Tim Mead

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Pergolesi: Stabat Mater

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV54 'Widerstehe doch der Sünde'

Cantata BWV170 'Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust'

Pergolesi:

Stabat Mater


Lucy Crowe (soprano) & Tim Mead (counter-tenor)

La Nuova Musica, David Bates

Two of Bach’s finest cantatas, both for solo alto, composed in Weimar (1714) and Leipzig (1726) respectively, are here coupled with the delicious agony of grief that is Pergolesi’s 'Stabat mater', an acknowledged masterpiece by one of the 18th century’s most influential composers. Bach so admired the composition of his Neapolitan colleague that he made his own ‘parody’ of it to a German text. On this recording, La Nuova Musica, in its 10th anniversary year, and its two eminent soloists display equal mastery of both idioms.

Counter-tenor Tim Mead is praised for his “alluring...consistently excellent” interpretations (The New York Times). With his “rich, mellifluous sound” (Guardian), he is recognised as one of the finest across the generations of counter-tenors. Described as having a voice of bell-like clarity with an impeccable vocal technique and powerful stage presence, Lucy Crowe has established herself as one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation.

Lucy Crowe and Tim Mead reunite to perform the 'Stabat Mater' at St John's Smith Square on May 12th [Early Opera Company/Curnyn]

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Handel: Admeto, Re di Tessaglia HWV22

Handel: Admeto, Re di Tessaglia HWV22


Marie Arnet (Alceste), David Bates (Trasimede), Kirsten Blaise (Antigona), Tim Mead (Admeto), Wolf Matthias Friedrich (Meraspe) & Andrew Radley (Orindo)

FestspielOrchester Gottingen & Mamu Dance Theatre, Nicholas McGegan (conductor) & Doris Dörrie (stage director)

Solo dance and choreography: Tadashi Endo

For Handel’s Admeto, Oscar-nominated film director Doris Dörrie – winner of the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival’s prestigious Herald Angel Award – returns to her beloved subject of Japan. In vividly coloured and brilliantly realized set pieces, one of Handel’s most popular operas receives a stunning transformation into the stylishly ritualized world of samurai culture.

Bonus: Baroque and Butoh

Sound format: DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM 2.0

Picture: 16:9, HD

Subtitles: Italian (original language), English, German, French / Bonus: English

Booklet: English, German, French

Total running time: 202 mins (Opera: 181 mins + Bonus: 21 mins)

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Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232

Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232


Lydia Teuscher (soprano), Ida Falk Winland (soprano), Tim Mead (countertenor), Samuel Boden (tenor), Neal Davies (bass)

Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen talks to Presto's David Smith about the recording here.

Arcangelo and their inspirational director Jonathan Cohen, one of the brightest stars in the Early Music galaxy, present Bach’s great masterpiece in a glorious new recording made following a thrilling performance at the Tetbury festival.

Arcangelo are still a relatively new ensemble, but have already won one Gramophone Award and been nominated for another. The members of the choir and orchestra are performers of dazzling technical ability with a passion for faithful interpretation that goes far beyond historical understanding. Their previous recordings for Hyperion have been praised for their liveliness, colour and full string sound. In this new recording these aspects of their performance are alchemically combined with a feeling of the great solemnity of Bach’s monumental achievement.

“Cohen's rejection of the generic, within a grand and ravishing overview, is what propels an overwhelming sense here that this reading deserves to be taken very seriously...The work infrequently speaks with such gracefulness, freedom or conviction.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“One might expect Cohen’s Arcangelo to opt for minimal personnel — although the trumpety movements suggest spectacular forces — but his choir of 20 can convey the inward spirituality of Et incarnatus est and the laudatory éclat of the Gloria and Et resurrexit with equal efficacy.” Sunday Times, 23rd November 2014

“Cohen's take side-steps Joshua Rifkin's premise that it should be sung one-to-a-part and fields a choir of 20...Cohen announces the Credo at an invigoratingly purposeful lick...Tim Mead's eloquently restrained Agnus Dei is crowned by a Dona nobis pacem whose blazing grandiloquence grips.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Gradually the ear responds to Jonathan Cohen’s musically intelligent mix of period and mainstream traditions, delivered by top musicians...This account will please, especially, anyone trapped between the extremes of Bach performance practice, unsure how to choose a B minor mass from the numerous options on offer.” The Observer, 30th November 2014 ****

“A performance that couldn’t be bettered.” MusicWeb International, April 2015

“[the] lines are finely shaped and their textures sound rich rather than heavy. This is a superbly conceived and executed set, absolutely joyous and gloriously colourful” Early Music Today, May 2015 *****

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


Lucy Crowe (soprano), Tim Mead (counter-tenor), Andrew Staples (tenor), Christopher Purves (baritone)

Le Concert d’Astrée Orchestre et Chœur, Emmanuelle Haïm

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Emmanuelle Haïm has established herself as one of the world’s leading performers, conductors and interpreters of Baroque repertoire, not only with Le Concert d’Astrée, the ensemble she founded in 2000, but with several of the world’s greatest orchestras. Known for her fresh and expressive approach to Baroque music, she has appeared as a guest conductor with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Berliner Philharmoniker. With her own ensemble she has garnered critical acclaim and several international awards, including Victoires de la Musique Classique, ECHOs, Gramophone Awards, and Grammy nominations.

For this English-language recording of Handel’s masterwork Messiah, Haïm is joined by the orchestra and chorus of Le Concert d’Astrée, as well as four outstanding English singers – Lucy Crowe, Tim Mead, Andrew Staples and Christopher Purves.

“The choir and orchestra of Le Concert d’Astrée trot along with the trim rhythms now customary in “authentic” performances of Handel. Occasionally they slice their notes too abruptly for comfort...Among the soloists, Lucy Crowe and Christopher Purves are the most consistently pleasurable.” The Times, 28th November 2014 ***

“The soloists rise to Haïm’s challenge in fine style; all show great flexibility in adapting their voices to expressing a far wider range of emotions than Messiah is normally thought to involve...This is definitely a Messiah worth listening to; lively and varied, it really is a new injection of life into an old favourite work and a recording that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the existing benchmarks.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 8th December 2014

“The delivery of the choruses is crisply focused and shaped impressively, Haïm sensibly opts to hire top-notch English freelancers...There are a small number of occasions when Haïm could have let the music speak more naturally for itself...Nevertheless, the fusion of dramatic mood, orchestral texture and an inspired soloist often pays off handsomely.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

“the vocal ornamentation, as sung by the outstanding solo quartet...sounds entirely stylish and idiomatic...Haïm’s choir for this work, too, comprises mainly native English-speakers, and it shows in their trenchant diction. Their Hallelujah is magnificent...One of the most dramatic and exciting Messiahs in recent memory.” Sunday Times, 14th December 2014

“Haïm directs the music with the same sort of Gallic lightness and grace that she absorbed during her early years with the French group Les Arts Florissants...The result is not as exhilarating as some, and sometimes a touch fussy, but Haïm finds expression wherever she looks and Le Concert d’Astrée respond keenly.” Financial Times, 20th December 2014 ***

“Haïm herself proves broadly sensitive to tempo...and balance has been excellently managed in what is a resonant acoustic. Le Concert d’Astrée's chorus numbers 20...they also keep light on their collective feet. The 26-strong orchestra, too, supplies vitality as well as solemnity and flexibility.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ****

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Handel: The Triumph of Time and Truth

Handel: The Triumph of Time and Truth


Sophie Bevan, Mary Bevan (sopranos), Tim Mead (countertenor), Ed Lyon (tenor), William Berger (bass)

Ludus Baroque, Richard Neville-Towle

In their third disc for Delphian, Ludus Baroque and five stellar soloists bring to life Handel’s rarely heard final oratorio, a remarkable Protestant re-casting of a work written 50 years earlier to a text by the young composer’s Roman patron Cardinal Pamphili. Compelled by Time and Truth to accept the divine order of change and decay, Beauty ultimately gives way – as with the aging composer himself – to an assertion of redemption by good works, reflected in the incorporation of choruses Handel had written for the Foundling Hospital.

The resulting work, neglected by centuries of scholarship on account of its hybrid origins, here proves an extraordinary feast of riches, and the ideal vehicle for Richard Neville-Towle’s carefully assembled cast of exceptional soloists, vigorous, intelligent chorus and an orchestra made up from some of the UK’s leading period instrumentalists. Formed in 1998 under the direction of Richard Neville-Towle, this ‘crack group of British early musickers’ (The New York Times) prides itself on the exuberance and energy of its performances, specialising in great works of the early music repertoire. With sisters Mary and Sophie Bevan (the latter having just been shortlisted for an RPS award) jousting with one another in the roles of Deceit and Beauty, these discs make for revelatory listening.

“finely shaped, unflamboyant conducting from Neville-Towle, gracious playing and some very fine singing. Sophie Bevan plays Beauty in what is arguably her finest recording to date. Her sister Mary as Deceit sounds at once seductive and cunning, while Ed Lyon is all elegant bravado and swagger as Pleasure.” The Guardian, 26th June 2014

“the music of The Triumph of Time and Truth, Handel’s last oratorio before he died in 1759, is of such strength, freshness and radiance – notably so in this buoyant, scrupulously characterised performance by the early-music group Ludus Baroque and a glorious line-up of soloists.” The Telegraph, 17th June 2014 ****

“The small orchestra playing is stylish and characterful...Excellent, spirited singing from both choir and soloists throughout – Ludus Baroque's most valuable Handel recording so far confirms that this unclassifiable, peculiar work is well worth revisiting.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“Both Bevans sing with lustrous tone, natural agility and exquisite decorations, Lyon and William Berger (Time) with taut elegance and Tim Mead (Counsel) with immaculate poise. Though Neville-Towle's tempos sometimes waver, this is a performance of great warmth.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ****

“Graceful singing from a fine British cast — Sophie Bevan outstanding...— reveal a work of profound beauty.” The Times, 16th August 2014 ****

“Keep an eye on this Ludus/Delphian partnership.” International Record Review, September 2014

“Ludus Baroque under Richard Neville-Towle gives a fine account of the Overture … The singers taking the solo parts are excellent and the balance superb...There is so much first class music to be heard in this rarely-performed oratorio.” MusicWeb International, 13th October 2014

“A delight from start to finish. Instrumental contributions are crisp and stylish, the young cast are excellent (especially scene-stealers Mary and Sophie Bevan), and the production comes across with energy and panache.” Classical Music *****

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Britten: Death in Venice

Britten: Death in Venice

Recorded live at The London Coliseum, June 2013


John Graham-Hall (Gustav von Aschenbach), Andrew Shore (Traveller/Elderly Fop/Gondolier/Barber/ Hotel Manager Player/Dionysus), Tim Mead (Apollo), Sam Zaldivar (Tadzio), Laura Caldow (The Polish Mother), Mia Angelina Mather/Xhuliana Shehu (Her Two Daughters), Joyce Henderson (The Governess), Marcio Teixeira (Jaschiu, Tadzio’s friend)

Orchestra and Chorus of the English National Opera, Edward Gardner (conductor) & Deborah Warner (director)

Deborah Warner’s beautiful and evocative production of Britten’s final operatic masterpiece has been acclaimed as an ‘exquisitely achieved marriage of music, drama and design’ (The Independent). In Britten’s luminous and compelling interpretation of Thomas Mann’s classic novella, the ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach’s infatuation with the Polish boy Tadzio and his subsequent decline are portrayed in a ‘remarkable and harrowingly believable’ performance (The Guardian) by John Graham-Hall, who had already won golden opinions for singing the role of Aschenbach at La Scala. The superb ENO chorus and orchestra are conducted by Edward Gardner, a long-standing champion of Britten’s music.

Running time: 153 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“It's not often one can say a production is improved by viewing on a small screen but, for me, this one was...Graham-Hall is a real stage-animal, convincing us utterly of his descent into obsession...Above all, every colour, timbre and texture of this richly imaginative score comes blazing through under Gardner's baton.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

“Warner’s production is worthy of this magnificent work, and she has secured disciplined and stylish performances from her cast. Visually it is both stunning and haunting...So much depends on the role of Aschenbach, and here John Graham-Hall does a fine job...Andrew Shore is superb; he manages to give each one an individuality...So is this the best ‘Death in Venice’ on DVD? I suspect it is, for it is very fine.” MusicWeb International, 3rd June 2014

“Warner’s production for ENO manages to solve pretty much every problem she faces...the lighting by Jean Kalman is exquisite...[Graham-Hall's] singing is clear, his diction crisp and he outlines every nuance of the role – it’s a subtle tour de force...Gardner's conducting underpins everything with refinement.” Opera Now *****

“Deborah Warner directs this visually stunning but emotionally harrowing ENO production. John Graham-Hall is totally convincing as the ageing writer Aschenbach, struggling with his obsession with the young Tadzio, and Edward Gardner conducts a haunting rendition of the score” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

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Finalist - Opera

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Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea


Sonya Yoncheva (Poppée), Max Emanuel Cencic (Néron), Ann Hallenberg (Octavie), Tim Mead (Othon), Paul Whelan (Sénèque) & Amel Brahim-Djelloul (Drusilla)

Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor) & Jean-François Sivadier (stage director)

One Roman emperor is not enough for conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. After Julius Caesar in Handel’s opera –recorded for Virgin Classics DVD at Paris’ Palais Garnier with Lawrence Zazzo as Giulio Cesare and Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra – she now brings a ruler of less illustrious reputation: Nero (Nerone) in Monteverdi’s sensuous and cruel story of love, ambition and politics, L’incoronazione di Poppea.

This production, recorded in 2012 at the exquisite opera house in Lille, is by the French director Jean-François Sivadier; he was also responsible for La traviata in 2011 at Aix-en-Provence, a staging which starred Natalie Dessay and can be seen on a Virgin Classics DVD.

In Poppea, Sivadier takes a relatively minimalist approach, with the characters in an eclectic mixture of modern and Ancient Roman dress. Nerone, here an almost punk-like figure, with peroxide blond spiky hair, is portrayed by star countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic, who has recently enjoyed major successes with his Virgin Classics recordings of Vinci’s rare opera Artaserse and a recital programme Venezia. Cencic has already appeared on a Virgin Classics DVD of Poppea, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm’s mentor William Christie, recorded in Madrid and released in 2012, but there he played Poppea’s discarded lover, Ottone, a role taken in Lille by British countertenor Tim Mead. Poppea herself is sung here by the glamorous Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who won Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition in 2010 and is a former member of William Christie’s academy for young singers, Le Jardin des Voix.

Speaking of his approach to the opera, Jean-François Sivadier has said: “Nero’s court is cut off from the world, a place ruled by terror and paranoia, a family in which each member is full of ambiguities. I wanted the audience to be constantly aware of the interdependence of all the characters: each event takes the course of history in a new direction; it is like a chain of chemical reactions between bodies that are sensitive to the slightest change.”

As the French newspaper Les Échos wrote: “The excitement, the passions, the impulses and the hatred to be found in this Shakespearean story are all the more intense [for the sobriety of Sivadier’s approach]. Sonya Yoncheva has no trouble seducing both Nerone and the audience, thanks to her voluptuous roundness of voice and physique. A feline lover, she knows how to flash her claws when she wishes to depose her rival Ottavia, the unhappy woman who, in Ann Hallenberg, finds an interpreter as superb for the nobility of her singing as for her expressions of sorrow ... Max Emanuel Cencic portrays a Nerone who is in thrall to his senses while remaining the pitiless master of his court. Emmanuel Haïm takes the colours and dramatic nuances proffered by her ensemble, Le Concert d’Astrée, and distributes them to fine effect. She takes an active role in Monteverdi’s triumph.” Classica magazine, meanwhile, wrote that: “Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée, in fine form, breathe amorously hot and cold over Jean-François Sivadier’s intelligent production, which, typically, favours living beings over decor.”

“[Haim leads with] a fine sensitivity towards the urgent, tensile springiness of the melodic lines; and a superb handling of the instrumental forces...The title role here is taken by the suitably voluptuous Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva who has admirable technique and tone” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ****

“Cencic has the range to bash out Nerone's highest notes, and the occasional histrionic high passages and over-the-top delivery suit Nerone's brattish character. Ann Hallenberg's jilted Ottavia and Tim Mead's Ottone...are vocally and dramatically outstanding.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2013

“The play-within-a-play a la Brecht eventually recedes and the opera turns specifically into itself, up until very near the end...[Cencic] is one dangerous, hyperactive, dishevelled Emperor...[Haim's] way of colouring a scene rarely fails her.” International Record Review, September 2013

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Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea

Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea


Birgitte Christensen (Poppea), Jacek Laszczkowski (Nero), Tim Mead (Ottone), Marita Sølberg (Virtú/Drusilla), Patricia Bardon (Ottavia), Amelie Aldenheim (Amore), Ina Kringlebotn (Fortuna), Tone Kruse (Nutrice), Giovanni Battista Parodi (Seneca), Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro (Arnalta), David Fielder (Valetto), Magnus Staveland (Lucano)

Orchestra of the Norwegian National Opera, Alessandro de Marchi

Staged by Ole Anders Tandberg, adapted and filmed by Anja Stabell and Stein-Roger Bull in 2010 at the Norwegian National Opera.

The Coronation of Poppea was the début production from critically acclaimed stage director Ole Anders Tandberg in the Norwegian Opera & Ballet, and he lets blood flow. TV directors Anja Stabell and Stein-Roger Bull reinforces the impact by letting blood’s bright color compete against black and white images. Poppea like you’ve never seen it before!

Special packaging with a high quality slipcase.

At the centre of events is the power-crazed Poppea. She aspires to the top level of the hierarchy and seduces Emperor Nero. He is totally captivated by Poppea and does everything possible to marry her, even if it leads to murder. A classic drama unfolds, where the struggle for power and riches paints an unattractive portrait of humankind. In this respect not much has changed since the opera was written 365 years ago.

Picture format: NTSC - 16:9

Sound formats: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region code: 0

Booklet notes: English, German, French

Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Japanese, Nowegian

Running time: 180 mins

“How best to depict these grotesques for a 21st-century audience? Ole Anders Tandberg's solution is to put them in modern dress and to have them indulge in what the booklet-note calls 'frequent lashings of blood and sex'...as for the blood, for lashings read buckets. Jacek Lazczkowski plays Nero brilliantly as a complete psychopath...the best [singing] is from Tim Mead and Patricia Bardon.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012

“It relentlessly portrays the leaders of the Roman Empire as violent, sex-mad adolescents...There is, though, some truly terrific singing here. Birgitte Christiansen (Poppea) is an amazingly assured musical presence, who can colour her voice to fit every occasion. Jacek Laszczkowski (Nero) is expressively menacing and lascivious by turn” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****

“[Tandberg] has created distinct individuals onstage in even the smallest roles...Few operatic portrayals have communicated sheer lust more convincingly than Jacek Laszczkowski's Nerone. He's also capable of terrifying nastiness...Christensen's Poppea and mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon's Ottavia are in every way stunning...Tone Kruse (Nutrice) nearly steals the show with her boldly chesty contralto and fabulously earthy characterization.” International Record Review, June 2012

“Patricia Bardon's powerful voice makes a wonderful Ottavia...While the idea of making a TV production of an opera is certainly laudable, the choices in this production seem to be those that would push away many viewers. It seems as though everything in the direction and staging is designed to be an "effect", turning the characters into mere puppets.” MusicWeb International, July 2012

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EuroArts - 2058928

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Cavalli: Ercole Amante

Cavalli: Ercole Amante


Luca Pisaroni (Ercole), Veronica Cangemi (Iole), Anna Bonitatibus (Giunone), Jeremy Ovenden (Hyllo), Anna Maria Panzarella (Deianira), Marlin Miller (Licco), Umberto Chiummo (Nettuno/Tevere/Spirit of Eutyro), Wilke te Brummelstroete (Bellezza/Venere), Johannette Zomer (Cinzia/Parsitea/Spirit of Clerica), Mark Tucker (Mercurio/Spirit of Laomedonte) & Tim Mead (Paggio/Spirit of Bussiride)

Concerto Köln & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Ivor Bolton (conductor) & David Alden (stage director)

This hilarious contemporary version of Francesco Cavalli’s baroque opera Hercules in Love was commissioned on occasion of the marriage of Louis XIV, the Sun King, to Maria Theresa of Spain. The original production took two years to complete and was at the time the greatest show ever performed in Europe. Directed by David Alden, this surreal production is a triumph of commedia buffa resplendent with decorative and symbolic elements, and complemented by Constance Hoffman’s exceptional costumes. Led by Ivor Bolton, a master of baroque music, the chorus of De Nederlandse Opera and Concerto Köln give a sublime performance. With Luca Pisaroni’s (Ercole) singing being heroic and melodious in turn, and Veronica Cangemi as a splendid Iole, this is an outstanding production by the DNO. Filmed in High Definition and surround sound.

Extra features:

Illustrated synopsis.

Cast gallery.

Behind the scenes with Johanette Zomer.

Behind the scenes with Luca Pisaroni.

The making of Ercole Amante.

Region code All regions

Video codec: AVC/MPEG-4

Disc size: BD50

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9 Sound format 5.0 DTS Surround

Menu language EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/ES/IT/NL

“This is a ravishing production in every department - scenery, stage effects, costumes, dancing, acting and music. Luca Pisaroni is an assured and vigorous Hercules...but it is Cavalli's women who steal the show...this is an enterprising, entertaining and enlightening offering from Amsterdam.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2010 ****

“The production, like the piece, is moving, funny and literally action-packed. Alden knows well when to fill or empty his stage....Bolton leads his large authentic-instrument forces with gusto...Hugely recommended.” Gramophone Magazine

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Birtwistle: The Minotaur

Birtwistle: The Minotaur

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on the 25th & 30th April and 3rd May 2008.


John Tomlinson (The Minotaur), Johan Reuter (Theseus), Christine Rice (Ariadne), Andrew Watts (Snake Priestess), Philip Langridge (Hiereus), Amanda Echalaz (Ker), Rebecca Bottone, Pumeza Matshikiza, Wendy Dawn Thompson, Christopher Ainslie, Tim Mead (Innocents)

The Royal Opera Chorus & The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Stephen Langridge (stage director)

This world premiere of a gripping new work by composer Harrison Birtwistle and librettist David Harsent, commissioned by The Royal Opera, brings the monstrous, Greek mythological character to the stage. John Tomlinson stars as the Minotaur, part man, part beast, trapped in his labyrinth and constrained by his bloodthirsty role there, longs to discover his true identity and his own voice. Athens must pay a blood sacrifice to Crete and among the innocents is Theseus, who has come to challenge the violent Minotaur, but who also attracts the attention of Ariadne, half-sister and keeper of the monster; it is with her help he succeeds. Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House.

‘Thanks to a superb cast and impeccable playing under Antonio Pappano, the evening is a glittering success. …what Birtwistle has done is give us one opera inside another. The outer one is strident and earthbound; the inner one – ending with the Minotaur's Caliban-like dying aria – burns with visionary fire.’ The Independent

Extra features:

Documentary: ‘Myth is universal'.

Illustrated synopsis & cast gallery.

Running time 175 mins

Region code All regions

Video codec: AVC/MPEG-4

Disc size: BD50

Picture format 1080i High Definition / 16:9

Sound format 2.0 & 5.0 PCM (TBC)

Menu language EN

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

“This opera, premiered at the Royal Opera last April, seems to me to be a masterpiece, of the kind that one feels the greatness of before one has a complete understanding of it. …the Minotaur is a terrifying and pained figure. This performance is the climax of John Tomlinson's career, in a part written with his huge, gravelly voice in mind. The other compelling figure is Ariadne... Christine Rice, bearing the weight of exposition and of suffering, uses her wonderfully rich mezzo to stunning effect.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 *****

“The filming reinforces the strengths of Stephen Langridge's tightly controlled, potently expressive production in an economical yet atmospheric setting, with the whole ensemble totally engaged in the drama's dark enterprise. Repeated hearings underline that, in the end, this tragedy is the more convincing for the way its turn towards pathos does not involve any false consolation.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

“Birtwistle's latest large-scale music drama, written for Covent Garden, is a quite different experience on DVD: what might have been planned by composer and stage director to be witnessed from a distance is shown in unsparing close-up. But this seething, monumental reinvention of one of the most disquieting Greek myths – with a pithy libretto by David Harsent – is neither betrayed nor diminished by this excellent film. Only in its final stages does the opera's focus shift decisively to the doomed Minotaur from the scheming Ariadne, and the drama's most essential point is that this Ariadne – as different from Strauss's as Birtwistle's Orpheus is different from Gluck's – is in her own way as much of a monster as the half-man/half-bull. These demanding roles are projected with maximum musical eloquence by Christine Rice and Sir John Tomlinson, no doubt because – as Rice makes clear in the absorbing 30-minute documentary that accompanies the performance – what is demanding is also intensely rewarding to singers prepared to commit themselves to a steep learning curve. Equal commitment is evident in Johan Reuter's Theseus, the conventions of heroic posturing given new depth and relevance in text, music and vocal acting alike. We see little of Antonio Pappano and his orchestra, but the excellent sound never lets us escape the inexorable magnetism of the instrumental continuum.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Awards 2009

Finalist - DVD

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7052D

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