English tenors of the era...he exploits his thinner tone deftly for unusual, even eerie effects, especially in Stanford's chilling La belle dame snas merci” BBC Music Magazine, November 2011 *****

“Any suspicion that these songs might sound lukewarm or tentative in the hands of a countertenor is soon dispelled by Mehta's invigorating singing of Quilter's 'Blow, blow, thou winter wind' and the keen way he dramatises Stanford's 'La Belle Dame sans merci'. The verbal point he brings to a handful of Purcell songs in arrangements by Britten and Tippett is also appreciated.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2011

“Mehta may not possess the most extensive of vocal paintboxes but he does gradate the shades at his disposal to good effect: pastels rather than oils. In Drake he has a partner who draws suitable sounds from the piano.” International Record Review, November 2011

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902093

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Handel: Belshazzar

Handel: Belshazzar


Kenneth Tarver (Belshazzar), Rosemary Joshua (Nitocris), Bejun Mehta (Cyrus), Kristina Hammärström (Daniel), Neal Davies (Gobrias), Christina Sampson, Lucy Taylor, Andrew Radley, Richard Wilberforce, Vernon Kirk & Andrew Davies

RIAS Kammerchor & Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, René Jacobs

Directed by Christof Nel – A Film by Don Kent

Set Designer: Roland Aeschlimann

Costume Designer: Bettina Walter

Produced by Bel Air Media / Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2008

Handel's Belshazzar at the Aix Festival was imported from the Staatsoper Berlin. Berlin had built a huge, magnificent production and imported English and American opera singers, including star-turn countertenor Bejun Mehta. Add to this a superb local Baroque instrumental ensemble and an accomplished vocal ensemble, not to mention the world-renowned early music conductor, René Jacobs: and voilà, an operatic hit.

Christophe Nel, a well-respected director in progressive German opera houses teamed up with famed Swiss minimalist set designer Roland Aeschlimann and costume designer Bettina Walter to create a production which respected the supposed austerity of oratorio. This experienced team brought Handel's not-so-high drama and philosophic tragedy to almost operatic dramatic standards as the Persian prince Cyrus overran the dissolute Babylonians and freed the captive Jews.

“The Persian prince Cyrus, was sumptuously sung in heroic stances by Bejun Mehta; Rosemary Joshua, Belshazzar's mother Nitocris, sang in convincingly Handelian terms, and convincingly portrayed a religious zealot troubled by her wayward son. Most beautiful too was the singing of Neal Davies as the Syrian Gobrias, whose son had been killed by the dissolute emperor Belshazzar, a role also well sung and broadly characterised by American tenor, Kenneth Tarver. The star of the show was the RIAS-Kammerchor, able to personify Babylonians or Jews at the drop of a hat, singing magnificently. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin again proved itself a world-class chamber ensemble." musicwebinternational

“the dramatic essence of the story...comes over in a striking semi-expressionist fashion. There's a strong set of central performances. Though Tarver is encouraged to go over the top as Nel's bisexual hedonist villain, his bright and brilliant tenor is purposefully deployed...Joshua supplies sobriety and maternal concern on a grand scale...Mehta's King Cyrus is immaculately sung and powerfully acted...Jacobs proves a consistently lively presence” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

“Happily, stage producers Christof Nel and Martina Jochem place their faith entirely in Charles Jennen's plot and characters...The capable RIAS Chamber Choir get stuck into the dramatic story and the entire cast achieve an abundance of highly effective acting and dramatic visual ideas...Most of the singers are superb and their acting draws us into the contrasting moralities and fortunes of their characters” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011

“Ten minutes into this gripping performance and you understand Rene Jacobs's enthusiasm for the idea [of staging it] - the music lends itself perfectly to dramatization...Jacobs and his cast respond thoughtfully, but not over-zealously, to Handel's vivid characterization...[Tarver] looks and sounds like the perfect Belshazzar...Joshua is spellbinding...[Mehta] has an instinctive feel for Handel...it's one of the most convincing stagings of a Handel oratorio I've seen.” International Record Review, September 2011

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - August 2011

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Harmonia Mundi - HMD9909028/29

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Handel: Ombra Cara

Handel: Ombra Cara


Handel:

Sento la gioia (Amadigi)

Voi, che udite il mio lamento (from Agrippina)

Agitato da fiere tempeste (Riccardo Primo)

Stille amare (Tolomeo)

Ah Stigie larve! (from Orlando)

Rodrigo: Overture

Ombra cara di mia sposa (from Radamisto)

Fra tempeste funeste, Con rauco memorio (Rodelinda)

Fammi Combattere (Orlando)

Per le porte de tormento (from Sosarme)


"one of the finest Handel opera recitals I have heard... evidence of a superior musician at the peak of his vocal powers. He has luxury support from the Freiburg Barockers and Jacobs, himself a former countertenor and a no less imaginative Handelian. The icing on this sumptuous cake is the gorgeous duet from Sosarme, in which Rosemary Joshua’s voice blends ideally with Mehta’s. A treat from start to finish."

Hugh Canning, 2 January 2011

"Recital discs devoted to Handel may abound at the moment, but few if any have been as comprehensively impressive as this one... It's wonderful singing and on this evidence, Mehta's beauty of tone and musical intelligence confirm his position in the highest echelon of contemporary countertenors, alongside the likes of David Daniels and Andreas Scholl."

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 24 December 2011 *****

“Bejun Mehta’s disc towers above the other Handel ‘medley’ recordings currently fashionable among opera stars. Musicality and a brilliant intelligence emanate from every track. Mehta and René Jacobs, by contrast, achieve a perfect meeting of musical minds…This is not just another aria collection, but a celebration of genius, in composition and performance alike.”

Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 *****/*****

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Benjamin: Into the Little Hill

Benjamin: Into the Little Hill


Benjamin, G:

Into The Little Hill

Susan Bickley (contralto), Hila Pitmann (soprano)

London Sinfonietta, George Benjamin

Flight

Michael Cox (flute)

Dream of the Song

Nederlands Kamerkoor (chorus), Bejun Mehta (countertenor)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, George Benjamin


Written in his late teens: Flight, for solo flute, whose swooping crests and curlicues are fervently relished in Michael Cox’s performance. Benjamin describes the piece as ‘inspired by the sight of birds soaring and dipping over the peaks of the Swiss Alps’. Listening to the piece you’ll hear a panoply of songs surfing the musical thermals in the alpine ether: low, long-breathed cries and calls, filigree flocks of ornamentation in the atmospheric heights of the flute’s register, a chorus of vapours conjured by a single instrument.

Into The Little Hill is based on the Pied Piper story, allowing audiences an immediate entry point into the opera’s dramaturgy. But Crimp’s re-telling simultaneously updates the story, with its politicians, photographs, and limousines, and opens up further mythic dimensions to the narrative. The drama of Into the Little Hill is concise, clear, and simultaneously ambiguous, even chilling. Benjamin says, ‘Martin’s text is hard-edged, formal, and hyper-condensed’. The reason for its musical and dramatic success is Benjamin’s unerring feeling for expressive characterisation. Each layer of Into the Little Hill’s score is immediately identifiable, from the Crowd’s baying cries of ‘Kill them’ right at the start of the piece, to the rodentine scurrying of the rat’s music, and the Mother’s lamenting grief in the last scene.

Dream of the Song is a mysteriously sensual and sensually strange song-cycle for countertenor, a halo of female voices that are similar in register, but so different in timbre and sound and expression, and orchestra. The counter-tenor sings poems, in English, by Jewish poets of 11th century Andalucia, themselves inspired by Arabic poetry of earlier centuries. There are images of ravishment and wonder here - moonlight, the celestial tent of the sky, a dream of a gazelle, a harp, a flute - but they are always undercut by other ideas. Above all, it’s the gossamer rapier of Benjamin’s music that cuts to the heart of these settings.

“The opera performance is reason enough to buy this disc, but it is equally welcome for the recording of Benjamin’s stunning recent song-cycle Dream of the Song…the settings range from Mehta’s breathtaking stillness against quiet choral mutterings in ‘Gazing through the night’ to the searing exhortations for the choir alone of ‘Gacela del amor maravilloso’…this latest addition by Nimbus to the Benjamin discography is altogether essential listening” BBC Music Magazine, July 2017 *****

“a rounded and absorbing programme...Hila Plitmann and Susan Bickley evince drama and intimacy aplenty in their multiple roles and Benjamin draws a superfine response from the London Sinfonietta in fastidious scoring (basset-horns and cornets prominent) that greatly enhances the mesmeric aura.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“With its unsettling combination of Gothic claustrophobia and luminous beauty, Benjamin's first opera - a tense 30-minute two-hander, based on the story of The Pied Piper - has much in common with his recent award-winner Written on Skin; the composer conducts, revealing its uncanny beauties with superb clarity in its second outing on record.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2017

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Horizon 7

Horizon 7


Benjamin, G:

Dream of the Song

Bejun Mehta (countertenor)

Nederlands Kamerkoor, George Benjamin

Lindberg, M:

Era

David Robertson

Rijnvos:

fuoco e fumo

Daniel Harding

Tan Dun:

Double Bass Concerto 'The Wolf'

Dominic Seldis (double bass)


The seventh release in RCO Live's Horizon series features world premieres recorded during three concert seasons. Magnus Lindberg's sumptuous 'Era' – a birthday present from the Concertgebouw Hall to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - dates from the 2012-2013 season. Both Tan Dun's catchy double bass concerto 'The Wolf' and Richard Rijnvos's 'fuoco e fumo' about the 1996 destruction by fire of the Venetian opera house La Fenice, are from 2015. The programme opens with a beguiling 20-minute work for countertenor, women’s voices and orchestra, 'Dream of the Song', Benjamin’s first work since his ground-breaking opera 'Written on Skin', was premiered in September at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw by the countertenor Bejun Mehta, the ladies of the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by its composer. The work sets verse by three major poets who spent formative years in Granada; two Hebrew poets of mid-11th century, Samuel HaNagid and Solomon Ibn Gabirol (sung by solo countertenor in English versions by Peter Cole), and Gabriel Garcia Lorca (sung by the female chorus in the original Spanish). Commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw, BBC and Boston Symphony Orchestras and the Festival d’Automne, the work received its UK premiere on 18 March with Iestyn Davies, the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen.

Recorded live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 17-18 January 2013 (Lindberg), 29-30 January 2015 (Tan Dun), 12 June 2015 (Rijnvos), 25-26 September 2015 (Benjamin)

“Mehta…is alive to the sense of every syllable. The whole performance projects Benjamin’s soundworld and its luxurious interplay between instruments and voices far more vividly than it came across at the Barbican; it’s easily the most striking score in this collection.” The Guardian, 26th May 2016

“The true wonder of the RCO’s ‘Horizon’ series is in the sonic journey each record presents. And you’ll want to hear George Benjamin’s Dream of the Song, especially in this almost creepily perfect performance from Bejun Mehta…[the] breathtaking, chameleonic playing from Seldis that tells you why he’s this incredible orchestra’s principal” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

“channelling the spirit of Sibelius, not only in that obvious homage to the 4th Symphony a century earlier, but also in the way Lindberg layers tempos; an apparently fast speed in the foreground while the foundations below move with a kind of glacial inevitability.” CD Review, 29th July 2016

“Benjamin’s song cycle … has a warm (and sometimes searing) sensuality which is eloquently projected by Bejun Mehta … Tan Dun’s Wolf… [is] a virtuoso vehicle for bass player Dominic Seldis, and like everything else on the CD, is immaculately recorded and expertly performed” BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 *****

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Handel: Rodelinda

Handel: Rodelinda

Live recording of the premiere at the Theater an der Wien, March 20, 2011


Danielle de Niese (Rodelinda), Bejun Mehta (Bertarido), Kurt Streit (Grimoaldo), Konstantin Wolff (Garibaldo), Malena Ernman (Eduige) & Matthias Rexroth (Unulfo)

Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Set Design: Herbert Murauer

Lighting Design: Bernd Pukrabek

Choreography: Thom Stuart

"The plot concerns politics in early-Medieval Italy, but director Philipp Harnoncourt (Nikolaus’s son) has updated it to a present-day cityscape...The kings and dukes of the libretto map neatly onto the production’s sleazy modern underworld of gangsters and drug dealers. Rodelinda is a trophy mob wife, and her outcast husband hides among a group of homeless people.

Philipp Harnoncourt eschews the jokey post-modern antics of many Handel productions in favor of a realistic, deadly serious approach. The entire production takes place around a grim cement apartment block whose exact geographic location is never clear...Soprano and Baroque opera glamor queen Danielle De Niese was an appropriately beautiful and steadfast Rodelinda, helpless at the start and becoming braver as she learned to play the men’s game... The star of the show was countertenor Bejun Mehta as Bertarido, who gave a thrilling performance. Endowed with a rich sound and a considerable variety of vocal colors, he sang his character’s mournful music with plangent phrasing, excellent dramatic timing, and, when required, stunning virtuosity. While not as accomplished an actor as De Niese, he had presence and intensity onstage.

As usurper Grimoaldo, Kurt Streit created a a dim-witted yet somehow savvy heavy, finally afflicted with a crisis of conscience in his Act 3 “Fatto inferno,” a surprisingly powerful scene...Swedish mezzo Malena Ernman boomed with authority in the low-lying role of Eduige, singing spotless coloratura even through some exceptionally complicated stage business of taking off clothes, dealing with a cleaning woman, and, at one point, scorching Rodelinda’s wedding dress with a hot iron. Countertenor Matthias Rexroth has a paler tone than Mehta, but nonetheless was excellent as the double agent Unulfo, here one of the most respectable figures in the community. From the buzzy strings to throaty oboes, the sound has a rough vividness that a modern orchestra can’t match, and their technical polish is unimpeachable. In the Theater an der Wien’s small space, the 30-member orchestra sounded Wagnerian in volume, but never overpowered the singers. Vocal ornamentation in the da capo sections was tasteful and relatively restrained.

Despite some weaknesses in the staging, Baroque opera fans should not miss this production, and it should win a few new ones as well." Zerbinetta, Bachtrack, 23/3/2011

Sound Format: PCM 2.0, Picture Format: 16:9,

Region: 0/NTSC

DVD1: 125', DVD2: 64'

Language: Italian, Subtitles: F, G, GB,

“If the title-role heroine remains an enigma - half-Penelope, half-Medea - and is more kitten than tigress in Danielle de Niese's palely sung interpretation, Harnoncourt Jnr has done much to add fibre to the supporting roles...The laurels go to countertenor Bejun Mehta's Bertarido, sympathetically acted and brilliantly sung.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ***

“some very creditable performances on the musical side.” International Record Review, February 2015

“Mehta offers a star performance as Bertarido, his smooth, unflawed countertenor always perfectly in tune…de Niese’s Rodelinda supplies neat and effective vocalism, and she once again proves an accomplished actress…The playing of Concentus Musicus Wien is expert, with Harnoncourt senior finding a tempo that works for each aria and its singer while generally maintain a steady-as-she-goes approach.” Opera, April 2015

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

belvedere - BVD10144

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$26.25

This item is currently out of stock at the UK distributor. You may order it now but please be aware that it may be six weeks or more before it can be despatched.

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