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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Plácido Domingo (Riccardo), Piero Cappuccilli (Renato), Katia Ricciarelli (Amelia), Elizabeth Bainbridge (Ulrica), Reri Grist (Oscar), William Elvin (Silvano), Gwynne Howell (Samuele), Paul Hudson (Tom), Francis Egerton (Un Giudice), John Carr (Un servo)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Claudio Abbado (conductor) & Otto Schenk (director)

Illicit love, suspicion, deception and supernatural portents of doom lead to a shocking drama at a masked ball in 1790s Sweden. The incomparable Plácido Domingo stars as the dashing King Gustavus III, whose reforms have inspired talk of assassination among the conservative nobility. Katia Ricciarelli is Gustavuss beloved Amelia, married to his closest friend, Anckarström, sung by Piero Cappuccilli. Claudio Abbado conducts the distinguished cast, supported by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera Chorus, in Otto Schenks classic production of this Verdi favourite for The Royal Opera. This recording, with English subtitles, is preserved in its original Standard Definition and 4:3 picture format.

NB This product has burnt-in English subtitles and no alternative language-options

“Abbado motivates this traditional Otto Schenk staging using the Swedish setting. Domingo is a marvellously vivid Gustavo, Cappuccilli an implacable Anckarström, while Grist steals the soprano honours from Ricciarelli.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

“What Schenk achieves...is no mean feat: a show in which the main characters meaningfully interact, have credibility and generate sympathy...[Domingo] is enjoying himself as a devil-may-care ruler with a twinkle in both eye and voice...[Cappuccilli] offers a masterclass in what we really mean by ‘Verdi baritone’.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House are intelligently conducted by the great Claudio Abbado in this classic 1975 production directed by Otto Schenk, with traditional costumes and attractive sets. This is one of the finest productions of one of Verdi's best operas, with outstanding vocal and acting performances” New Classics, May 2017

“There's Claudio Abbado's fleet and polished conducting, then Plácido Domingo's suavely sung and acted Gustavus, and Piero Cappuccilli's stentorian Anckarström...Perhaps most interesting is Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia, a role a size too big for her, showing off both her stunningly limpid and velvety soprano and at the same time just how she pushed it to tatters.” Opera Now, June 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Up to 70% off Opus Arte

Opus Arte - OA1236D

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Normally: $17.00

Special: $13.60

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Beethoven Symphony No. 9: Ode to Freedom

Beethoven Symphony No. 9: Ode to Freedom


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'


Venceslava Hruba-Freiberger, Doris Soffel, James Wagner, Gwynne Howell

Gewandhaus Chorus and Orchestra, Kurt Masur

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, Arthaus Musik combines two unique programmes in one Blu-ray.

The performance of Beethoven's Symphony No.9 at the Gewandhaus Leipzig in the reunited Germany turned out to be a great success for Kurt Masur, who was music director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra from 1970 to 1996 and who decisively shaped the orchestra before and after the fall of the Wall.

The Echo Award winning film documentation 'Classical and Cold War – Musicians in the GDR' by Thomas Zintl spans the range from the founding of the two German states in 1949 to the fall of the Wall. Using archive material and interviews with contemporary witnesses like Helmut Schmidt, Peter Schreier and Kurt Masur, the documentation draws the parallelism between the cultural and political developments.

"This documentary is more than a study on the power of classical music, it is the proof that sounds can make history." Axel Brüggemann, Echo Klassik

Bonus:

'Classical Music and Cold War – Musicians in the GDR'

A Film by Thomas Zintl

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3 (Symphony No. 9), 16:9 (Cold War)

Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Running Time: 71 mins (Symphony No. 9), 52 mins (Cold War)

Subtitle Languages: GB, DE, FR, ES, IT

FSK: 0

Region Code: worldwide

Worldwide available

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik - 108122

(Blu-ray)

$33.75

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Puccini: Manon Lescaut

Puccini: Manon Lescaut


Montserrat Caballé (Manon Lescaut), Plácido Domingo (Chevalier Des Grieux), Noel Mangin (Geronte de Ravoir), Vicente Sardinero (Lescaut), Robert Tear (Edmondo), Richard Van Allan (The Innkeeper), Bernard Dickerson (The Dancing Master), Delia Wallis (A Singer), Robert Lloyd (Sargeant of the Royal Archers), Ian Partridge (A Lamplighter) & Gwynne Howell (A Naval Captain)

Ambrosian Opera Chorus & New Philharmonia Orchestra, Bruno Bartoletti

“The New Philharmonia Orchestra sparkles and shimmers under the baton of Bruno Bartoletti in this recording with Montserrat Caballé in the title role. She treats us to some of the most expressive Puccini singing I've ever heard in her Act Four aria, Sola, perduta, abbandonata, and she is partnered by Plácido Domingo, magnificently classy as the Chevalier des Grieux...this recording is a treasure.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, July 2014

Summer Opera Sale

Warner Classics - The Opera Series - 7359822

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $15.50

Special: $13.95

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Puccini: Il Trittico

Puccini: Il Trittico

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, September 2011


Il Tabarro

Lucio Gallo (Michele), Aleksandrs Antonenko (Luigi), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Giorgetta), Alan Oke (Tinca), Jeremy White (Talpa), Irina Mishura (La Frugola), Ji-Min Park (Venditore), Anna Devin, Robert Anthony Gardiner (Due Amanti)

Suor Angelica

Ermonela Jaho (Suor Angelica), Anna Larsson (La Zia Principessa), Eryl Royle (Suor Osmina), Anna Devin (Suor Genovieffa), Kathy Batho (Novice), Elizabeth Key (Suor Dolcina), Elizabeth Woollett (Nursing Sister), Gillian Webster, Kathleen Wilder (Due Cercatrici), Irina Mishura (La Badessa), Elizabeth Sikora (Maestra delle Novizie), Elena Zilio (La Suora Zelatrice)

Gianni Schicchi

Lucio Gallo (Gianni Schicchi), Ekaterina Siurina (Lauretta), Francesco Demuro (Rinuccio), Elena Zilio (Zita), Rebecca Evans (Nella), Marie McLaughlin (La Ciesca), Jeremy White (Betto di Signa), Gwynne Howell (Simone), Robert Poulton (Marco), Alan Oke (Gherardo), Filippo Turkheimer (Gherardino), Henry Waddington (Maestro Spinelloccio), Enrico Fissore (Ser Amantio di Nicolai), Daniel Grice (Pinellio), John Molloy (Guccio)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Richard Jones (director)

This is The Royal Opera’s first complete presentation of Puccini’s Il trittico since 1965. Leading director Richard Jones staged his witty, darkly comic realization of Gianni Schicchi for The Royal Opera in 2007, and here he completes the trio.

3 DVDs for the price of 1

Leading director Richard Jones staged his witty, darkly comic realization of Gianni Schicchi for The Royal Opera in 2007.

The production was revived in 2012 and here he completes the trio with two new productions of Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica.

Antonio Pappano conducts an acclaimed cast including Eva-Maria Westbroek, Ermonela Jaho, Lucio Gallo, Elena Zilio and rising star Francesco Demuro.

These three one-act works were broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and went to cinemas world-wide in February 2012.

Running time: 180 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“a triumph...three wonderfully directed and expertly acted productions. Add in Pappano's impeccable conducting and his valuable introductions to the pieces, and you have a nigh-on ideal Trittico.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2012 *****

“In the theatre, Suor Angelica packed a stronger punch [than Il Tabarro]. Here, on DVD, it is little short of devastating...Jaho's youthful vulnerability is deeply moving...Gianni Schicchi is a wicked 1960s delight...Outstandingly filmed, this set marks a high point for live opera on DVD...I have no hesitation in making this new Trittico the top recommendation.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2012

“Pappano draws consistently fine playing from the orchestra...Gallo is in very good from as Michele...Westbroek gives her all in Giorgetta's contrasting scenes...Jaho dominates [Suor Angelica], of course, and in a role which she had never sung before...Gallo exhibits his facility for comic roles [in Schicchi]...One will have to look far to find a better trio of performances than these” International Record Review, September 2012

“Pappano conducts a riotously raucous Schicchi, a bleak, foreboding Tabarro, and a poignant Suor Angelica in this 2007 Covent Garden production by Richard Jones. I can't think of a better cast for Tabarro than Lucio Gallo, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Eva-Maria Westbroek, and Ermonela Jaho is a harrowingly sorrowful Suor Angelica. Wonderful stuff.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, July 2014

GGramophone Awards 2013

Winner - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Blu-ray of the Month - October 2012

BBC Music Magazine

DVD & Blu-ray Choice - September 2012

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Up to 70% off Opus Arte

Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7102D

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $33.75

Special: $27.00

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Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music

Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music

and other works


Vaughan Williams:

Serenade to Music

Elizabeth Connell (soprano), Amanda Roocroft (soprano), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Martyn Hill (tenor), Maldwyn Davies (tenor), Anne Dawson (soprano), Linda Kitchen (soprano), Alan Opie (baritone), Gwynne Howell (bass), Sir Thomas Allen (baritone), Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano) & John Connell (bass)

Five Mystical Songs

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

Fantasia on Christmas Carols

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone)

Flos Campi

Nobuko Imai (viola)


“Strongly recommended!” Fanfare

“Performances like these don’t come along very often; each one is an absolute winner, and with rich, atmospheric recording quality the satisfaction is of a very special quality” CD Review

“Profoundly moving” Gramophone Magazine

“Sometimes heard as a full choral work, the Serenade to Music takes on its greatest beauty in its original version for sixteen soloists. Matthew Best's soloists are certainly up to the task here, with some big names in the ranks and a sound that beautifully sits between choral and soloistic singing styles. Thomas Allen is a moving and believable soloist in the Five Mystical Songs; after just a few bars of the first number, Easter, I was convinced.” David Smith, Presto Classical, June 2014

Hyperion 30th Anniversary - CDA30025

(CD)

$9.75

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Berlioz: L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25

Berlioz: L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25


Jean Rigby (mezzo soprano), Alastair Miles (bass), Gerald Finley (baritone), John Aler (tenor), Gwynne Howell (bass), Peter Evans (tenor) & Robert Poulton (baritone)

Corydon Singers & Orchestra & St Paul's Cathedral Choristers, Matthew Best

Berlioz held traditional religion in contempt, but something of the biblical story of Herod’s massacre of the innocents and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt seems to have struck a chord and resulted in one of his most beautiful works. Indeed, Berlioz compared his ‘trilogie sacrée’ to the illuminations in medieval missals: he saw it as an aid to contemplative devotion. L’Enfance du Christ is one of Berlioz’s most popular and enduring works. The renowned Corydon Singers and Corydon Orchestra, under their conductor and founder Matthew Best, are joined by a first-class team of soloists.

2 CD's for price of 1. Originally issued on CDA66991/2

“Matthew Best's version offers a keenly dramatic view...Jean Rigby is a young-sounding Mary, with Gerald Finley warm and expressive as Joseph...An ideal choice for those who want an intimate view and a superb modern recording” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

“No previous recording has moved me like this one - magical - heavenly” The Independent

“Luminous Berlioz, with some superb soloists” Classic CD

“This new recording of Berlioz's appealing work well stands comparison with its much-praised predecessors” Gramophone Magazine

“An engaging and moving recording with superb singing from soloists Alastair Miles, Jean Rigby and Gerald Finley” Classic FM Magazine

“The recording is surely the best available” BBC Music Magazine

“Best treats L'enfance du Christ as overtly operatic, not so much by cast movements or varied microphone placings as by his pacing of the action and by encouraging his artists to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the emotions of the story.
He gets off to a tremendous start with a superb reading by a black-voiced Alastair Miles as a Herod haunted by his dream and startled into belligerent wakefulness by the arrival of Polydorus.
Later, there's desperate urgency in the appeals for shelter by Joseph (an otherwise gently lyrical Gerald Finley), harshly rebuffed by the chorus. And, throughout, there are spatial perspectives – the soldiers' patrol advancing (from practically inaudible pizzicatos) to centrestage and going off again; and a beautifully hushed and atmospheric faraway 'Amen' at the end. Balance in general is excellent.
The clear enunciation (in very good French) of nearly everyone is a plus point. The chorus's response to the mood and meaning of words is always alert and sensitive, matched by the nuanced orchestral playing. The scurrying of the Ishmaelite family to help, played really pianissimo, is vividly graphic; and their home entertainment on two flutes and a harp, which can mark a drop in the interest, here has great charm. But overall it's Best's pacing which makes this recording distinctive.
This recording stands comparison well with its much-praised predecessors.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Building a Library

First Choice - December 2001

Hyperion Dyads - CDD22067

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: Stabat Mater

Haydn: Stabat Mater


Arleen Auger (soprano), Alfreda Hodgson (contralto), Gwynne Howell (bass), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) & John Birch (continuo)

The Argo Chamber Orchestra, Laszlo Heltay

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4762441

(CD)

$8.75

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

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Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K626

Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K626

Live from the Herkulessaal, Munich 1984


Edith Mathis (soprano), Trudeliese Schmidt (mezzo-soprano), Peter Schreier (tenor) & Gwynne Howell (bass)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Sir Colin Davis

Mozart‘s last work, the Requiem Mass in D minor K626, receives a strong performance from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Mozart specialist Colin Davis in a classic recording made in 1984. It features the outstanding Peter Schreier and Edith Mathis as well as ever-popular Welsh bass Gwynne Howell and mezzo-soprano Trudeliese Schmidt as the soloists.

Popular legend has it that the Requiem was commissioned by a mysterious stranger, fuelling Mozart‘s obsession that the piece was his own Mass. However the probable truth is much less dark, that one Count Walsegg, who had a well-known penchant for commissioning works which he attempted to pass off as his own, commissioned it upon the death of his wife. Mozart died in 1791, before fi nishing his work. It was later completed by one of his students, Franz Süssmayr, at the request of Mozart‘s wife Constanze.

Blu-ray Disc with High Resolution Audio in 192 kHz

This series of Hi-Res Audio releases features the pure sound experience of studio master tapes, available digitally for the first time in their uncompressed form. The 24 Bit resolution with 192 kHz sampling rate enable a whole new way to listen to the original.

Sound Formats: PCM 192 kHz / 48 kHz

Picture Format: 4:3

Blu-ray Disc 25 GB (Single Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Running Time: 60 mins

FSK: 0

Region: worldwide

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik Hi-Res Audio - 109180

(Blu-ray)

$22.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde


Linda Esther Gray (Isolde), John Mitchinson (Tristan), Anne Wilkens (Brangäne), Phillip Joll (Kurnewal), Nicholas Folwell (Melot), Gwynne Howell (Marke), Arthur Davies (Hirt), Geoffrey Moses (Steuermann), John Harris (Stimme eines jungen Seemanns)

Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, Chorus of the Welsh National Opera, Reginald Goodall

Decca - 4789453

Download only from $16.75

Available now to download.

25 Years German Reunification

25 Years German Reunification


Beethoven:

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'


Venceslava Hruba-Freiberger (soprano), Doris Soffel (mezzo-soprano), James Wagner (tenor) & Gwynne Howell (bass)

Gewandhaus Choir and Orchestra

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the German reunification on October 3, 2015, Arthaus Musik combines two unique programmes as a 2 DVD Edition.

The impressive documentary 'Classical Music and Cold War – Musicians in the GDR' by Thomas Zintl (ECHO Klassik Winner, Best Music Documentary) spans the range from the founding of the two German states in 1949 to the fall of the Wall in 1989. Using archive material and interviews with political as well as cultural representatives of that time, such as Helmut Schmidt, Peter Schreier and Kurt Masur, the film draws a parallel between the cultural and political developments.

The performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 at the Gewandhaus Leipzig in 1991 turned out to be a great success for Kurt Masur. Masur, the Gewandhaus’ music director from 1970 to 1996, was one of the six prominent Leipzig citizens who came up with the call “Keine Gewalt!” (“No Violence!”) on the Monday demonstration on October 9, 1989, thus contributing significantly to its peaceful outcome. Since then, Kurt Masur and the Gewandhaus orchestra have been part of the collective memory.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9 (Cold War), 4:3 (Symphony No.9)

Running Time: 52 mins (Cold War), 71 mins (Symphony No. 9)

Audio Language: DE

Subtitle Languages: EN, FR, ES, IT (Cold War), EN, DE, FR, ES (Symphony No.9)

1 x DVD 5 / 1 x DVD 9 / NTSC

FSK: 0

Available Worldwide

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 101794

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$22.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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