Richard van Allan

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Verdi: La Traviata

Verdi: La Traviata

1980 Recording


Renata Scotto (Violetta Valéry), Sarah Walker (Flora Bervoix), Cynthia Buchan (Annina), Alfredo Kraus (Alfredo Germont), Renato Bruson (Giorgio Germont), Suso Mariategui (Gastone), Henry Newman (Barone Douphol), Richard Van Allan (Marchese d’Obigny), Roderick Kennedy (Dottore Grenvil), Max-René Cosotti (Giuseppe) & Christopher Keyte (Commissionario)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus & Band of the Royal Marines, Riccardo Muti

2 CD Hardback, cloth-bound book + dust jacket

Riccardo Muti and Renata Scotto collaborated frequently, both in the recording studio and the opera house. Muti, a supreme Verdian, brings dramatic urgency and delicate lyricism to the score of La traviata while Scotto interprets Violetta with a wealth of perception and artistry.

Original digital recording

Full libretto: IT with translations in EN, DE, FR

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Warner Classics Deluxe Opera Series - 2564648318

(CD - 2 discs)

$26.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: The Fairy Queen, Z629

Purcell: The Fairy Queen, Z629

English National Opera, 1995


Yvonne Kenny (Titania), Thomas Randle (Oberon), Simon Rice (Puck) & Richard Van Allan (King Theseus)

Chorus and Orchestra of the English National Opera, Nicholas Kok (conductor) & David Pountney (director)

Choreographed and Staged by Quinny Sacks

David Pountney’s enchanting and colourful production of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen launched in 1995 by the English National Opera was received with great enthusiasm by both the public and musical press. Under the musical direction of Nicholas Kok, the English National Orchestra played a baroque music which was as crystal clear as it was expressively infectious. Next to outstanding performers of the dancing roles such as Puck (Simon Rice) and the Indian boy (Arthur Pita), an entire armada of excellent singers was summoned up such as one seldom experiences together on the baroque opera stage. These included Yvonne Kenny as Titania, Thomas Randle as Oberon and Richard Van Allan as King Theseus. Jonathan Best, with his comic portrayal of the drunken poet, was loved by the audience and praised highly by the press, while other singers like Michael Chance, Mary Hegarthy, Janis Kelly, Marc Le Brocq and Christopher Ross all contributed their talents to produce an unusual musical theatre experience.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Running Time: 134 mins

Original Language: GB

Subtitles: DE, FR, ES

FSK: 0

“Pountney's 1995 ENO production cuts the spoken text of Purcell's semi-opera and plays the rest for laughs” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 **

“[David Pountney] captures the madness of the original [production of The Fairy Queen] with a bravura staging, performed with gusto by a large ensemble. The wit and inventiveness are astounding, plus it is laugh-out-loud funny – Jonathan Best’s Drunken Poet threatens to steal the show...Yvonne Kenny’s pearlescent soprano is caught at its peak as Titania, Tom Randle is a lithe Oberon and Nickolas Kok leads a springy performance from the pit.” Classical Music ****

“it makes for a highly entertaining show...Tom Randle and Yvonne Kenny are excellent as Oberon and Titania...The dancing is imaginative and amusing, and the ENO forces under Nicholas Kok could have been performing Purcell all their lives.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Early Music

Arthaus Musik - 100201

(DVD Video)

Normally: $27.25

Special: $21.80

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: The Fairy Queen, Z629

Purcell: The Fairy Queen, Z629

English National Opera, 1995


Yvonne Kenny (Titania), Thomas Randle (Oberon), Simon Rice (Puck) & Richard Van Allan (King Theseus)

Chorus and Orchestra of the English National Opera, Nicholas Kok (conductor) & David Pountney (director)

Choreographed and Staged by Quinny Sacks

David Pountney’s enchanting and colourful production of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen launched in 1995 by the English National Opera was received with great enthusiasm by both the public and musical press. Under the musical direction of Nicholas Kok, the English National Orchestra played a baroque music which was as crystal clear as it was expressively infectious. Next to outstanding performers of the dancing roles such as Puck (Simon Rice) and the Indian boy (Arthur Pita), an entire armada of excellent singers was summoned up such as one seldom experiences together on the baroque opera stage. These included Yvonne Kenny as Titania, Thomas Randle as Oberon and Richard Van Allan as King Theseus. Jonathan Best, with his comic portrayal of the drunken poet, was loved by the audience and praised highly by the press, while other singers like Michael Chance, Mary Hegarthy, Janis Kelly, Marc Le Brocq and Christopher Ross all contributed their talents to produce an unusual musical theatre experience, released on Blu-ray for the first time.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

Resolution: 1080i High Definition

Original Language: GB

Subtitles: DE, FR, ES

FSK: 0

Running Time: 134 Min

Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)

“[David Pountney] captures the madness of the original [production of The Fairy Queen] with a bravura staging, performed with gusto by a large ensemble. The wit and inventiveness are astounding, plus it is laugh-out-loud funny – Jonathan Best’s Drunken Poet threatens to steal the show...Yvonne Kenny’s pearlescent soprano is caught at its peak as Titania, Tom Randle is a lithe Oberon and Nickolas Kok leads a springy performance from the pit.” Classical Music ****

“it makes for a highly entertaining show...Tom Randle and Yvonne Kenny are excellent as Oberon and Titania...The dancing is imaginative and amusing, and the ENO forces under Nichoals Kok could have been performing Purcell all their lives.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Early Music

Arthaus Musik - 108128

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $32.75

Special: $26.20

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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

Warner Classics - The Opera Series - 7359822

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Massenet: Thaïs

Massenet: Thaïs


“Maazel's 1976 studio recording boasts Beverly Sills in her prime as the eponymous courtesan, exuding a cool but tangible eroticism and sounding utterly at home with the role's high tessitura. Sherrill Milnes rages splendidly as the fanatical Athanaël without ever descending into bluster, and Nicolai Gedda is luxury casting as his acolyte Nicias.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, April 2014

Warner Classics - The Opera Series - 3192852

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.00

(also available to download from $17.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Verdi: La Traviata

Verdi: La Traviata


Renata Scotto (Violetta Valéry), Sarah Walker (Flora Bervoix), Cynthia Buchan (Annina), Alfredo Kraus (Alfredo Germont), Renato Bruson (Giorgio Germont), Suso Mariategui (Gastone), Henry Newman (Barone Douphol), Richard Van Allan (Marchese d’Obigny), Roderick Kennedy (Dottore Grenvil), Max-René Cosotti (Giuseppe) & Christopher Keyte (Commissionario)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus & Band of the Royal Marines, Riccardo Muti

EMI - The Opera Series - 3192802

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Vaughan Williams: Hugh the Drover

Vaughan Williams: Hugh the Drover

(a romantic ballet opera)


Rebecca Evans, Bonaventura Bottone, Sarah Walker, Richard Van Allan, Alan Opie, Neil Jenkins

Corydon Singers & Orchestra, The New London Children's Choir, Matthew Best

Hyperion Dyads - CDD22049

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Verdi: La Traviata

Verdi: La Traviata


Angela Gheorghiu (Violetta), Frank Lopardo (Alfredo), Leo Nucci (Giorgio Germont), Leah-Marian Jones (Flora), Gillian Knight (Annina), Robin Leggate (Gastone), Mark Beesley (Dottore Grenvil), Richard Van Allan (Baron Douphol), Roderick Earle (Marchese d'Obigny)

Chorus & Orchestra of Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Georg Solti

“For Angela Gheorghiu, Violetta was the right role at the right time. The whole drama is there in her voice, every expression in the eyes and beat of the heart reflected in the way she shapes and colours Verdi's vocal lines. Her quiet singing is particularly lovely, affording subtle variations of tenderness and inner anxiety. When she does choose to make a point with force, as in her sudden warmth of feeling towards Giorgio Germont at 'Qual figlia m'abbracciate' or her chilling cry of 'Morro!', accompanied by a loud thump on the table, her ideas always hit home. A few moments of vocal weakness are accentuated by the microphone, mainly a tendency to go sharp and some hardness at the top of the voice that was not troublesome in the theatre. Otherwise she's the most complete and moving Violetta we have had since her compatriot, Ileana Cotrubas.
These live performances were the first time that Sir Georg Solti, at the age of 82, had conducted a staged La traviata and he wanted two young singers who were also coming fresh to the opera. What was so spellbinding in the theatre was the touching intimacy they brought to their scenes together. Instead of the duets for Violetta and Alfredo turning into standard Italian operatic bawling, they became lovers' whispers. The effect comes across here in the cadenzas, where Gheorghiu and Frank Lopardo really seem to be listening to each other. Elsewhere, one is more aware than in the theatre that Lopardo's light tenor is far from being an idiomatic Italian voice.
His idiosyncratic tone quality and un-Italian vowels can be problematical, as is some ungainly lifting up into notes. Leo Nucci, Decca's resident Verdi baritone at the time, makes a standard Giorgio Germont, not more, and apart from Leah-Marian Jones's energetic Flora, the smaller roles don't say a great deal for the Royal Opera's depth of casting.
Solti insisted that the opera be performed complete. But there's nothing studied about his conducting: the performance is fresh and alive from the first note to the last, the result of a lifetime's experience of how to pace a drama in the opera house . With the increasing number of live opera sets, a recommendation for La traviata is likely to be based on whether one is prepared to accept noises-off or not. Decca's recording is well balanced and vivid, dancing feet and banging doors included. Among the live sets, Giulini and Callas at La Scala in 1955 must be hors concours, but in rather awful sound. Muti's more recent La Scala set, in which he has to wrestle with Tiziana Fabbricini's wayward talents as Violetta, is the nearest comparison.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“... the Decca engineers here offer one of the most vivid and involving versions ever of La Traviata ... Gheorghiu brings heartfelt revelations, using her rich and vibrant, finely shaded soprano with consistent subtlety.” Penguin Guide

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Decca Opera Sets - 4481192

(CD - 2 discs)

$25.75

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Verdi: La Traviata

Verdi: La Traviata


Angela Gheorghiu (Violetta), Frank Lopardo (Alfredo), Leo Nucci (Giorgio Germont), Leah-Marian Jones (Flora), Gillian Knight (Annina), Robin Leggate (Gastone), Mark Beesley (Dottore Grenvil), Richard Van Allan (Baron Douphol), Roderick Earle (Marchese d'Obigny)

Orchestra & Chorus of Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Georg Solti

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese

“The singing is glorious, and this is one of the DVDs that should be the cornerstone in any collection. A superb stage spectacle.” Penguin Guide

“There's no shortage of superb Violettas on DVD, but Angela Gheorghiu's 1994 assumption of the role in Richard Eyre's Covent Garden production under her mentor Sir Georg Solti is the stuff of modern legend; the elegance, vulnerability and sheer vocal beauty of these performances catapulted the then-29-year-old soprano to stardom. It's very much the diva's night, but Frank Lopardo sings stylishly as Alfredo and the smaller roles receive characterful performances from some of the UK's finest comprimario singers.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Decca - 0714319

(DVD Video)

$17.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict

Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict


Janet Baker (Béatrice), Robert Tear (Bénédict), Christiane Eda-Pierre (Héro), Helen Watts (Ursule), Thomas Allen (Claudio), Jules Bastin (Somarone), Robert Lloyd (Don Pedro), Richard van Allan (Leonato)

The John Alldis Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis

Philips - 4789303

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