Falk Struckmann

Bass-baritone

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Wagner: Die Walküre

Wagner: Die Walküre


Matthias Goerne (Wotan), Petra Lang (Brünnhilde), Michelle DeYoung (Fricka), Stuart Skelton (Siegmund), Heidi Melton (Sieglinde), Falk Struckmann (Hunding), Sarah Castle (Waltraute), Karen Foster (Gerhilde), Katherine Broderick (Helmwige), Anna Burford (Schwertleite), Elaine McKrill (Ortlinde), Aurhelia Varak (Siegrune), Okka von der Damerau (Grimgerde), Laura Nykänen (Rossweise)

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

Comprising four separate operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is one of the supreme works in the history of music. Part II of the tetralogy, Die Walküre, centres on the young lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde, whose relationship angers Fricka, goddess of marriage, and on the disobedience of the Valkyrie Brünnhilde who is sent to carry out Fricka’s wishes. Performed by an all-star international cast, the work features thrilling set-pieces such as Wotan’s Farewell and the Ride of the Valkyries. The Prologue, Das Rheingold, can be heard on Naxos 8660374-75, selected as ‘Album of the Week’ by The Sunday Times of London, which praised its ‘thrilling sense of drama’.

Sound format: 24-bit, 96 kHz PCM

“As before, the playing of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra provides the foundation of the performance...Van Zweden’s sense of pacing and drama never falters either, and some of the climaxes he engineers are thrillingly vivid...Skelton is magnificent throughout, surely without a rival in the role today...Overall, the performances become much more than the sum of their parts, some of which are outstanding anyway.” The Guardian, 9th November 2016 ****

“van Zweden has broken free of both tradition and over-literal score-reading to interpret what is in front of him...Goerne is in almost indecently good voice...DeYoung argues Fricka’s case with power and sweep...[Struckmann] uses text rather than colour to frighten as Hunding...this is an impressive and likeable achievement.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

“it’s the Wälsung twins who pretty much steal the show: Stuart Skelton and Heidi Melton deliver a first act of exquisite radiance and tenderness...t’s above all a very human first act, eschewing the heroics and melodrama that are played up on other recordings.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 11th November 2016

“A sturdy urgency is keeping Naxos’s burgeoning Ring cycle powering forwards...van Zweden rouses much of the drama that would be expected in the theatre, and his Hong Kong orchestra, though hardly in the Wagnerian front rank, supports him strongly. The cycle’s ace is Matthias Goerne’s expressive Wotan.” Financial Times, 18th November 2016

“There are likely to be further individual vocal performances worth seeking out, bit it increasingly looks as though this cycle will be collectable primarily for van Zweden’s achievement in turning his Hong Kong players into a Wagner orchestra to be reckoned with.” Opera, January 2017

“Stuart Skelton and Heidi Melton provide sheer vocal luxury. Good casting all round makes this well worth purchasing” Opera Now, December 2016 ****

“I doubt there is any tenor today to equal Stuart Skelton’s Siegmund, as thrilling as he is poetic. The set is worth acquiring for him alone, but there’s also Matthias Goerne: surely one of the most introverted Wotans ever recorded, but so moving..Van Zweden works wonders in transforming the HK Phil into a world-class Wagner band.” Sunday Times, 8th January 2017

“Drawing airy, luminescent textures from the Hong Kong players, [van Zweden] drives the drama excitingly [and] his singers respond superbly…Goerne brings Wotan’s fearful conflicts of love and desperation alive…[Lang’s] high notes soar with cutting power…Skelton and Melton are well established Volsungs, but both their voices seem to have taken on fresh lustre and clarion ring, giving memorably intense performance.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

11th November 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - January 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Naxos - NBD0051

(Blu-ray Audio)

$19.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Pfitzner: Palestrina

Pfitzner: Palestrina

Recorded live at the Nationaltheater, Munich, 10 & 14 July 2009


Christopher Ventris (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina), Peter Rose (Pope Pius IV), Michael Volle (Giovanni Morone), John Daszak (Bernardo Novagerio), Roland Bracht (Cardinal Christoph Madruscht), Falk Struckmann (Carlo Borromeo), Christiane Karg (Ighino)

Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Simone Young (conductor) & Christian Stückl (director)

Requiring 38 soloists, chorus and large orchestra, "Palestrina", Hans Pfitzner's (1869-1949) "most important work" (Süddeutsche Zeitung), is a challenging opera to stage. Written in a lush late-Romantic idiom, the masterpiece weaves a fictitious tale around Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, one of the most important Renaissance composers and renovators of sacred music, who fears losing his creative powers and his role in society.

In Munich, the city in which it was given its world premiere in 1917, the Bavarian State Opera succeeded – director Christian Stückl, best known for his staging of the Oberammergau Passion Play and the Salzburg Festival's "Jedermann", transformed the monumental work into an optical pop art event.

Conductor Simone Young maintains a silky, organic orchestral texture, and expertly holds the reins of the many vocal and instrumental parts. Heading the many outstanding soloists are the imposing Christopher Ventris as Palestrina, Bayreuth regular Falk Struckmann and baritone Michael Volle.

Picture format Blu-ray: 1080i Full HD

Sound format Blu-ray: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio

Region code: All (Worldwide)

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Running time: 197 mins Performance + 9 mins Bonus

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

EuroArts - 2072524

(Blu-ray)

$32.75

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Strauss, R: Salome

Strauss, R: Salome

Live Recording from The Teatro Alla Scala, 2007


Nadja Michael (Salome), Falk Struckmann (Jochanaan), Peter Bronder (Herodes), Iris Vermillion (Herodias) & Matthias Klink (Narraboth)

Teatro Alla Scala, Daniel Harding (conductor) & Luc Bondy (stage director)

Set Design by ERICH WONDER

Nadja Michael conquers La Scala!

In Nadja Michael, we have a singer in the title role who, with her effortlessly appealing depth and great volume, not only satisfied all vocal requirements for the diabolic soprano part, but also left nothing to be desired in terms of her acting and dancing.

The magnificent stage presence of Nadja Michael is shown in every emotional turn put to music, even if it is merely a breath, wraithlike precision or mastery of singing. The audience highly acclaimed Nadja Michael’s outstanding performance!

Since its first performance hundred years ago Salome is a well-established part of the operatic repertoire of the most important opera companies throughout the world.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9, NTSC

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

Running Time: 108 mins

FSK: 12

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 107323

(DVD Video)

$27.25

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Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72


Jonas Kaufmann (Florestan), Nina Stemme (Leonore), Falk Struckmann (Pizarro), Christof Fischesser (Rocco), Rachel Harnisch (Marzelline), Christoph Strehl (Jaquino), Peter Mattei (Don Fernando), Juan Sebastian Acosta (Erste Gefangener), Levente Pall (Zweite Gefangener)

Lucerne Festival Orchestra & Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Claudio Abbado

Read Presto's complete review of this recording here.

Recorded live at the Lucerne Festival 2010 with the Festival Orchestra, this Fidelio is led by the legendary conductor Claudio Abbado − making this release a major operatic event.

The central tenor role of Florestan is known as one of the most demanding and difficult in all opera. For his first complete opera recording for Decca, Jonas Kaufmann, “the world’s greatest currently performing tenor” (London’s Daily and Sunday Express), delivers everything the role demands: fearless tone, peerless style, and heart-stopping dramatic intensity.

“Abbado’s command of the score and its structure is consummate, the atmosphere palpable through his perceptive application of orchestral colour. The detail he elicits from his hand-picked Lucerne Festival Orchestra is phenomenal, the blend of sonorities aglow, the clarity of texture refined with a masterly touch.” The Telegraph, 23rd June 2011 *****

“Abbado and his hand-picked Lucerne orchestra certainly do not disappoint here, as Beethoven’s epic score is delivered with drama and incandescence...Kaufmann’s thrilling Florestan emerges with a gut-wrenching cry from his dungeon. The set is worth sampling for him alone.” Sunday Times, 26th June 2011 ***

“Jonas Kaufmann’s first note alone is a good reason to buy this new recording of Beethoven’s stirring opera...The effect makes your jaw drop, your pulse pause, your hairs stand on end...Abbado conducts with magisterial but selfless understanding. In the overture alone (Beethoven’s punchy fourth version is used) you feel electricity and humanity in every jabbing rhythm and lyrically sculptured phrase.” The Times, 1st July 2011 ****

“this is a “modern” Fidelio in so far as it espouses lightly pointed rhythms, transparent textures and attention to detail – but it also captures the hallowed glow of Beethoven tradition...Interest for opera fans lies primarily in Jonas Kaufmann’s Florestan: his aria, beginning on a thread of sound, is as much a meditation as a cry from the depths.” Financial Times, 9th July 2011 ****

“Abbado's contribution is without doubt extraordinary – a loving if slow interpretation, noble in its anguish and elation...An exceptional Florestan – arguably the finest since Jon Vickers's – from Jonas Kaufmann wonderfully conveys his moral greatness as well as the extremity of his suffering.” The Guardian, 7th July 2011 ****

“Under Claudio Abbado’s assured direction, the Mahler Chamber and Lucerne Festival orchestras derive a fantastic amount of energy...[Stemme] manages to imbue her Fidelio/Leonore role with the requisite disguised anguish...High praise also must go to the spellbinding ensemble work...Jonas Kaufmann also impresses, most of all in his lachrymose opening to the second act...Due in part to the relative infrequency of recordings of Fidelio, this is one in particular to be cherished.” Daniel Ross, bbc.co.uk, 1st July 2011

“the instrumental performance is faultlessly sensitive to the drama it is illustrating. The singing is heroic, both from Nina Stemme as Leonore/Fidelio and Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan. Rachel Harnisch is a touching Marzelline, Falk Struckman a terrifying Don Pizarro.” The Independent on Sunday, 24th July 2011

“Abbado leads a viscerally charged performance that flies to the very heart of the matter...One of the many glories of this thrillingly articulated Fidelio is the playing of the basses and lower strings sharp-featured and black as the pit of Acheron...This is the best-conducted Fidelio since Furtwängler's; a joy to experience and a privilege to possess.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011

“The real star of this performance...is the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, in whose hands the music seems to glow from within. The playing is thrilling throughout, with Claudio Abbado caressing every detail of Beethoven's score...The Arnold Schoenberg Choir rises to the occasion, too, producing hushed singing of great beauty in the Act 1 prisoners' chorus...Kaufmann is a commanding Florestan. His opening phrase as he lies in the depths of the dungeons is spine-tingling.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 ****

“Abbado brings elegance to everything he touches. In the event, Kaufmann is superb, Stemme sings with technical control and warmth of tone, and Abbado conducts with exemplary clarity.” Classic FM Magazine, October 2011 ***

“I could be in the minority when I state that I find this performance almost clinical...[Kaufmann] can do no wrong and, in fact, he does no wrong here, articulating his despair as well as his hope and desperation with great sincerity...Abbado is obviously going for a lean performance, and he succeeds; one hears things in both orchestra and vocal lines that are frequently smudged elsewhere.” International Record Review, September 2011

“this is a lean, chamber-sized account, every note precisely placed, but with enough punch for the drama to hit home...for superb technical playing, transparency of sound and with Stemme and Kaufmann in glorious voice, this is a Fidelio to treasure.” Opera Britannia, 6th October 2011

“From the opening flourishes of the overture, Abbado and his hand-picked festival orchestra arrest the attention...The ensemble-singing has the balance and synthesis which characterise the very best performances of Beethoven’s chamber-music...[Kaufmann's] first note alone is worth the price of the set...this is truly glorious, exhilarating music-making, and a superb document of one of the most thrilling live performances of 2010.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 20th June 2011

“My colleague Katherine would never forgive me if I didn't choose this live recording from the 2010 Lucerne Festival of Beethoven's only opera, conducted by Claudio Abbado and featuring the incomparable pairing of Nina Stemme as Leonore and Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan. His agonised cry of "Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!" after the slow orchestral build-up is astonishingly moving, and there's memorable support from Falk Struckmann as Pizarro and Christof Fischesser as Rocco.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical

Presto Disc of the Week

20th June 2011

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Awards 2012

Best of Category - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - September 2011

Decca - 4782551

(CD - 2 discs)

$21.50

(also available to download from $20.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Verdi: Otello

Verdi: Otello


Johan Botha (Otello), Renée Fleming (Desdemona), Falk Struckmann (Iago) & Michael Fabiano (Cassio), Renée Tatum (Emilia), James Morris (Lodovico), Eduardo Valdes (Roderigo)

The Metropolitan Opera, Chorus & Ballet, Semyon Bychkov

Renée Fleming’s Desdemona enshrines one of her signature roles in a definitive performance: “she knows exactly how to spin the gentle lines of the ‘Willow Song’ and ‘Ave Maria’ so that they softly fill the hall” (New York Times). This 2012 performance was most likely her last on stage, making it a document of historic importance. As the New York Times wrote: “The role was one of her earliest successes with the company, as well as the vehicle for her first Met opening night 17 years ago, and it remains a lovely fit”

Verdi’s late masterpiece is presented in Elijah Moshinsky’s classic MET production with sumptuous sets and period costumes; one of the longest-running opera productions in MET history.

Semyon Bychkov conducts an all-star cast led by South African Heldentenor Johan Botha in the title role with a voice of “impressive size and bronze color” (New York Times) and a strong supporting cast includes the superb Falk Struckmann as Iago and star tenor Michael Fabiano as Cassio.

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Decca - 0743892

(Blu-ray)

$21.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Verdi: Otello

Verdi: Otello


Johan Botha (Otello), Renée Fleming (Desdemona), Falk Struckmann (Iago) & Michael Fabiano (Cassio), Renée Tatum (Emilia), James Morris (Lodovico), Eduardo Valdes (Roderigo)

The Metropolitan Opera, Chorus & Ballet, Semyon Bychkov, Elijah Moshinsky (director)

Renée Fleming’s Desdemona enshrines one of her signature roles in a definitive performance: “she knows exactly how to spin the gentle lines of the ‘Willow Song’ and ‘Ave Maria’ so that they softly fill the hall” (New York Times). This 2012 performance was most likely her last on stage, making it a document of historic importance. As the New York Times wrote: “The role was one of her earliest successes with the company, as well as the vehicle for her first Met opening night 17 years ago, and it remains a lovely fit”

Verdi’s late masterpiece is presented in Elijah Moshinsky’s classic MET production with sumptuous sets and period costumes; one of the longest-running opera productions in MET history.

Semyon Bychkov conducts an all-star cast led by South African Heldentenor Johan Botha in the title role with a voice of “impressive size and bronze color” (New York Times) and a strong supporting cast includes the superb Falk Struckmann as Iago and star tenor Michael Fabiano as Cassio.

“The sound and [Fleming] performance, vocally and as an actress, are outstanding and could not be better framed than in this traditionally costumed and staged production...her contribution to the love duet at the end of act one, her soaring voice over the drama in act three and her heart-rending singing of the Willow Song and Ave Maria in act four are the highlights.” MusicWeb International

“The sound and [Fleming] performance, vocally and as an actress, are outstanding and could not be better framed than in this traditionally costumed and staged production...her contribution to the love duet at the end of act one, her soaring voice over the drama in act three and her heart-rending singing of the Willow Song and Ave Maria in act four are the highlights” MusicWeb International

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Decca - 0743862

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$20.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Falk Struckmann (Amfortas), Matthias Hölle (Titurel), Hans Sotin (Gurnemanz), Poul Elming (Parsifal), Ekkehard Wlaschiha (Klingsor), Linda Watson (Kundry)

Orchestra of the Bayreuther Festspiele, Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor) & Wolfgang Wagner (stage director)

C Major presents for May from Bayreuth Festival 1998 conducted by the great Wagner conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli Parsifal, never before available on Blu-ray.

The four main roles are taken by Poul Elming, Linda Watson, Falk Struckmann and Hans Sotin – one of the strongest line-ups in Bayreuth’s more recent history.

This programme is too available on DVD 705908

SOUND FORMAT: PCM Stereo. dts-HD MA 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

SUBTITLES: German (original language), English, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Up to 25% off C Major

C Major - 715804

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $32.75

Special: $26.20

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.

Beethoven Essentials

Beethoven Essentials


Various Artists, Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Maxim Vengerov (violin), Thomas Zehetmair (solo violin), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (solo piano), Clemens Hagen (solo cello), Vermeer Quartet (string quartet), Jean-Bernard Pommier (piano), Rudolf Buchbinder (piano), Itamar Golan (piano), Vermeer Quartet (additional musicians), Staatskapelle Chor (chorus), Werner Güra (tenor vocals), Waltraud Meier (mezzo-soprano vocals), Soile Isokoski (soprano vocals), René Pape (bass vocals), Falk Struckmann (baritone vocals), Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin (chorus), Daniel Barenboim (piano), Alexander Markovich (piano), Arnold Schönberg Chor (chorus)

Chamber Orchestra of Europe, The Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, Staatskapelle Berlin, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Daniel Barenboim

Warner Classics Essentials - 2564663220

Download only from $6.00

Available now to download.

Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer

Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer


Warner Classics - The Opera Collection Daniel Barenboim Complete Wagner Operas - 2564667082

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.

Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Falk Struckmann (Amfortas), Matthias Hölle (Titurel), Hans Sotin (Gurnemanz), Poul Elming (Parsifal), Ekkehard Wlaschiha (Klingsor), Linda Watson (Kundry)

Orchestra of the Bayreuther Festspiele, Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor) & Wolfgang Wagner (stage director)

Finally on DVD, the 1998 production of Wagner’s Parsifal from the Bayreuth Festival. in mystically poetic staging that exerts an unbroken fascination not least as a result of its expressive lighting effects.

Conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli and directed by Wagner’s Grandson Wolfgang Wagner.

The four main roles are taken by Poul Elming, Linda Watson, Falk Struckmann and Hans Sotin – one of the strongest line-ups in Bayreuth’s more recent history.

First DVD release of this 1998 production.

Running Time 268 minutes

Picture 16:9, colour

Sound PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1

Subtitles German (original language), English, French, Spanish

Packaging NTSC: Amaray 2 DVD

Booklet English, German, French

“impressively atmospheric and gorgeously played” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

“the fact that Wolfgang Wagner's production and design are characteristically traditional and unchallenging might actually be a plus-point for many...The long dialogue scene between Kundry and Parsifal is done with outstanding musical and dramatic conviction...Struckmann, Elming and the veteran Hans Sotin are all at their vocal best, while Sinopoli responds to the simplicity of the staging by letting the music speak with maximum expressiveness.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Up to 25% off C Major

C Major - 705908

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

Normally: $37.75

Special: $28.31

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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