Lawrence Zazzo

Counter-tenor

Lawrence Zazzo

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Handel: Saul

Handel: Saul


Rosemary Joshua (Michal), Emma Bell (Merab), Lawrence Zazzo (David), Jeremy Ovenden (Jonathan), Michael Slattery (High Priest, Witch of Endor), Finnur Bjarnason (Amalekite, Abner), Henry Waddington (Doeg, Samuel), Gidon Saks (Saul)

RIAS Kammerchor & Concerto Köln, René Jacobs

“Concerto Köln...has long been one of the leading period instrument orchestras and they play with vitality and rhythmic swagger. You only need to listen to the overture to realise that this is the real thing. The 36-strong RIAS Kammerchor is another important building block in this production, powerful and fine-tuned and they really make the most of the choruses, so central to this drama … The recording is excellent and the notes informative and well written.” MusicWeb International, 21st October 2015

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Harmonia Mundi HMHeritage - HMY2921877/78

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A Royal Trio: Bononcini, Ariosti, Handel

A Royal Trio: Bononcini, Ariosti, Handel

Arias & Scenes


Ariosti:

Spirate, o iniqui marmi...Voi d'un figlio tanto misero (from Coriolano)

Freme l'onda (from Il naufragio vicino)

Vespasiano: Overture

Bononcini, G B:

Così stanco Pellegrino (from Crispo)

Per la gloria d'adorarvi (from Griselda)

Tigre piagata (from Muzio Scevola)

Handel:

Admeto: Ballo di Larve

Orride larve ... Chiudetevi, miei lumi (from Admeto)

Admeto: Sinfonia I

Admeto: Sinfonia II

Flavio Air Rompo i lacci

Va tacito e nascosto (from Giulio Cesare)

Tanti affanni (from Ottone)

Vivi, tiranno, io t'ho scampato (from Rodelinda)


Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)

La Nuova Musica, David Bates

Lawrence Zazzo talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about A Royal Trio here.

A dazzling Royal trio. Founded in 1719 as the first opera company in the English-speaking world, the Royal Academy of Music commissioned and premièred some of the finest 18th-century operas, including Handel’s 'Giulio Cesare'. Here are a dozen arias from operas written in the 10 year period from 1719-29 for their star castrati, particularly Senesino: some well known [Va tacito] and some less well known. Renowned American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is joined by La Nuova Musica and David Bates for a snapshot of the Academy’s hits circa 1725 featuring arias by Handel, Ariosti and Bononcini.

“Is there no end to the making of countertenor baroque opera recital discs? The genre can too easily turn into showy virtuosity, but this one from Lawrence Zazzo is exceptionally well thought out... the exuberant Vivi, tiranno rounds things off in style, with Zazzo in glorious voice throughout.” The Observer, 19th October 2014 ****

“This is an accomplished recital from both singer and orchestra, the latter playing freshly under Bates’s direction in a programme which contains some rarely heard music.” International Record Review, November 2014

“I enjoyed this snapshot of London's operatic life almost without reservation. Zazzo and the players - not least the fabulous horns - have all the boldness and virtuoso panache one could wish for in the extrovert arias, culminating in a show-stopping 'Vivi, tiranno'.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“[Zazzo gives] committed and dramatically excellent renditions of these roles. The surround sound is outstanding, and the production values rank with harmonia mundi’s best, which is always considerable.” Audiophile Audition, 11th November 2014

“This is an exceptionally interesting and well researched release…The playing is superb throughout.” Early Music Review, December 2014

“In a world awash with fine countertenors Lawrence Zazzo is one of its aristocrats. The possessor of a voice of natural beauty and an enviable ease of production, he is on excellent form, singing with noble tone and dramatic conviction…Zazzo is given fine support by Bates and the excellent La Nuova Musica.” Early Music Today, June/August 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Harmonia Mundi - HMU807590

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David Greilsammer: Mozart In-between

David Greilsammer: Mozart In-between


Mozart:

Symphony No. 23 in D major, K181

Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K271 "Jeunehomme"

David Greilsammer (piano)

Thamos, König in Ägypten, KV 345: excerpts

No. 2: Maestoso – Allegro & No. 2: Maestoso – Allegro

Venga pur, minacci e frema (from Mitridate, rè di Ponto)

Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)

Schuler:

In-between

World premiere recording


L‘Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, David Greilsammer

In David’s relatively short career, he has already established himself a name for his unique interpretation and presentation of Mozart’s works. In 2008 he caused a sensation in Paris by performing Mozart’s entire keyboard sonatas (all 18 of them) in one marathon day.

On Greilsammer’s 2nd recording for Sony Classical he explores his “infinite love” for Mozart- directing his ensemble “L’Orchestra Chambre de Genève” through a varied programme of the composer’s early works, including the “Jeunehomme” piano concerto (which Greilsammer plays/directs from the keyboard), Symphony No. 23 and an early castrato aria from „Mitridate” opera sung by countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, amongst other works.

Continuing Greilsammer’s philosophy of combining music from different eras to provide new and enlightened listening experiences – the addition of Denis Schuler’s world premiere recording “In-Between” serves as a contemporary mirror on Mozart’s early works.

Greilsammer himself explains the concept and title: “This recording presents a voyage that invites the listener to meet a Mozart we never expected: ambiguous, uncertain, overcome by fear and lost between distant worlds.”

“Being a David Greilsammer disc, this is no ordinary recording of Mozart...Greilsammer’s conducting and piano playing generate a freshness and imagination that allow each of the works to be enjoyed as a dynamic interpretation in its own right.” The Telegraph, 8th November 2012 ****

“Greilsammer has dug up some little-known music, including two numbers from [Thamos] which are a real revelation...Both pieces are performed frenetically fast, and that confrontational style characterises Greilsammer's disc as a whole...All in all, a stimulating disc, though those of a nervous disposition should steer clear.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 ***

“his reading as a whole abounds in imaginative phrasing and spontaneous-sounding interaction with the Geneva CO, though the more extrovert passages can sound overblown...Greilsammer's playing in the finale is suitably thrilling, with dramatic interjections from the horns.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Greilsammer directs a convincing performance of No.23, making the symphony sound more powerful than I remember” MusicWeb International, March 2013

“The superb, thoughtful Israeli-born pianist and conductor David Greilsammer presents works here by the young Mozart that reveal, he believes, the composer’s inner ambiguities...Greilsammer’s performances with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra are lively, fresh and beautiful.” New York Times, December 2013

Sony - 88725430252

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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto


Natalie Dessay (Cleopatra), Lawrence Zazzo (Cesare), Varduhi Abrahamyan (Cornelia), Isabel Leonard (Sesto), Christophe Dumaux (Tolomeo), Nathan Berg (Achille), Dominique Visse (Nireno), Aimery Lefèvre (Curio)

Le Concert d`Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (stage director)

Giulio Cesare, the most popular of Handel’s operas, is named after the great Roman emperor, but its most memorable character is Cleopatra. In this production by Laurent Pelly from Paris’ splendid Palais Garnier, the role of the Egyptian queen is assumed for the first time by Natalie Dessay, described by the Telegraph as “a supreme vocal enchantress”.

Giulio Cesare is the opera that, over the quarter century, has led the vigorous revival of interest in Handel’s works for the stage. Now in the repertoire of theatres around the world, it offers a dazzling array of dramatic situations and moods – with music to match – and the seductive and captivating character of Cleopatra exemplifies its (to quote Shakespeare) “infinite variety”.

Natalie Dessay chose to make her stage debut in the role of the Egyptian queen at Paris’s Palais Garnier, an opera house of legendary splendour and beauty and, seating an audience of less than 2,000, well suited to the intimacy of baroque opera. Dessay had already recorded all the character’s arias for Virgin Classics with conductor Emanuelle Haïm (catalogue number 5099990787225), who was also in charge of the performances at the Palais Garnier in early 2011. “Every note is as clear and lustrous as a freshly polished crystal chandelier,” said the Toronto Star of the soprano’s recorded performance, while the Telegraph (UK) enthused that “Dessay proves a supreme vocal enchantress”.

She proved a svelte physical enchantress, too, in the staging by Laurent Pelly – who, notably, directed Dessay in the sparkling production of Donizetti’s La Fille de régiment that was seen in London, New York and Vienna and released on DVD by Virgin Classics (catalogue No. 5099951900298). His witty and stylised conception of Handel’s opera was described thus by the Wall Street Journal: “The curtain opens on the vast storeroom of an Egyptian museum, stuffed to the rafters with statuary and paintings, crates and frames. As a guard reads his newspaper, a statue of Julius Caesar comes alive – plaster gray from top to toe, including his Roman soldier's garb. Caesar bursts into song, and sculpted heads and busts aligned on storage shelves follow suit, singing along in chorus. We're off into the wacky world of director Laurent Pelly's new production of Handel's 1724 Giulio Cesare at the Paris Opéra ... there is never a dull moment.” The newspaper went on to praise the excellence of the cast: “not just the stellar Ms. Dessay but also counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo as Caesar, mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan as Cornelia and especially mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Sesto”.

In The Sunday Times (UK), Hugh Canning, an enthusiast for Handel’s operas, wrote that: “At the end of Act II, Cleopatra has one of Handel's most sublime arias, the great G minor lament ‘Se pietà di me non senti’, and Dessay sang it as well as I have ever heard in the theatre. She is an artist who understands the synergy of notes and text.”

“finely managed and skilfully delivered by a strong team of singing actors. None more so than Natalie Dessay's Cleopatra, maybe past her first flush of vocal youth but still looking glamorous and singing with considerable technical and expressive command. Lawrence Zazzo's Caesar matches her...Many good things, then, not least in Emmanuel Haïm's conducting” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ***

“this is a radical production in that, instead of American oil barons or Bollywood dancers moonlighting in Vegas, the characters look surprisingly like ancient Romans and Egyptians. Zazzo's outstandingly imperious title-hero is the best sung and acted countertenor performance of the part I've encountered...Haim's admirable pacing and sensitivity for shapely phrasing are offset by convoluted continuo intruding during recitatives” Gramophone Magazine, December 2012

“Dessay brings real star quality to the part of Cleopatra, and Isabel Leonard is similarly inspired as Sextus; both project plenty of fire into their faster arias, and both are suitably plangent in their slower ones...Haim and her musicians do a good job by the score” MusicWeb International, December 2012

“Lawrence Zazzo’s imperious Cesare and Isabel Leonard’s ardent Sesto, [are] both beautifully sung and always faithful to Handel’s sublime music.” Early Music Today ***

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Summer Opera Sale

Erato - 0709399

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

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Handel: Athalia

Handel: Athalia


Geraldine McGreevy (Athalia), Nuria Rial (Josabeth), Lawrence Zazzo (Joad), Charles Daniels (Mathan), David Wilson-Johnson (Abner)

Kammerorchester Basel, Vocalconsort Berlin, Paul Goodwin

Presto Disc of the Week

26th September 2011

Deutsche HM - 88697723172

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.50

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Rutter - Gloria

Rutter - Gloria


Bernstein:

Chichester Psalms

Poulenc:

Quatre petites prières de Saint François d'Assise

Litanies à la Vierge noire

Exultate Deo

Salve Regina

Rutter:

Gloria


John English (tenor), Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor), Rachel Masters (harp) & Jonathan Brown (organ)

Choir of Clare College, Cambridge & Corydon Singers, Matthew Best & Timothy Brown

Here are dynamic modern performances of some of the most popular of all sacred vocal works written in the second half of the last century, expertly done by chamber choirs soaked in the tradition which the works themselves draw upon.

The Gloria is perhaps the best-known of the extended compositions by John Rutter, composer of such choral evergreens as A Gaelic Blessing and Shepherds’ Pipe Carol. Rutter’s setting fully captures the exuberance of the text, with sparkling orchestral colours and fullbodied choral parts.

Like the Gloria, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (socalled because of the nature of their original commission, made in 1964 by the Dean of Chichester Cathedral, Walter Hussey) may be musically sophisticated in technical terms, but never at the expense of creating an instant impression or of serving the texts. The poignant treble solo in the second movement is still, along with ‘Maria’, one of Bernstein’s most imperishable melodies.

Poulenc, too, had melodies pouring out of him, though his settings of ancient liturgical texts (and rustic peasant prayers) in Litanies à la Vierge Noire, Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Assise, Exsultate Deo and Salve Regina are in the more austere tradition of French sacred works.

Recordings date from 1995

Two of the finest chamber choirs in the English choral tradition, expertly directed and recorded

Booklet notes in English, with sung texts in the original language and English translation

Brilliant Classics - 9087

(CD)

$8.00

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Handel - Duetti Amorosi

Handel - Duetti Amorosi


Handel:

Caro amico amplesso! (from Poro)

Romilda infida

Troppo oltraggi la mia fede (from Serse)

Quivi, tra questi soltari orr

Ah, sì, morrò (from Admeto)

Alma mia (from Floridante)

Ma come a mar (from Muzio Scevola)

Ritorna, caro e dolce mio tesoro (from Rodelinda)

Non ti bastò (from Rodelinda)

Io t'abbraccio (from Rodelinda)

Fuggi, mio bene

Il fugir, cara mia vita (from Arminio)

Ritorna nel core vezzosa (from Arminio)

Parte Agilea

Te credo, si ben mio (from Teseo)

Commanda, dunque, o bella (from Teseo)

Quest’è dunque la fede (from Admeto)

Addio, mio caro bene (from Teseo)

Teseo

Arminio : Overture


Romantic duets from Handel’s operas, including Serse, Rodelinda, Arminio and Teseo.

Performed by Nuria Rial and Lawrence Zazzo, who recently appeared on deutsche harmonia mundi’s recording of rare Handel opera Riccardo Primo (88697174212) in which Zazzo takes the title role.

Accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Basel conducted by Handel specialist Laurence Cummings.

Rial and Zazzo are two of the leading exponents of the Baroque genre. The soprano has sung with the early music conductors René Jacobs and Giovanni Antonini.

The repertoire of the Philadelphia-born countertenor Zazzo ranges from the operas of Monteverdi, Scarlatti and Handel to numerous twentieth-century works. He will be appearing at the Royal Opera House during the Autumn of 2008 in a production of Cavalli’s La Calisto.

“The aching longing and ecstatic intertwining of soprano and alto (castrato) voices in the sublime duets for Poro (1731) and Cleofide, and for Rodelinda (1725) and Bertarido, are among the era’s most moving “romantic” music. With her bright, pristine soprano, Rial blends perfectly with Zazzo’s plush countertenor. They are delightful in the comical Romilda/Arsamene duet, from Serse (1738), and moving in the yearning farewell of Clizia and Arcane, from Teseo (1713). Unexpected and enjoyable.” Sunday Times, 10th August 2008 ****

“In duet or solo, two fine singers impress in a delightfully planned Handel recital. Laurence Cummings provides expert musical direction from the harpsichord, ensuring that everything is paced to perfection…” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2008

“The voices of Rial and Zazzo are engaging on their own and evenly balanced in ensemble… excelling in the…composer's tenderly reflective music such as in the ravishing duet 'Io t'abbraccio' from Rodelinda (1725). Cummings directs all with sensibility and stylistic assurance.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2008 ****

“'Duetti amorosi' is an imaginative and thoughtfully chosen programme of operatic duets (although the singers also get two arias each).
Nothing predictable is included here, except perhaps the two items from Rodelinda, but the lovely performance of 'Ritorna, o cara' and the pathos-laden 'Io t'abbraccio' more than justify their presence. Picking a diverse selection of repertoire that skilfully conveys the expressive and stylistic breath of Handel's writing is certainly one of the often-ignored secrets of planning a successful Handel recital programme, and the performers' enthusiasm for reviving numbers from Arminio (including its fine overture), Teseo, Muzio Scevola, Poro (the gorgeous 'Caro amico amplesso') and Admeto deserves high praise.
Rial and Zazzo sing well, both individually and together: in the duets they are obviously listening sympathetically to each other; they seem to know when to emphasise vocal contrasts or blend closely. Laurence Cummings provides expert musical direction from the harpsichord, ensuring that everything is paced to perfection, and that the musico-dramatic characteristics presented in each piece speak with transparency to the listener; none of these performances would feel out of place in context of their parent works. The policy to dump the texts and translations onto a PDF is detestable.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Deutsche HM - 88697214722

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$14.50

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


René Jacobs follows the highly theatrical Saul, and ecstatic reviews for the neglected La Clemenza di Tito, with Messiah, in the 1750 version with two alto soloists.

“Jacobs has the advantage of the excellent choir Rutter trained at Clare College, one of the best in the country. They sing superbly, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra also make an impressive contribution. Jacobs's solo team are excellent” Penguin Guide, 2010 **/*

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Funeral Classics

Funeral Classics


Rod Skipp (cello), Benjamin Saunders (organ), Angharad Gruffydd Jones (soprano), Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor), Johannette Zomer (soprano), Pieter-Jan Belder (harpsichord), Anonymous (cello), Jeroen van Veen (piano), Bas Ramselaar (bass-baritone), Lynne Dawson (soprano), Emma Kirkby (soprano), Nicola Wemyss (soprano), Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy (piano), Marc Grauwels (flute), Michelangelo Carbonara (piano), Charlotte Margiono (soprano)

Consort of London, Skipton Building Society Camerata, The Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Holland Boys Choir, St. John's College Choir, Cambridge, Cambridge Ensemble, Chamber Choir of Europe, South West German Chamber Orchestra, Pforzheim, Netherlands B, Robert Clark, Thomas Leech, Timothy Brown, Pieter Jan Leusink, Christopher Robinson, Nicol Matt, Stephen Cleobury, Alistair Dixon, Heinz Rogner, Philip Ellis, Ludwig Güttler, Eduardo Marturet, Jed Wentz, Helmut Koch, Georges Dumortier, Rudolf Barshai, Sta

Brilliant Classics - 5028421950655

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

Live-Recording, Munich, Herkulessaal, 29.11.2014


Julia Doyle (soprano), Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor), Steve Davislim (tenor) & Neal Davies (bass baritone)

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks B’Rock, Belgisches Barockorchester Gent, Peter Dijkstra

As a steady favourite with audiences, Handel's most famous oratorio "Messiah" has met regularly with rapturous receptions ever since its premiere back in 1742! This three-part masterpiece portrays the life of the "anointed one" (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word 'Messiah'), from the Annunciation and his birth to his death on the cross and revelation, and contains a considerable number of baroque super-hits - including the world-famous 'Hallelujah Chorus.'

What makes the present complete recording into something really special is, above all, the successful interpretation with its excellent line-up of performers: Julia Doyle, Lawrence Zazzo, Steve Davislim and Neal Davies, the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (recently called "a new center for historically informed performance practice") under the overall direction of Peter Dijkstra, accompanied by B'Rock, the Belgian Baroque Orchestra Ghent.

“a performance that is never less than stylish and, perhaps most importantly, heartfelt...[Davies and Zazzo] opt for visceral theatricality in their delivery of text, Zazzo tiring somewhat in the process. Soprano Julia Doyle sings with sweetness and candour, decorating 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' vivaciously.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 *****

BR Klassik - 900510

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$24.75

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