James Levine

Conductor

James Levine

James Levine (born June 23, 1943 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is an American orchestral pianist and conductor and most well known as the music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He is also the current music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Levine was born into a musical family: his maternal grandfather was a cantor in a synagogue, his father was a violinist, who led a dance band, and his mother was an actress. He began to play the piano as a small child. At the age of 10, he made his concert debut as soloist in Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 2 at a youth concert of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

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Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore (highlights)

Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore (highlights)


James Levine assembled a cast of stars for his 1989 recording of Donizetti’s opera of potions and passions. Luciano Pavarotti (on loan from Decca) reprised the role he had recorded in July 1970 alongside Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge, and his voice was noted to be ‘just as pure and steady’ as it was nearly twenty years before. For many, the generous selection of highlights on this set will be attractive for the inclusion of Kathleen Battle in her exquisite performance as Adina, not to mention the sumptuous sound and polished playing of the Met Orchestra under Levine.

“Levine conducts a lively performance, Battle makes a sympathetic Adina, Dara is a thoroughly professional purveyor of the elixir … spirited virtuosity in the orchestral playing” Gramophone Magazine, February 1991

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4825625

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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin


Thomas Allen (Eugene Onegin), Mirella Freni (Tatyana), Anne Sofie von Otter (Olga), Neil Shicoff (Lensky), Rosemary Lang (Larina), Ruthild Engert (Filipyevna), Paata Burchuladze (Gremin), Michel Sénéchal (Triquet), Gunther Emmerlich (Zaretzky), Jürgen Hartfiel (Captain)

Rundfunkchor Leipzig & Staatskapelle Dresden, James Levine

James Levine at the helm of the incomparable Staatskapelle Dresden conducts a distinguished reading of Tchaikovsky’s most famous opera with an outstanding international cast including Mirella Freni and Thomas Allen. First release at mid-price, including a booklet libretto in Russian and English.

“The new Onegin merits an almost unreserved recommendation […] the central performances by Mirella Freni and Thomas Allen are compellingly vivid.” Financial Times, 11th March 1989 (Andrew Clements)

“What Freni does is sensitive, intelligent and often touching. She can still sound vulnerable—as Tatyana must...Allen responds to her...Levine draws fine playing from the Staatskapelle Dresden, though he seems to find the opera more conventional than it is.” Gramophone Magazine

“this is a big performance: slowish, with the beautiful melodies drawn out in an almost Italian fashion but with Tchaikovsky’s Russian coloring intact, with big climaxes and great tension, and the Dresden forces play stunningly for Levine.” Classics Today

“a magnificent Onegin in Thomas Allen, the most satisfying account of the title-role ever recorded. It is matched by the Tatiana of Mirella Freni, even at a late stage in her career readily conveying girlish freshness in her voice. The other parts are also strongly taken...What welds all these fine components into a rich and exciting whole is the conducting of James Levine” Penguin Guide, 2010

Presto Greatest Recordings

1980s

Summer Opera Sale

DG Originals - 4795883

(CD - 2 discs)

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Live from the Salzburg Festival 1982


Edita Gruberova (Königin der Nacht), Peter Schreier (Tamino), Christian Boesch (Papageno), Ileana Cotrubas (Pamina), Edda Moser (Erste Dame), Ann Murray (Zweite Dame), Ingrid Mayr (Dritte Dame), Martti Talvela (Sarastro), Horst Hiestermann (Monostatos), Gudrun Sieber (Papagena)

Wiener Philharmoniker & Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, James Levine (conductor) & Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (stage director)

This production of Mozart’s Zauberflöte received enormous and unanimous approval when it was premiered in Salzburg. The theatre wizard Jean-Pierre Ponnelle created a staging which became part and parcel of the festival programme for over nine years and soon acquired the status of a legend. Of course, none of that would have had the same appeal if it had not been in accord with Mozart’s music, performed with perfect blend of lightness and pathos, humour and profundity, by James Levine and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Nor would it all have worked without a truly Festival-worthy cast of singers: the Finnish bass Martti Talvela, who departed way too soon in 1989, in his famous role as Sarastro, the incomparable Edita Gruberová as “the best-ever Queen of the Night” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), the legendary Tamino Peter Schreier as well as the petite, lyrical soprano Ileana Cotrubaș as Pamina. Further, Christian Boesch, who sang the role of his life with Papageno, was credited most for his performance in this legendary Zauberflöte.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

Original Language: DE

Subtitles: IT, GB, DE, FR, ES

Running Time: 189 mins

DVD 5 & DVD 9 / NTSC

FSK: 0

Region Code: 0

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Summer Opera Sale

Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109190

(DVD Video)

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Live from the Salzburg Festival 1982


Edita Gruberova (Königin der Nacht), Peter Schreier (Tamino), Christian Boesch (Papageno), Ileana Cotrubas (Pamina), Edda Moser (Erste Dame), Ann Murray (Zweite Dame), Ingrid Mayr (Dritte Dame), Martti Talvela (Sarastro), Horst Hiestermann (Monostatos), Gudrun Sieber (Papagena)

Wiener Philharmoniker & Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, James Levine (conductor) & Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (stage director)

This production of Mozart’s Zauberflöte received enormous and unanimous approval when it was premiered in Salzburg. The theatre wizard Jean-Pierre Ponnelle created a staging which became part and parcel of the festival programme for over nine years and soon acquired the status of a legend. Of course, none of that would have had the same appeal if it had not been in accord with Mozart’s music, performed with perfect blend of lightness and pathos, humour and profundity, by James Levine and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Nor would it all have worked without a truly Festival-worthy cast of singers: the Finnish bass Martti Talvela, who departed way too soon in 1989, in his famous role as Sarastro, the incomparable Edita Gruberová as “the best-ever Queen of the Night” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), the legendary Tamino Peter Schreier as well as the petite, lyrical soprano Ileana Cotrubaș as Pamina. Further, Christian Boesch, who sang the role of his life with Papageno, was credited most for his performance in this legendary Zauberflöte.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

Original Language: DE

Subtitles: IT, GB, DE, FR, ES

Running Time: 189 mins

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Blu-ray Disc 25 GB (Single Layer)

FSK: 0

Region free

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Summer Opera Sale

Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109191

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $16.75

Special: $13.40

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Wagner Choruses

Wagner Choruses


Wagner:

Steuermann, laß die Wacht! (from Der fliegende Holländer)

Gesegnet soll sie schreiten (from Lohengrin)

Bridal Chorus 'Treulich geführt' (from Lohengrin)

Freudig begrussen wir 'Entrance of the Guests' (from Tannhauser)

Begluckt darf nun dich 'Pilgrims' Chorus' (from Tannhauser)

Da zu dir der Heiland kam (from Die Meistersinger)

Sankt Krispin, lobet ihn! (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

lhr tanzt? Was werden die Meister sagen? (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

Wach' auf! Es nahet gen dem Tag (from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)

Hoiho! Hoihohoho! (from Götterdämmerung)

Zum letzten Liebesmahle gerüstet Tag für Tag (from Parsifal)

Parsifal: Transformation Scene

Höchsten Heiles Wunder! Erlösung dem Erlöser! (from Parsifal)


2013 sees a series of Wagner reissues on Eloquence from complete operas and highlights to Wagner singer portraits and even an audiobook!

Bayreuth is the holy grail of Wagner lovers and this outstanding disc captures great choral moments from Wagner’s operas over a period of nearly 30 years, with key ‘big’ moments from seven operas, from the Sawallisch Tannhäuser (1962) to Peter Schneider’s Lohengrin (1990). The choruses are among the glories of Wagner’s stage works. They are central, not extraneous, to the action, and the mood and style of each reflect the dramatic imperatives of the work concerned. This anthology includes the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, the Sailors’ Chorus from The Flying Dutchman, the Pilgrims’ Chorus from Tannhäuser as well as the Guild Choruses from Die Mesitersinger and the dark Vassals’ Chorus from Götterdämmerung, as well as three defining moments from Wagner’s farewell to the world – Parsifal.

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4807067

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Verdi: Ballet Music

Verdi: Ballet Music


“For those who like Verdi's music but could happily do without all that singing, this fine selection of ballet highlights played with both passion and eloquence should be just the ticket.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

Sony Classical Masters - 88765478102

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$14.25

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Verdi: Aida (highlights)

Verdi: Aida (highlights)


Aprile Millo (Aida), Placido Domingo (Radames), Dolora Zajick (Amneris), Sherrill Milnes (Amonasro), Paata Burchuladze (Ramphis), Dimitri Kavrakos (Il Re di Egitto), Margaret Jane Wray (Una Sacerdotessa), Mark Baker (Un Messaggero)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, James Levine

Sony Classical Masters - 88691929552

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The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 75th Anniversary: Great Moments

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 75th Anniversary: Great Moments


includes

Berlioz:

La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Rákóczi March

Gary Bertini

Brahms:

Denn alles Fleisch (from Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45)

Gary Bertini Israel Choir

Mozart:

Le nozze di Figaro, K492: Overture

Zubin Mehta

Fin ch'han dal vino (from Don Giovanni)

Nicola Ulivieri

Verdi:

La forza del destino Overture

Zubin Mehta

and movements from works by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Mahler, Bach, Vivaldi, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saens, Prokofiev


This album is a collection of key tracks selected from the Helicon Classics catalogue, specially put together to celebrate the IPO's 75th Anniversary, featuring esteemed solo artists including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Daniel Barenboim, Rudolf Buchbinder, Alicia de Larrocha, Yefim Bronfman, Isaac Stern and Nicola Ulivieri.

Helicon - HEL029649

(CD - 2 discs)

$23.25

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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Recorded 19th August 1989 (stereo, analogue)


James Levine left his mark not only on the operatic life of the Salzburg Festival but also on its concerts, in particular its Mahler renaissance, culminating in the present performance of the ‘Resurrection’ Symphony, which is magnificently sung by chorus and soloists and superbly played by the Vienna Phil.

“Christa Ludwig, Kathleen Battle and the Vienna State Opera Chorus had no difficulty in achieving the same high level as that by Levine and his orchestra, we were witness to a Mahler experience that will remain with us for a very long time.” Volker Boser, Münchner Abendzeitung 21/8/1989

“Levine's 1989 Salzburg account would seem to have been fashioned with the delicate sensibilities of the glamorous festival audience in mind. It's a reading which dutifully pushes most of the right buttons but never the music's extremes. Everything is kept on a pretty even keel...Of course, the Vienna strings offer an echt Viennese account of the Andante” Gramophone Magazine, April 2012

Building a Library

Also Recommended - April 2017

Orfeo - Orfeo d'Or - Salzburger Festspieldokumente - C837112B

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.50

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Anna Netrebko: Live at the Metropolitan Opera

Anna Netrebko: Live at the Metropolitan Opera


Bellini:

O rendetemi la speme...Qui la voce sua soave...Vien, diletto (from I Puritani)

Recorded 6th January, 2007

Patrick Summers

Donizetti:

La morale in tutto questo (from Don Pasquale)

Recorded 15th April 2006

Mariusz Kwiecien (Malatesta), Simone Alaimo (Don Pasquale), Juan Diego Florez (Ernesto)

Maurizio Benini

Il dolce suono mi colpì di sua voce! … Spargi d'amaro pianto (from Lucia di Lammermoor)

Recorded 7th February 2009

Ildar Abdrazakov (Raimondo), Michael Myers (Normanno), Cecilia Brauer (glass harmonica)

Marco Armiliato

Gounod:

Va! je t'ai pardonné (from Roméo et Juliette)

Dieu! Quel frisson court dans mes veines from Romeo and Juliette

Recorded 15th December 2007

Roberto Alagna (Romeo)

Placido Domingo

Mozart:

Vedrai, carino (from Don Giovanni)

Recorded 15th February 2003

Sylvain Cambreling

Offenbach:

C'est une chanson d'amour (from Les contes d'Hoffmann)

Recorded 19th December 2009

Joseph Calleja (Hoffmann)

James Levine

Prokofiev:

Kak Solnca za goroy (from War & Peace)

Ya ne budu (from War & Peace)

Recorded 2nd March, 2002

Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Andrei), Ekaterina Semenchuk (Sonya)

Valery Gergiev

Puccini:

Donde lieta usci (from La Bohème)

O soave fanciulla (from La Bohème)

Recorded 27th February 2010

Piotr Beczala (Rodolfo), Gerald Finley (Marcello)

Marco Armiliato

Verdi:

Ah più non ragiono (from Rigoletto)

Recorded 17th December 2005

Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Maddalena), Eric Halfvarson (Sparafucile)

Asher Fisch


The forthcoming season marks the 10th anniversary of Anna Netrebko’s debut with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. The new album celebrates this milestone by bringing together her greatest MET moments throughout the past 10 seasons - performances never before issued on record and most never commercially released on any format.

Anna Netrebko's first operatic album sold more than 300,000 units, the second, Sempre libera, more than 400,000, while her live recording of Verdi's La Traviata has sold in excess of 350,000 on CD alone. This new album, capturing the thrill of her greatest performances on one of the world's most iconic stages, will be a major event for hundreds of thousands of fans who have followed her career in the opera house, on radio, on CD, on DVD and in cinemas worldwide.

Over the past decade, The Met has played host to many of the Russian soprano’s greatest triumphs, from Prokofiev’s War and Peace in 2002 to her most recent appearance, in 2010, as Adina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale. The album also includes virtuoso arias from Mozart's Don Giovanni, Bellini's I Puritani, Verdi's Rigoletto, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Puccini's La Bohème.

The selections - including performances with tenors Roberto Alagna, Joseph Calleja and Juan Diego Flórez - demonstrate Anna Netrebko's remarkable vocal range and dramatic imagination. All recorded live, they are infused with her unique vocal magnetism and irresistible on-stage charisma.

“This compilation of highlights from Anna Netrebko's Metropolitan Opera roles makes a distinctive introduction to her talents...it's her solo aria from Roméo & Juliette that proves one of the stand-out performances here, the other being a dazzling showstopper from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, "Il dolce suono", which has the audience justly bawling its acclaim.” The Independent, 30th September 2011

“They show Netrebko’s chameleon-like ability to alter her timbre according to repertoire: the ethereal, Sutherland-like soprano in Donizetti and Bellini is unrecognisable as the singer who delivers a hard-edged, glinting Natasha in Prokofiev’s War and Peace.” The Times, 1st October 2011 ***

“The real treat is her Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace, conducted by Gergiev, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky as a dreamy Andrei. It's nicely recorded, too: some of Netrebko's discs capture the power of her voice at the expense of its opulence; here, you get a real sense of its force and beauty.” The Guardian, 13th October 2011 ****

“there is an alert sense of drama, which is where Netrebko really scores as a singing actress...While her bel canto is judged 'could do better', it's worth considering that, at 40, Netrebko is now just entering her prime.” International Record Review, November 2011

DG - 4779903

(CD)

$13.25

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