Francesco Meli

Tenor

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Verdi: I Due Foscari

Verdi: I Due Foscari


Plácido Domingo (Francesco Foscari), Francesco Meli (Jacopo Foscari), Anna Pirozzi (Lucrezia Contarini), Chiara Isotton (Pisana), Andrea Concetti (Jacopo Loredano), Edoardo Milletti (Barbarigo)

Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Michele Mariotti, Alvis Hermanis (dir.)

In his ‘new life’ as a baritone Plácido Domingo has triumphed in the role of Francesco Foscari in Los Angeles, London and Vienna. Now he takes to the role in La Scala, Milan, the theatre that is the symbol of Italian opera. I due Foscari, premiered in 1844, famously one of Verdi’s darkest operas, is staged by Alvis Hermanis, who made such an impact at the Salzburg Festival with Die Soldaten and Il trovatore. Domingo is joined by two of Italy’s most exciting singers, the soprano Anna Pirozzi and the tenor Francesco Meli, and the acclaimed Italian conductor Michele Mariotti. The Financial Times was deeply moved by Domingo’s performance, calling his interpretation of the role ‘sublime’.

BONUS Ioan Holender interviews Plácido Domingo on the occasion of I Due Foscari at La Scala in Milan

SUBTITLES: Italian (original language), German, English, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese BONUS: English, German BOOKLET: English, German, French TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 138 mins (Opera 122’/ Bonus 16’)

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C Major - 742008

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Verdi: I Due Foscari

Verdi: I Due Foscari


Plácido Domingo (Francesco Foscari), Francesco Meli (Jacopo Foscari), Anna Pirozzi (Lucrezia Contarini), Chiara Isotton (Pisana), Andrea Concetti (Jacopo Loredano), Edoardo Milletti (Barbarigo)

Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Michele Mariotti, Alvis Hermanis (dir.)

In his ‘new life’ as a baritone Plácido Domingo has triumphed in the role of Francesco Foscari in Los Angeles, London and Vienna. Now he takes to the role in La Scala, Milan, the theatre that is the symbol of Italian opera. I due Foscari, premiered in 1844, famously one of Verdi’s darkest operas, is staged by Alvis Hermanis, who made such an impact at the Salzburg Festival with Die Soldaten and Il trovatore. Domingo is joined by two of Italy’s most exciting singers, the soprano Anna Pirozzi and the tenor Francesco Meli, and the acclaimed Italian conductor Michele Mariotti. The Financial Times was deeply moved by Domingo’s performance, calling his interpretation of the role ‘sublime’.

BONUS Ioan Holender interviews Plácido Domingo on the occasion of I Due Foscari at La Scala in Milan

SUBTITLES: Italian (original language), German, English, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese BONUS: English, German BOOKLET: English, German, French TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 138 mins (Opera 122’/ Bonus 16’)

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C Major - 742104

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Bellini: La Sonnambula

Bellini: La Sonnambula


Natalie Dessay (Amina), Carlo Colombara (Rodolfo), Francesco Meli (Elvino), Sara Mingardo (Teresa), Paul Gay (Alessio), Jaël Azzaretti (Lisa), Gordon Gietz (Notaro)

Orchestre & Chœurs de l’Opéra de Lyon, Evelino Pidò

“Quite simply, Natalie Dessay is the most accomplished and the most affecting Amina on record since Callas,” wrote BBC Music Magazine, awarding five stars to this recording of La sonnambula. Made in the soprano’s native city of Lyon, it was conducted by Evelino Pidò, praised by Opera magazine for his “exquisite sensibility [in] shaping melodies and providing the principal singers with expressive opportunities”. Two of today’s finest Italian singers play the men whose lives become entangled with Amina’s innocent sleepwalking: tenor Francesco Meli and bass Carlo Colombara.

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Erato The Opera Series - 9029586908

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$14.00

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem


Recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda gathered together an outstanding cast of Italian stars for these searing performances of Verdi’s Requiem to open the LSO’s 2016/17 season.

Originally destined to be a collaboration of movements from Italian composers to honour the death of Rossini, the Requiem evolved into a memorial for the Italian writer and poet Alessandro Manzoni, whom Verdi revered, and premiered on 22 May 1874 – exactly a year after Manzoni’s death.

The most complex and dramatic sequence is the 'Dies irae' (Day of wrath). The vivid text of the Last Judgement allows Verdi's operatic talents to flourish amidst the drama and pathos. The main theme erupts in violent fury of brass and percussion while the chorus roars a descending scale pattern of intimidating catastrophe and fear. In a momentary lull, a single trumpet in the orchestra opens a simple fanfare, answered quietly by a trumpet out in the concert hall. The fanfare builds in intensity and numbers until the four trumpets on stage and four house trumpets, often spatially arranged for maximum effect, join the full orchestra for a blazing opening to the choral entrance of the 'Tuba mirum' (The trumpet shall sound).

Whilst not a devout Catholic, Verdi was influenced by a profound sense of higher power: combining his gifts for the theatrical with his admiration for the great Italian liturgical music of the past, he created a passionate and deeply moving masterpiece, beloved of performers and audiences alike.

“Michele Pertusi is exemplary, with a lovely legato quality…Erika Grimaldi is at her best when projecting the drama of the text…the LSO Chorus are superb throughout, as are the LSO themselves. The strings and brass, especially, respond to Noseda’s direction with refinement and panache” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“this is an impressively disciplined account of the mighty score, with expressive Italian soloists, a superb choir (trained by Simon Halsey) and the LSO on top form.” Sunday Times, 3rd April 2017

“Under Gianandrea Noseda, this live recording by the London Symphony Orchestra, LSO Chorus and evenly matched vocal quartet of Erika Grimaldi (soprano), Daniels Barcellona (mezzo soprano), Francesco Meli (tenor) and Michele Pertusi (bass), play honestly and powerfully to its strengths. Noseda paces it with dramatic verve and fresh intensity. The chorus has focus, girth and versatility. The soloists strike that fine balance between discipline and indulgence. There are many moments that will send shivers up the spine.” The Scotsman, 18th April 2017

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem

Recorded at Teatro Farnese/Verdi Festival Parma, October 2011


Conducter Yuri Temirkanov has appeared with leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

This Requiem fields an outstanding cast of singers, all with glittering international careers.

Fantastic 52 minutes Bonus: Verdi´s Backyard

The documentary introduces us to Verdi’s beautiful “homeland”, the region of Parma.From the little village called Le Roncole in the vicinity of Parma, where Verdi was born, to the estate close to Parma, where Verdi – despite the great triumphs he celebrated in Milan, Venice, Naples and other major cities – always came back to and chose to spend most of his life. We get to know how Verdi “lives on” in the region and has even formed the area – from the everyday life of a simple peasant to the life of one of the biggest opera stars in the world, Leo Nucci, who is a regular guest at the Verdi Festival in Parma.

Running Time Total: 147 Minutes

Oratorio: 95 Minutes

Bonus: 52 Minutes

Picture 16:9, HD

Sound DVD: DTS 5.1, PCM Stereo

Subtitles Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese

Bonus: English, Italian

“The soloists are all very satisfactory but the performance, whilst precise, is not urgent and indeed seems a bit slow.” MusicWeb International, 13th February 2014

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C Major TUTTO VERDI - 725408

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Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Teatro Regio di Parma, 2010


Leo Nucci (Simon Boccanegra), Robert Scandiuzzi (Jacopo Fiesco), Simone Piazzola (Paolo Albiani), Paolo Pecchioli (Pietro), Tamar Iveri (Amelia/Maria), Francesco Meli (Gabriele Adorno)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma, Daniele Callegari

Staged by Giorgio Gallione

The next instalment in C Major’s Tutto Verdi project is the Teatro Regio di Parma production of Simon Boccanegra.

The cast features top soloists, led by Leo Nucci in the title role.

The performance is conducted by Daniele Callegari, who has conducted at some of the biggest opera houses around the world.

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

BD: DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM 2.0

RUNNING TIME: TOTAL: 147 MINUTES (OPERA: 137 MINUTES, BONUS: 10 MINUTES)

SUBTITLES: ITALIAN (ORIGINAL LANGUAGE), ENGLISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, SPANISH, CHINESE, KOREAN, JAPANESE

AVAILABILITY: WORLDWIDE

“The solo singing is adequate and often more than that and dominated by Leo Nucci’s portrayal of the eponymous role...Scandiuzzi as Boccanegra’s implacable foe, Fiesco, is sonorous and acts well...Tamar Iveri as Amelia sings with warm womanly tone if rather too carefully..Meli sings strongly with clear forward open tone.” MusicWeb International, 26th August 2013

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C Major TUTTO VERDI - 724104

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Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle

Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle


Following the success of two recent Rossini recordings, the sacred Stabat Mater and the opera William Tell, Antonio Pappano and his Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia have taken on the composer’s late masterpiece, the Petite Messe solennelle. The soloists are Marina Rebeka, Sara Mingardo, Francesco Meli and Alex Esposito. Like the earlier-mentioned Rossini titles, the Petite Messe solennelle was recorded in the Orchestra’s acoustically fine home, the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome.

Gramophone hailed the recording of the Stabat Mater as “one of the great choral recordings” and “a revelatory account” in which “Tender and expressive word-painting … is a feature of the entire performance, underpinned by Pappano’s superbly crisp yet endlessly considerate pointing of Rossini’s trademark rhythmic invention.” The Sunday Times wrote, “Pappano lives the text like the great opera conductor he is, bringing consolation as well as fire and brimstone to Rossini’s heady spiritual brew.” Of their William Tell release, The Independent wrote, “Rossini's final opera is infrequently staged, and it's unlikely anyone will try again soon: why risk comparison with Pappano's magisterial presentation, the latest in a string of triumphs for the maestro?”

Gioachino Rossini composed the Petite Messe solennelle in 1863 at his villa in Passy on the outskirts of Paris. He had moved there from Italy in 1855 with his Parisian-born second wife Olympe Pelissier and found that, after years of ill health during which he had stopped composing altogether, he felt much better in Paris. When he began to compose again, rather than operas, he turned his hand to smaller-scale works, instrumentally accompanied songs, piano and chamber music, which he referred to as his ‘Péchées de vieillesse’ (‘Sins of old age’). Many were performed at the Saturday evening soirees that he and his wife hosted at their home starting in the winter of 1858.

The Count and Countess Pillet-Will were bankers and friends of Rossini and it was to Countess Louise that the Petite Messe solennelle is dedicated. It is scored for twelve voices (four soloists and eight additional choristers), two pianos and harmonium. Rossini wrote at the top of the score, “Twelve singers of the three sexes, men, women and castrati will suffice for its performance: that is, eight for the chorus, four for the solos, twelve cherubim all told.” At the end of the score, he wrote, “Dear Lord, here it is finished, this poor little mass. Have I just written sacred music, or rather sacrilegious music? I was born for opera buffa, as you well know. Not much technique, a little bit of heart, that is all. Blessings to you and grant me Paradise.” The work was performed to consecrate the newly built private chapel at the Count and Countess’s grand new home and, shortly thereafter, for invited guests, although the composer did not attend either performance.

After that, he undertook to orchestrate the work – to ensure that no one else would do it after his death. During the orchestration process in 1867, he decided to add a previously composed piece for soprano, O salutaris hostia, between the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei of the Mass. On completion of the orchestration, Rossini put both versions away, permitting no further performances of either during his lifetime.

Shortly after Rossini’s death in November 1868, however, his widow sold performance rights to the orchestrated version to the impresario Maurice Strakosch, who arranged the first performance at the Théâtre Italien in Paris on 28th February 1869, as close as possible to the composer’s leap-year birthday on 29 February.

The soloists on this recording are the young Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka, whose recent debuts at Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival and Metropolitan Opera have been superlatively received; the award-winning Italian contralto Sara Mingardo, whose voice has been praised for its “extraordinarily rich contralto depths and interpretive capabilities”; the Italian tenor Francesco Meli, who made his Covent Garden and MET debuts in Rigoletto, performed at La Scala and in Vienna with Riccardo Muti and recorded La sonnambula with Natalie Dessay and Sara Mingardo for Virgin Classics; and the young Italian bass Alex Esposito, especially noted for his interpretations of works by Mozart and Rossini.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Pappano and his Santa Cecilia forces bring invigorating ardour to the composer’s treatment of the Latin Mass” Financial Times, 13th April 2013

“Pappano’s grand-operatic account in full orchestral clothing has a fine quartet of opera singers...but its glory is the wonderful Santa Cecilia chorus.” Sunday Times, 21st April 2013

“Pappano’s choir, far more than 12, remains endlessly mellifluous and secure as the music proceeds over 80 minutes, offering consolation and delight...The soprano Marina Rebeka stands out...Conductor, choir and orchestra always give Rossini their heart and soul.” The Times, 26th April 2013 ****

“The acoustics are bright and well-defined. The microphones, and doubtless Pappano as well, ensure that such details as the cellos’ insistent accompaniment to the “Kyrie” is given proper weight and that, for example, the harp comes through in “Qui tollis peccata mundi”.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2013 *****

“Pappano opts for a strong-limbed, purposeful approach that has the music sounding neither trite nor portentous, pleasingly bringing together its charm and expansiveness...The four high-quality soloists tread the same fine line with likeable sureness, while blending nicely together.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 ****

“The soloists have been well chosen. Senior among them is Sara Mingardo...Her fruity, not hooty, tones are clearly heard in the finely balanced ensembles: nobody is drowned by anyone else...The soprano of Rebeka has a gleam and a pureness but also some body, and she is capable of inflecting her music with gentle shading.” International Record Review, June 2013

“One of the hallmarks of Pappano’s previous recordings with these forces has been his happy knack of assembling solo quartets of apparently very disparate voices which somehow come together quite magically, and this musical alchemy is in evidence again here: he really has the balancing of light and dark timbres down to a fine art.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 22nd April 2013

Presto Disc of the Week

22nd April 2013

Warner Classics - 4167422

(CD - 2 discs)

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Donizetti: Anna Bolena

Donizetti: Anna Bolena


Anna Netrebko (Anna Bolena), Elina Garanca (Giovanna Seymour), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Enrico), Francesco Meli (Percy), Dan Paul Dumitrescu (Lord Rochefort), Elisabeth Kulman (Smeton), Peter Jelosits (Hervey)

Chor der Wiener Staatsoper & Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Evelino Pidò

With her sensational role debut at the Vienna State Opera, superstar diva Anna Netrebko displays a performance of rare vocal and dramatic power. The Russian soprano sings the role of the unjustly accused second wife of British King Henry VIII, ‘veering between indignant fury and tender righteousness’ and demonstrating a new level of confidence in her technique with excellent ‘passagework, particularly in trills, and seamless runs even to the lowest notes’ (Opera News).

The performance also stars DG mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, in ‘a fantastic display of bel canto’ (Opera News) as Anna's rival Giovanna Seymour. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo brings his beautifully dark tone to the role of Enrico and young Italian tenor Francesco Meli sings the demanding role of Lord Percy with a ‘youthful virility’ (Agence France Press), promising great things for the future. On the podium Evelino Pidò 'drew playing of unusual precision and refinement...making every note matter' (Financial Times).

“It's no accident that Netrebko's better forays into bel canto have come with Garanca by her side, inspiring her to some lovely singing. Their voices blend beautifully...I find her a welcome counterpoint to Netrebko's passionate queen...Netrebko emerges from the challenge triumphantly. The sincerity in her performance is admirable, while the darker vocal qualities she possesses suit the character well.” International Record Review, May 2012

“[Netrebko] gives a demonstration of characterisation and bel canto vocal virtuosity that is second to none, Callas included...Garanca’s is a consummate interpretation by an artist at the top of her game...D'Arcangelo is a tall, handsome and seductive Enrico whose smooth singing only lacks a little lower extension... Pidò adds to his reputation in this music with a well-paced and phrased interpretation.” MusicWeb International, May 2012

“Shades of The Tudors in this great-looking Vienna State Opera production from 2011, with Ildebrando d'Arcangelo's glamorous Henry VIII exuding authority if not historical accuracy (Henry would have cut a far less seductive figure by the time of the events depicted in the opera!). Anna Netrebko gives one of her finest performances to date as a fiery but guilt-ridden Anne Boleyn, and her scenes with Elina Garanca's cool, superbly sung Jane Seymour are utterly enthralling.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2014

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DG - 0734725

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Donizetti: Anna Bolena

Donizetti: Anna Bolena


Anna Netrebko (Anna Bolena), Elina Garanca (Giovanna Seymour), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Enrico), Francesco Meli (Percy), Dan Paul Dumitrescu (Lord Rochefort), Elisabeth Kulman (Smeton), Peter Jelosits (Hervey)

Chor der Wiener Staatsoper & Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Evelino Pidò

With her sensational role debut at the Vienna State Opera, superstar diva Anna Netrebko displays a performance of rare vocal and dramatic power. The Russian soprano sings the role of the unjustly accused second wife of British King Henry VIII, ‘veering between indignant fury and tender righteousness’ and demonstrating a new level of confidence in her technique with excellent ‘passagework, particularly in trills, and seamless runs even to the lowest notes’ (Opera News).

The performance also stars DG mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, in ‘a fantastic display of bel canto’ (Opera News) as Anna's rival Giovanna Seymour. Ildebrando D’Arcangelo brings his beautifully dark tone to the role of Enrico and young Italian tenor Francesco Meli sings the demanding role of Lord Percy with a ‘youthful virility’ (Agence France Press), promising great things for the future. On the podium Evelino Pidò 'drew playing of unusual precision and refinement...making every note matter' (Financial Times)

Subtitles: Italian (Orig. language), English, German, French, Spanish

“It's no accident that Netrebko's better forays into bel canto have come with Garanca by her side, inspiring her to some lovely singing. Their voices blend beautifully...I find her a welcome counterpoint to Netrebko's passionate queen...Netrebko emerges from the challenge triumphantly. The sincerity in her performance is admirable, while the darker vocal qualities she possesses suit the character well.” International Record Review, May 2012

“[Netrebko] gives a demonstration of characterisation and bel canto vocal virtuosity that is second to none, Callas included...Garanca’s is a consummate interpretation by an artist at the top of her game...D'Arcangelo is a tall, handsome and seductive Enrico whose smooth singing only lacks a little lower extension... Pidò adds to his reputation in this music with a well-paced and phrased interpretation” MusicWeb International, May 2012

Blu-ray Disc

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DG - 0734728

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Verdi: Requiem

Verdi: Requiem


Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano). Veronica Simeoni (mezzo-soprano), Francesco Meli (tenor), Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)

Ballett Zürich, Philharmonia Zürich, Chor und Zusatzchor der Oper Zürich, Fabio Luisi, Christian Spuck (choreographer)

With the „Messa da Requiem“, Christian Spuck brought one of Verdi’s key works to the stage. In a large-scale co-production by the Ballett and Oper Zürich, the German choreographer and director ventured to portray an unusual interpretation of Verdi’s funeral mass in his scenic-choreographic production.

36 dancers, the choir and supplementary choir of the Opernhaus Zürich as well as four highly acclaimed soloists joined together under the direction of Fabio Luisi for 13 wide-ranging scenes dedicated to one of the most fundamental themes of humanity. Christian Spuck does not seek a mere religious interpretation of the liturgical text. Instead, he is interested in focusing on people who, in their vulnerability and helplessness, are in the search for comfort. In poetic tableaux he deals with basic human emotions and focuses on the feelings of fear, rage, pain, sadness and the search for redemption.

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Accentus Music - ACC20392

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Scheduled for release on 29 September 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

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