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Opus Arte

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Scarlatti, G: Dove è amore è gelosia

Scarlatti, G: Dove è amore è gelosia

Recorded live at The National Theatre, Prague Summer 2011


Lenka Máciková (Marquise Clarice, widow), Aleš Briscein (Count Orazio), Katerina Knežíková (Vespetta), Jaroslav Brezina (Patrizio), Bohumil Klepl (Servant) & Tatána Kupcová (Marquise)

Schwarzenberg Court Orchestra, Vojtech Spurný (conductor) & Ondrej Havelka (director)

Rebellious servants, capricious lovers, cross-dressing farce and a happy ending: the fast paced action of this comic Baroque opera had all the ingredients to please the self-confessed ‘low-brow taste’ of an Austro-German prince, who commissioned Giuseppe Scarlatti for a piece to celebrate his son’s wedding. This is the opera’s first revival in modern times, and it takes place in the very same Baroque theatre, impeccably restored to its original glory, which hosted the first performance. With a cast of young singers drawn from Prague’s National Theatre and a stylish period-instrument ensemble, this vivid reconstruction will delight audiences as much today as it did the aristocratic guests at Ceský Krumlov in 1768.

Composer Giuseppe Scarlatti (1723-1777), was related to Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti.

Comic opera performed in the Cesky Krumlov Theatre, where it was premiered in 1768.

Theatre is a fully restored Baroque theatre, complete with authentic stage machinery, props and scenery.

Performed by candlelight.

‘WINNER OF THE HAVEL FOUNDATION AWARD 2012’ – the top artistic prize in the Czech Republic.

Extra feautures include: A Jewel of the Baroque - The story of the Castle Theatre in Ceský Krumlov.

Running time: 138 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

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Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen

Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen

Recorded live at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, June 2012


Lucy Crowe (Vixen), Emma Bell (Fox), Sergei Leiferkus (Forester), William Dazeley (Harasta), Mischa Schelomianski (Badger/Parson), Jean Rigby (Forester's Wife/Owl), Adrian Thompson (Schoolmaster/Mosquito), Colin Judson (Pásek, Innkeeper), Sarah Pring (Innkeeper’s Wife)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne Chorus, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) & Melly Still (director)

Sung in Czech with subtitles in English, French, German and Korean.

The tale of a quick witted fox and her escape from confinement for a life in the forest that is by turns joyful and violent, The Cunning Little Vixen is an unsentimental parable of death and rebirth that lives through the instinctive and immediate world of nature, animal and human, which Janacek loved so much.

Melly Still's production for Glyndebourne finds the 'delicate balance between whimsy and mysticism' (Daily Telegraph) at the heart of the opera, which Vladimir Jurowski conducts 'with lustrous style: you can hear the birds in the score, feel the sunshine and thrill to the starlit night sky in the final scene' (Opera Today).

Running Time: 119 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCD plus 5.1(5.0) DTS

“I was entranced throughout. The work's humour is realized extremely well but so is its more serious side...aside from Mackerras...I've never heard the opera conducted with such colour, wit, detail and dramatic urgency...Crowe's Vixen is vocally completely secure and delightfully and sharply characterized...[in the closing scene] there is just the right sense of pantheistic rapture...an outstanding achievement.” International Record Review, May 2013

“Still, with her background in choreography and a very visceral take on children's theatre, is an ideal director. There's nothing cutesy about her treatment of the animal characters...Jurowski allows this extraordinary score to glitter and sing, his orchestral interludes breathe luminescence. Both Emma Bell (the Fox) and Crowe blaze beside Leiferkus's poignant Forester.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 *****

“Still's unsentimental production plays up the dance elements in the music, well supported by Vladimir Jurowski in the pit. Lucy Crowe is a feisty, boho Vixen and the sonorous Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus (well into his sixties by this point) ideal casting as the Forester. The supporting roles receive tender loving care from some of the best British singers around.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2014

“Crowe particularly balances the contrasting elements of her character with skill. Sergei Leiferkus’s Forester is the other character underpinning this performance, his baritone, though aged, catches just the right element of humanity to express Janácek’s life view. Vladimir Jurowski relishes the lush orchestral palette he is given, and the score is played beautifully by the LPO” Opera Now ****

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Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OABD7117D

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Britten: Peter Grimes

Britten: Peter Grimes

Recorded live at the Teatro all Scala, June 2012


John Graham-Hall (Peter Grimes), Susan Gritton (Ellen Orford), Christopher Purves (Balstrode), Felicity Palmer (Auntie), Ida Falk Winland (First Niece), Simona Mihai (Second Niece), Peter Hoare (Bob Boles), Daniel Okulitch (Swallow), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs. Sedley), Christopher Gillett (Rev. Horace Adams), George Von Bergen (Ned Keene)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala, Robin Ticciati (conductor) & Richard Jones (director)

The Italian and international press were unanimous in their praise for Peter Grimes at La Scala, which revived the tradition of Britten's operas on the lyric stages of Italy. A strong British cast was marshalled by the baton of Robin Ticciati, who has already won golden opinions for his opera conducting.

Richard Jones's production focuses on the fisherman as the outsider in a brutal society, cut off by mutual suspicion and misunderstanding: an unforgettable production of an opera that never loses its power.

Extra feature: Interviews with cast and crew.

Running time: 168 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KR

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“the pride and joy of Richard Jones's production, not to be missed, is its unerring grasp of the psychology and tiered relationship of all the characters. ...Ticciati eschews the weighty, rather Germanic approach of older conductors...concentrating (like Goodall or Hickox) on rhythmic and instrumental subtleties” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

“Jones’s production is uncompromising in its hard- hitting emotionalism...The cast isn’t a series of grotesques but a collection of cameos most of us would recognise in our own daily lives. Robin Ticciati conducts a detailed and loving account of the score, and La Scala’s orchestra responds with depth of feeling.” Opera Now ****

“Jones has instilled in his singing actors a level of detail and a harrowing believability one is more accustomed to encountering in spoken drama...Gritton's Ellen is remarkable...[Graham-Hall ] lives his role - earnest, lonely, impulsive, with a desperate desire for acceptance...Ticciati is in full control from the start.” International Record Review, June 2013

“[Grimes is] no tough fisherman but a seedy inadequate cringing from the local teenagers, and suggesting all too contemporary abuse problems. John Graham-Hall evokes his contorted inner life superbly, but with leaner tones than competitors on video.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ***

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - July 2013

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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, March 2012


Federico Bonelli (Romeo), Lauren Cuthbertson (Juliet), Alexander Campbell (Mercutio), Bennet Gartside (Tybalt), Dawid Trzensimiech (Benvolio), Vale Rihristov (Paris), Christopher Saunders (Lord Capulet), Christina Arestis (Lady Capulet) & Gary Avis (Escalus Prince of Verona)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Barry Wordsworth

Choreography Kenneth MacMillan.

Given its premiere by The Royal Ballet in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing the title roles, Kenneth MacMillan’s first full-evening ballet has become a signature work for the Company, enjoying great popularity around the world. From the outset, the production teems with life and colour as the townspeople, market traders and servants of the rival Montagues and Capulets go about their daily business in vibrant crowd scenes. But Romeo and Juliet take centre stage for those great pas de deux: the meeting in the ballroom, the balcony scene, the morning after the wedding and the final devastating tomb scene. Although The Royal Ballet has performed Romeo and Juliet over 400 times, each performance and pairing is subtly different, and Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are utterly captivating in the title roles. This performance was broadcast live from Covent Garden to cinemas worldwide.

Kenneth MacMillan's first full-evening ballet has become one of The Royal Ballet's signature works.

This production was one of the big successes of last season’s Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season.

Acclaimed performances by star principals, Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli.

Extra features: Documentaries on Kenneth MacMillan's production, and "Sharps, Points and Pirouettes" the famous sword fight scene.

Includes deluxe slipcase.

Running time: 158 minutes

Subtitles (extra features only): EN/FR/DE/IT/ES/PT/JP

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7116D

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Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, September 2011


Gluck:

Iphigénie en Aulide

Véronique Gens (Iphigénie), Salomé Haller (Diane), Nicolas Testé (Agamemnon) & Anne Sofie von Otter (Clytemnestre)

Iphigénie en Tauride

Mireille Delunsch (Iphigénie), Laurent Alvaro (Thoas), Jean-François Lapointe (Oreste), Yann Beuron (Pylade) & Salomé Haller (Diane)


Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Pierre Audi (stage director)

Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene.

Gluck's operatic settings are very rarely staged together, but Pierre Audi's production makes a darkly compelling case for their dramatic unity. All the lead performers here are experienced exponents of Gluck, and together they present a powerfully idiomatic experience.

First ever release together on DVD/Blu-ray.

Iphigénie en Aulide has never been issued before on DVD/Blu-ray.

Top international cast includes Véronique Gens as Iphigénie and Anne Sofie von Otter as Clytemnestre.

Marc Minkowski & Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble have been widely acclaimed for their Gluck performances.

Running time: 267 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/DU/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“in this performance every cross-hatched, baleful figure is crisp and clear...Veronique Gens's submissive, poised Iphigénie [en Aulide] becomes Mireille Delunsch's red-eyed, hysterical Iphigénie en Tauride...Both sopranos sing magnificently despite Audi's over-stylised movement direction” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“[von Otter] presents a deeply sympathetic character...[Gens's] Iphigenia is equally touching and just as beautifully sung...one or two [production] oddities are far outweighed by the intensity that Pierre Audi secures from his team. Minkowski conducts superbly.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Some of the finest French Classical stylists around come together under the baton of Marc Minkowski on this double-bill of Gluck's two 'Iphigénie' operas...Anne Sofie von Otter is a magnetic Clytemnestre.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - May 2013

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Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

Recorded live at Gran Teatre del Liceu, June & July 2011


José van Dam (Barbe-Bleue), Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet (Ariane), Patricia Bardon (Nurse), Gemma Coma-Alabert (Sélysette), Beatriz Jiménez (Ygraine), Elena Copons (Mélisande), Salomé Haller (Bellangère) & Alba Valldaura (Alladine)

Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Stéphane Denève (conductor) & Claus Guth (director)

Ariane et Barbe-bleue makes its premiere on Blu-ray.

Stéphane Denève is universally acclaimed for his interpretation of French repertoire.

This is the twelfth release from the Liceu-Opus Arte partnership.

Dukas's opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, based on Maeterlinck's symbolist version of the classic tale, sees free spirit Ariane become the sixth wife of the infamous Barbe-bleue, who gives his new bride seven keys to seven doors, but prohibits the use of the last. Ariane discovers an array of glittering jewels behind the first six doors, but a terrifying reality awaits her as she unlocks the seventh.

José van Dam is cast as the villainous Barbe-bleue, while taking on the immensely demanding role of Ariane - who does not leave the stage throughout the entire opera - is American soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet.

Running time: 120 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT/CA/JP

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Charbonnet copes well with the extreme demands of Ariane, while Patricia Bardon is excellent as the nurse and it is wonderful to have Jose van Dam for Barbe-Bleu's handful of lines. Most of all, Stéphane Denève's pacing and handling of orchestral texture are spot-on. One to hear with the screen off.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2013 ***

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Handel: Deidamia

Handel: Deidamia

Recorded live at the De Nederlandse Opera, March & April 2012


Sally Matthews (Deidamia), Veronica Cangemi (Nerea), Olga Pasichnyk (Achille), Silvia Tro Santafé (Ulisse), Andrew Foster-Williams (Fenice), Umberto Chiummo (Licomede) & Jan-Willem Schaafsma (Nestore)

Concerto Köln, Ivor Bolton (conductor) & David Alden (director)

DNO presents a new production of Händel's last Italian opera, Deidamia, staged by the American David Alden. No known literary source has been linked directly to this opera, which is set at the time of the Trojan War. After an oracle has predicted the death of Achilles at Troy, Achilles disguises himself as a woman and takes refuge at the court of Lycomedes, whose daughter Deidamia falls in love with the young Greek. Amorous developments and tricks of disguise expose the truth and Achilles is forced to take his place at the side of his countrymen in the battle against the Trojans. Comedy and tragedy are bedfellows in this opera, and the title role in particular covers the entire expressive spectrum, from flirtatious love song to heartfelt lament.

Premiere of this opera on DVD & Blu-ray.

Performed by Concerto Köln, a period instrument orchestra.

This latest release demonstrates the breadth of productions performed by De Nederlandse Opera.

Running time: 208 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/NE

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Alden's approach is lightly ironic, matching well with a piece that treats its material with a knowing air...Ivor Bolton and Concerto Koln provide the expert musical underpinning. Sally Matthews shines as a vocally and physically poised Deidamia, Olga Pasichnyk emphasises the lusty young man hiding beneath Achille's skirts, and Silvia Tro Santafe's Ulisse presents him with a credible rival.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 ****

“David Alden's jokey, modern-dress production is entertaining without quite persuading one that the opera's neglect is undeserved...Sally Matthews is perfect as Deidamia: saucy in 'Nasconde l'usignol', heartfelt in 'M'hai resa infelice'...Ivor Bolton conducts with passion: splendid sforzandos in another intense aria, 'Se il timore'.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

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Rossini: Mosè in Egitto

Rossini: Mosè in Egitto

Recorded live at the Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, August 2011


Alex Esposito (Faraone), Olga Senderskaya (Amaltea), Dmitry Korchak (Osiride), Sonia Ganassi (Elcia), Enea Scala (Mambre), Riccardo Zanellato (Moses), Yijie Shi (Aronne) & Chiara Amarù (Amenofi)

Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna & Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Roberto Abbado (conductor) & Graham Vick (director)

This thought-provoking, modern-day interpretation of Rossini’s “Mosè in Egitto” sets the scene for superior music-making at the prestigious Rossini Festival in Pesaro. For conductor Roberto Abbado, the transposition of the action to the present day releases the energy of Rossini’s music. At his disposal is a cast of top-quality vocalists such as the “refined bel canto artist” (Bresciaoggi) Sonia Ganassi as Elcia, and the “outstanding” Dmitry Korchak as the Pharaoh’s son, two lovers fatefully drawn into the political turmoil and catastrophes of their time. Also among the protagonists are the “thoroughly brilliant” (DeutschlandRadio Kultur) baritone Alex Esposito as Faraone and, in his Rossini Festival debut, young, full-bodied bass Riccardo Zanellato as Moses. Conductor Roberto Abbado “inspired his musicians to deliver a spectacular performance” (Salzburger Nachrichten).

This is the premiere of the opera on DVD & Blu-ray.

The second release on Opus Arte from the acclaimed Pesaro Rossini Festival; a highly contrasting production following the release of La Scala di Seta.

Alex Esposito, who was recently acclaimed as Papageno in the La Scala production of Magic Flute, stars as Pharaoh.

Running time: 170 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

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Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Recorded live at Glyndebourne, Lewes, July 2011


Gerald Finley (Hans Sachs), Anna Gabler (Eva), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Sixtus Beckmesser), Marco Jentzsch (Walther von Stolzing), Topi Lehtipuu (David), Michaela Selinger (Magdalene), Alastair Miles (Veit Pogner), Henry Waddington (Fritz Kothner), Mats Almgren (Nightwatchman), Colin Judson (Kunz Vogelgesang), Andrew Slater (Konrad Nachtigall), Alasdair Elliott (Balthasar Zorn), Adrian Thompson (Ulrich Eisslinger), Daniel Norman (Augustin Moser), Robert Poulton (Hermann Ortel), Maxim Mikailov (Hans Schwarz), Graeme Broadbent (Hans Foltz)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)

English-speaking audiences have always found Die Meistersinger to be a life-enhancing celebration of wisdom, art and song. So it proves in David McVicar's production – the first at Glyndebourne – which is updated to the early-19th century of Wagner's childhood. At the centre of a true ensemble cast is Gerald Finley, a 'gleamingly sung', 'eminently believable' Sachs (The Independent on Sunday), supported by the dynamic conducting of Vladimir Jurowski which, like McVicar's production, uses Glyndebourne's special intimacy to bring sharp focus to bear on the subtlety of Wagner's musical and dramatic counterpoint.

What the press said:

[‘‘McVicar has put on a great show with style, intelligence and insight’’ The Telegraph

‘‘Musically, it was judged faultlessly for the scale of the theatre by Vladimir Jurowski, who conjured playing of mercurial clarity – not the first words one would normally choose for this gargantuan score – from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, sustained with unfailing vigilance and concentration.’’ The Guardian

Duration: 300 minutes

Regions: All

Sound Type: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE

“The camerawork – mostly close-up – is superb, focusing on the intimacy of the Glyndebourne stage and the visual expressiveness of a young cast. Vicki Mortimer’s Biedermeyer sets are notably more handsome on film than in the theatre, and the performance (captured late in the inaugural run) breathes a general air of wellbeing” Financial Times, 22nd September 2012 ***

“McVicar's staging stokes the glow of Meistersinger's humane heart...and above all he reminds us that this is an opera about youth and self-discovery. Gerald Finley's pivotal Sachs relish[es] this intensely verbal role with a Lieder-singer's skill and beauty...Jurowski completes the ensemble with a beautiful account, unfolding the story with pace and details...Together they make the immense performance the most uplifting performance I can recall” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 *****

“Jurowski handles the score with seriousness and pomp...Finley has the role of Hans Sachs massively in focus, both musically and dramatically. He is compulsively watchable throughout...McVicar's production is best at one-to-one emotional confrontations but rather loud and messy in ensemble scenes...it would be mealy-mouthed not to notice the commitment and enthusiasm steaming off the stage, while Finley's work has to be seen and heard” Gramophone Magazine, December 2012

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - December 2012

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Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OABD7108D

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Bellini: I Puritani

Bellini: I Puritani

Recorded live at the Netherlands Opera, October 2009


Daniel Borowski (Lord Gualtiero Valton), Mariola Cantarero (Elvira), Riccardo Zanellato (Sir Giorgio), John Osborn (Lord Arturo Talbot), Scott Hendricks (Sir Riccardo Forth), Gregorio Gonzalez (Sir Bruno Roberton), Fredrika Brillembourg (Enrichetta di Francia)

Chorus of the Netherlands Opera & Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Giuliano Carella (conductor) & Francisco Negrin (director)

In Vincenzo Bellini’s last opera, Elvira’s love for Arturo overcomes the power-games in Puritan England, staged with darkly dramatic flair by Francisco Negrin as a world of blind dogma. Mariola Cantarero is compelling as the heroine on the verge of insanity in one of the greatest mad scenes in the history of opera. One of the leading lyric tenors today, John Osborn sings Arturo with fearless commitment and some spectacular top notes. In the pit is the bel canto specialist Giuliano Carella.

Running time: 173 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/DU

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Negrin gets some excellent performances from his cast, who are able to express emotion without being either hammy or cheesy. Scott Hendricks as the rejected lover sings nobly after a gusty start...Osborn manages a stupendous top F, non-falsetto, and his singing in the trio, lyrical but desperate, is even more wonderful...Go on, give it a whirl.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2013

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