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Monteverdi in Mantua
the Genius of the Vespers
presented by Simon Russell Beale
The Sixteen, Harry Christophers
The BBC’s celebrated Sacred Music journey continues with Monteverdi in Mantua - the story of a Renaissance duke and the composer who worked for him and how their volatile relationship would create one of the most revolutionary and beautiful collections of music ever published: The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. The programme is presented by Shakespearean actor and former St Paul’s Cathedral chorister, Simon Russell Beale, whose enthusiasm for choral music is matched by his gift for storytelling. Together with conductor Harry Christophers and his virtuoso choir The Sixteen, Simon explores Monteverdi’s early career in Mantua, where he wrote the Vespers under the slave-like regime of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, a man addicted to sex, luxury and art. Using the remarkable legacy of 127 surviving letters, Monteverdi is revealed as the first of a new breed of dramatic composer, straddling the worlds of the secular and sacred, whose bold experiments would change the way music sounds forever.
A Special Edition version (COR16137) is also available which includes The Sixteen’s audio recording of the Vespers of 1610.
Scheduled for release on 28 August 2015. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.
Amel Brahim-Djelloul (Hébé, Fatime, Phani), Benoît Arnould (Bellone, Alvar), Eugénie Warnier (Roxane), Olivera Topalovic (Amour, Zima), Judith Van Wanroij (Emilie, Atalide), Vittorio Prato (Osman), Anders Dahlin (Valère, Tacmas, Carlos, Damon), Nathan Berg (Huascar), Thomas Dolié (Adario)
Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset (conductor) & Olivier Simonnet (director)
Laura Scozzi: Staging & choregraphy
For the launch of its DVD collection, Alpha is joining forces with Christophe Rousset’s Les Talens Lyriques in Rameau’s opera-ballet Les Indes galantes, his most famous work, here performed in its 1750 ‘Toulouse’ version.
Particularly rich both on the musical level and in atmosphere, scrutinizing love ‘in far-off lands’ (Turkey, Peru, Persia and America), it responds to the infatuation with exoticism that tinged all the arts of the century. Rameau’s dance music is always quite suggestive, evocative of a movement or a pictorial atmosphere. As for the staging, Laura Scozzi brings her contemporary vision to these countries and travels.
Filmed at the Bordeaux National Opera, this production marked the Rameau celebrations in 2014 and was unanimously hailed by the international press:
"One of the glories of 18th-century music [...]. A cast [...] well nigh perfect." Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Scheduled for release on 14 August 2015. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.
Daniil Trifonov: The Magics Of Music
plus The Castelfranco Veneto Recital
The films offer an intimate view of the artist and his hardly-believable gifts which are currently astonishing the world. Daniil Trifonov started to play the piano at the age of five, not because he wanted to play the piano but because he wanted to compose.
That was unusual enough but it was only the beginning of a musical quest which led to his winning both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein competitions at the age of 20 — an astonishing feat.
In these two films Trifonov talks revealingly about his musical concerns but his modesty prevents him from saying anything at all about his extraordinary technique, “I am just playing the piano” he says. “There are people doing even more crazy things”.
The films contain a number of performances shot live on stage with cameras unusually close to the artist which adds consideraby to the power of the images. They also present him in conversations which demonstrate his earnestness, his exceptional modesty and his gloriously high intelligence.
In the portrait film Trifonov plays music by Chopin, Ravel and Trifonov himself: part of his first piano Concerto, filmed at the world premiere performance which took place at the Cleveland Institute, in the United States, in April 2014.
In the performance film he plays music by Chopin, Scriabin, Johann Strauss (arranged Trifonov) and Rachmaninov — a performance of the rarely heard Variations on a Theme of Chopin, in the elegant Teatro Accademico in Castelfranco Veneto, near Venice in Italy.
Region: 0 (all regions)
Picture format: 16:9
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese
Running time: 103 Minutes
Scheduled for release on 7 August 2015. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.
Vincent van Gogh: A New Way of Seeing
Given complete and unprecedented access to the treasures of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, this is a major new film about one of the world’s favourite artists.
This film provides viewers with the moving and inspiring experience of seeing Vincent’s iconic masterpieces close-up on the screen and presents new insights and interpretations by specially invited guests, including V Willem van Gogh, great grandson of Theo van Gogh, and contemporary artist Lachlan Goudie.
Vincent’s illuminating letters to his family and friends are brought to life by dramatisation which puts flesh on the bones of new biography. Recent research question the many myths surrounding Vincent’s troubled life.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Format: Region 0
Subtitles: English, French Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, Italian
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.
Ludovico Einaudi Live in Verona: In A Time Lapse Tour
Ludovico Einaudi performed his latest album ‘In a Time Lapse’ at the 11,000 capacity Arena di Verona in July 2014. Einaudi is accompanied on stage by 11 musicians comprising of strings, electric bass, guitar and percussion.
The result is an 11-track, 61 minute extravaganza.
The release of this comes a day after a sold-out 5,000 seat open-air concert at Blenheim
Palace, where the same set will be played. This concert takes place on 28th June.
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.
Puccini: La Vie de Boheme, 1960
Alain Vanzo (Rodolphe), Léna Pastor (Mimi), Willy Clément (Marcel), Irène Gromova (Musette), Xavier Depraz (Colline), Jean-Pierre Laffage (Schaunard), Henri Bedex (Benoit), Robert Destain (Saint-Phar)
Orchestre Radio-Symphonique de la RTF, Georges Derveaux
This production of Puccini's 'La bohème' featuring soprano Léna Pastor, sung in French, is a rare document. FRA Musica's release is dedicated to the memory of Pastor and her husband and legendary artist manager Michael Rainer. After working for years in New York, Rainer returned to Paris after WWII to take over the Organisation Artistique Internationale, an agency founded by his father. Pastor cut short a promising opera career to devote herself fully to the management business. By the 1970's this unstoppable duo represented a roster that was a "who's who" of famous artists – everyone from Birgit Nilsson and Van Cliburn to Herbert von Karajan and Isaac Stern.
Black & White, 1'43, 4:3, stereo, sung in French, booklet in French only
fRA - FRA010
Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.
Andrew Foster-Williams (Tell), Alessandra Volpe (Hedwige), Tara Stafford, Judith Howarth (Mathilde), Michael Spyres (Arnold), Tara Stafford (Jemmy), Giulio Pelligra (Rodolphe), Artavazd Sargsyan (Ruodi), Nahuel Di Pierro (Walther Fürst/Melchthal), Raffaele Facciolà (Gesler), Marco Filippo Romano (Leuthold)
Virtuosi Brunensis & Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań, Antonino Fogliani
Subtitles: Italian, French, English, German
Running Time: 235 minutes
Usually despatched in 4 - 6 working days.
Bang on a Can All-Stars: Field Recordings
1. Julia Wolfe: Reeling
2. Florent Ghys: An Open Cage
3. Michael Gordon: Gene Takes a Drink
4. Christian Marclay: Fade to Slide
5. David Lang: unused swan
6. Tyondai Braxton: Casino Trem
7. Jóhann Jóhannsson: Hz
8. Todd Reynolds: Seven Sundays
9. Steve Reich: The Cave of Machpelah
10. Bryce Dessner: Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]
11. Mira Calix: meeting you seemed easy
12. Anna Clyne: A Wonderful Day
1. Michael Gordon: Gene Takes a Drink
2. Jóhann Jóhannsson: Hz
3. Bryce Dessner: Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]
4. Mira Calix: meeting you seemed easy
5. Nick Zammuto: Real Beauty Turns
Field Recordings, the new multimedia project from the Bang on a Can All-Stars, is as rooted in mystery and experimentation as it is in the collaborative spirit - in the words of composer David Lang, “It’s
a kind of ghost story. We asked composers from different parts of the music world to find a recording of something that already exists - a voice, a sound, a faded scrap of melody - and then write a new piece around it.”
In the capable hands of the All-Stars, Field Recordings taps into film, found sound and obscure audio-visual archives, bridging the gap between the seen and the unseen, the present and the absent, the past and the future.
Concert performances have featured radical new video projections, several of which appear on the bonus DVD, while the 12-track CD consists of commissioned music by some of the most inquisitive and unconventional composers in any genre, from indie art-rock (Nick Zammuto/The Books, Tyondai Braxton/Battles) to electronica (Mira Calix) to post-classical (Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe) to the art world (Christian Marclay).
(also available to download from $10.00)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)
Marion Cotillard (Jeanne d’Arc), Xavier Gallais (Frère Dominique), Yann Beuron (Porcus, Héraut I, Le Clerc), Maria Hinojosa (La Vierge), Aude Extrémo (Catherine), Anna Moreno-Lasalle (La mère aux tonneaux), Eric Martin-Bonnet (Une Voix, Héraut II, Paysan), Carles Romero Vidal (Héraut, L’âne, Bedford, Jean de Luxembourg)
Barcelona Symphony & Catalonia National Orchestra, Marc Soustrot
Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, written by the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger in 1938, is a fascinating oratorio. The text by Paul Claudel is constructed like a flashback, in which Joan looks back over her life just before she dies.
The actor Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and La Vie en Rose) plays Joan with an overwhelming intensity and sincerity. The last moments of the martyr’s life, illustrated by the evocative and innovative music of Honegger, resound like a heartrending cry.
With an exceptional cast of performers, this live recording offers a gripping new version of one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century music.
Available seperately in two formats – DVD and CD
“Cotillard marvellously captures Jeanne's innocence, toughness and terrifying doubts; Gallais is compassionate, tender, and at times tellingly fierce...The impact is immeasurably heightened on DVD by our being able to see both the sorrowing beauty of Gallais's face and the extraordinary way Cotillard's eyes let us know exactly what is going on in Jeanne's mind and soul” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015
“The music is large-scaled, colourful, eclectic and theatrical, even encompassing satire. Two actors, Marion Cotillard and Xavier Gallais, as Joan and her spiritual guide, Frère Dominique, lead a powerful live performance.” Sunday Times, 7th June 2015
“The spoken roles are well enough done by Marion Cotillard and Xavier Gallais on this live recording from Barcelona in 2012, but it’s the choral singing, superbly vivid, that provides the real dramatic muscle.” The Guardian, 3rd June 2015 ****
“This imaginative collaboration between Honegger and the poet Paul Claudel, conceived originally for the dancer/actor Ida Rubinstein, is performed here under Marc Soustrot with terrific presence, the work’s ethereal reflectiveness countered by passages of down-to-earth realism in a vivid theatrical experience.” The Telegraph, 13th June 2015 ****
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
By Michel Legrand & Jacques Demy. Symphonic Version – World Premiere. Sung in French
Marie Oppert (Geneviève Emery), Natalie Dessay (Madame Emery), Vincent Niclo (Guy Foucher), Laurent Naouri (Roland Cassard), Louise Leterme (Madeleine)
Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France, Michel Legrand (conductor) & Vincent Vittoz (stage director)
Recorded live at Paris’ Châtelet Theatre in Autumn 2014, this is a magical stage adaptation of Jacques Demy’s iconic 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Michel Legrand conducts a 75-piece symphony orchestra in his own hauntingly lyrical score, while the pivotal role of Madame Emery is taken by soprano Natalie Dessay, renewing the collaboration she established with Legrand on the 2013 Erato album Entre elle et lui.
The 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) – directed by Jacques Demy, with a score by Michel Legrand and starring a young and luminous Catherine Deneuve – is an international icon of French culture. For millions of people around the world, its haunting love theme – known in English as ‘I Will Wait For You’ – exemplifies Legrand’s musical style.
Before this production at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris in Autumn 2014, staged versions of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg had been mounted in New York and Paris (in 1979) and in London (2011), but this was the first to feature a full-size symphony orchestra – the 75 members of the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, conducted by Legrand himself.
It was also the first production to feature two singers celebrated for their achievements on the operatic stage: Natalie Dessay, who plays Madame Emery, the proprietor of an umbrella shop in the Normandy port of Cherbourg and mother of 17-year-old Geneviève (the character originally played by Catherine Deneuve), and Laurent Naouri, Natalie Dessay’s real-life husband, as the wealthy Parisian jeweller Roland Cassard, who courts Geneviève, even though she is pregnant by another man – her true love, Guy, who, since the action takes place in 1957, has been drafted to fight in the war in Algeria.
Both Dessay and Naouri captured the spirit and style of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg perfectly. As Michel Legrand himself has said, it occupies a special place between the world of the musical and the world of opera, since all the dialogue is sung rather than spoken. Jacques Demy died in 1990, but the fluidity of his screenplay was captured at the Châtelet by director Vincent Vittoz in an imaginative and witty semi-staged production. Rather than evoking the intensely vivid visual language of the film, the show was unashamedly and brilliantly theatrical, placing the orchestra on stage with the singers and making use of simple, flexible decor of charming cut-outs based on drawings by Jean-Jacques Sempé, famous for his cartoons for magazines such as Paris Match and The New Yorker.
This is not the first time Dessay, Legrand and Naouri have collaborated on a project for Erato: Naouri was one of the guest artists on the best-selling 2013 album Entre elle et lui, on which Dessay and Legrand performed 18 of Legrand’s songs. On the stage at the Châtelet they were joined by Marie Oppert – like her character, Geneviève, a 17-year-old – and, in the role of Guy, the popular light tenor Vincent Niclo. The 82-year-old Legrand, meanwhile, made a surprise entrance at the opening of the show, wearing an elegant raincoat and wielding a yellow umbrella.
Welcoming a “a wonderful evening of nostalgia” Le Figaro had special praise for Natalie Dessay’s “astonishing musical and theatrical intelligence”, while Le Point, describing the production as “a magically refined interpretation” and the score as “marvellous – both sophisticated and heartbreaking”, lauded the entire cast, but singled out young Marie Oppert as “a real revelation”. The US magazine Opera News, meanwhile, wrote that: “The composer [Legrand] conducted his own enriched orchestration with age-defying energy and was rewarded with superb playing from the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France ... There was a standing ovation from the first-night audience; nobody would dare begrudge them this classy piece of nostalgia.”
“Retro - convincing and moving” MusicWeb International, July 2015
“Legrand's music possessed an immediately communicative charm that few can match...Marie Oppert takes on Deneuve’s mantle gracefully and Vincent Niclo makes a handsome Guy, but the show is rather stolen by Natalie Dessay – recently retired from the operatic stage but still a superb singing actress – as Madame Emery.” The Telegraph, 19th July 2015 ****
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.