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New Year's Concert 2016

New Year's Concert 2016


Hellmesberger:

Ball Scene

Stolz, R:

Uno-Marsch

Strauss, E:

Mit Extrapost, Op. 259

Ausser Rand und Band - Polka schnell, Op. 168

Strauss, J, I:

Seufzer Galopp, Op. 9

Strauss, J, II:

Schatz-Walzer, Op. 418

Violetta, Op. 404

Vergnügungszug, Op. 281

Eine Nacht in Venedig Overture

Sängerlust (Joy Of Singing), Op. 328

Fürstin Ninetta (Princess Ninetta): Entr'acte

Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437

Auf der Jagd, Op. 373

Strauss, Josef:

Sphärenklänge, Op. 235

Auf Ferienreisen - Polka schnell, Op. 133

Die Libelle - Polka mazur, Op. 204

Waldteufel:

Espana, Op. 236

Ziehrer:

Weaner Mad'ln, Walzer, Op. 388


As a brand name, the Vienna New Year’s Concert can trace back its origins to 31 December 1939. In other words, the concert initially took place on the last day of the year. By 1941, however, it was being held on 1 January, when the Vienna Philharmonic established a tradition that continues to flourish to this day.

The list of names of leading conductors who have led the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concerts reads like a veritable who’s who of great maestros: including Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Claudio Abbado, Carlos Kleiber, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Seiji Ozawa, Mariss Jansons, and Franz Welser-Möst.

It is not least thanks to this illustrious succession of great conductors that the Vienna New Year’s Concert remains unique, ushering in the New Year in a way that has often been imitated but never equalled. Its universal popularity is undoubtedly due to the direct – or deferred – live broadcast from the flower-filled Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The first broadcast went out on Eurovision in 1959, the first colour relay in 1967. Now the concert is shown in countries throughout almost the entire world.

It continues to be works by members of the Strauss family – Johann Strauss Father and Son as well as Eduard and Josef Strauss – that are central to this media event. Old favourites from their output are heard alongside others that have never been recorded or are only rarely heard; all of them programmed around two fixed points in the concert: the Blue Danube Waltz and the Radetzky March.

Mariss Jansons ranks among the outstanding podium personalities of our time. He has been the Chief Conductor of the Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks since 2003. After several exceptionally successful seasons, his contract was prolonged until 2018. Until recently he was also the chief conductor of the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam (2004-2015) and held both prestigious positions of a chief conductor at both orchestras. Both ensembles made the top 10 in a 2008 Gramophone list of the world's top 20 orchestras.

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Sony - 88875174789

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Purcell: The Indian Queen, Z630

Purcell: The Indian Queen, Z630

Peter Sellars’ New Version


This is the second creative project bringing together conductor Teodor Currentzis and director Peter Sellars (the first being the operatic double-bill of Iolanta and Perséphone staged in Madrid in 2012), and also the first collective production of three opera companies — the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Spanish Teatro Real and the English National Opera.

The action is set in Central America. Spanish colonialists are at war with the native Mayan people. In the face of the armed forces the locals appear armed with bows and arrows, but they are mere children. Blood runs like a river. The Mayans resort to trickery – in order to infiltrate the enemy, the daughter of the Mayan chief becomes a concubine to the commander of the Spanish army. The plan brings her unexpected happiness (she falls in love with the commander and has children with him) but also tragedy (the Spanish colonialists continue the massacre of the Mayans). With nowhere to turn for help, the only hope is that the great Mayan gods will descend from the sky to the earth at the critical moment…

The scenery recreates the symbolic and colourful decoration of the Mayan tribes and the Zapatista Army — a modern national liberation movement in Mexico. The music is performed by an international ensemble of soloists, choir and the orchestra musicAeterna.

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Sony - 88875049519

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Puccini: La fanciulla del West

Puccini: La fanciulla del West


A celebrated new production of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West from the Vienna State opera featuring Jonas Kaufmann and Nina Stemme. Staged by Marco Arturo Marelli, who sets it in a modern-day mining village, with the feel of a gritty modern drama, during the American gold rush of 1849. An unlikely setting for an Italian opera, but one that has a happy ending. It tells the tale of Minnie, the bartender in the saloon whom all the local men adore, and Dick Johnson alias Ramerrez, a notorious bandit. Dick and Minnie fall in love on first meeting, so much so that he vows to change his life as a bandit, sung by two contemporary great singers: Nina Stemme and Jonas Kaufmann. A new production from Marco Arturo Marelli brought one of Puccini’s rarely performed works to the Vienna State Opera stage in September 2013. Jonas Kaufmann in his role debut as the wanted and notorious bandit Ramerrez proves ideally cast, full of power, with his breathtakingly beautiful baritone timbre. "Nina Stemme and Jonas Kaufmann are the opera’s must-see couple for a generation… The rich playing of the Vienna orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst shows up the colour and detail of Puccini’s score to spectacular effect” Financial Times.

“The star couple are on top form...In the theatre Stemme sounded one size larger vocally than Kaufmann but the tenor's burnished tone and romantic magnetism come across impressively on disc. Tomasz Konieczny does well not to be upstaged as a searingly forceful Jack Rance...The combined strengths of this performance make Son'y DVD a clear first choice among recent releases.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

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Sony - 88875064069

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Puccini: Manon Lescaut

Puccini: Manon Lescaut


Jonas Kaufmann (Des Grieux), Kristine Opolais (Manon Lescaut), Christopher Maltman (Lescaut), Maurizio Muraro (Gerontes) & Benjamin Hulett (Edmondo)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House & Royal Opera House Chorus, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Jonathan Kent (director)

London’s Royal Opera House presented Jonathan Kent’s new production of Manon Lescaut in June 2014. Jonathan Kent did a modern update to the 19th century classic.

'From the moment Kaufmann and Opolais embark – with infinite delicacy - on their emotional journey, it becomes clear that this is a vocal marriage made in heaven. His warmly burnished sound is balanced by the exquisitely-nuanced purity of hers, and they are supported by a performance in the pit, under Antonio Pappano, of rare refinement.' THE INDEPENDENT

'Exhibiting qualities from each of the Three Tenors — Pavarotti's gleaming tone, Carreras's good looks, Domingo's dramatic presence — Jonas Kaufmann is justifiably lauded as the outstanding tenor of our day. In Jonathan Kent's new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut he delivers a thrilling performance that satisfies both musically and theatrically.' LONDON EVENING STANDARD

'Antonio Pappano has few peers today as a Puccini conductor, and gives the score a tremendous sense of vivid theatricality' THE GUARDIAN

“Kaufmann is a gloriously ardent Des Grieux, recklessly embarking upon an emotional journey almost as distressing as that of the heroine herself. Kristine Opolais matches him in a performance that combines tenderness with wilfulness and a kind of doomed personal integrity exemplified in her vocal line. And Pappano brings his customary sense of style to the music.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2015

“do not pass up the chance to see the power and achievement of Jonas Kaufmann and Kristine Opolais in the lead roles. Even in this day and age, to see (and hear) such uninhibited physical master of stage parts in opera is not so common - and everyone from the artists themselves to the director, designers and video director should be prasied…around them the support is terrifically sharp, the well-placed chorus included” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

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Sony - 88875105199

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Lang Lang live in Versailles

Lang Lang live in Versailles


Chopin:

Scherzi Nos. 1-4

Tchaikovsky:

The Seasons, Op. 37b


Lang Lang (piano)

Placing one of the world's most famous piano superstars, Lang Lang, in one of the most spectacular locations, the Palace of Versailles’s Hall of Mirrors, this live recital Blu-Ray/DVD looks as good as it sounds. Performing popular works in the Romantic piano repertoire, the intimate splendour of Chopin and Tchaikovsky's solo piano music are perfectly served by Lang Lang's display interpretative ability and renowned technical command.

Ever since his first visit to the magical space that is the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, Lang Lang had dreamed of performing there. When his dream came to fruition in the form of a special concert on June 22, 2015, Lang Lang selected Chopin’s four momentous Scherzi and Tchaikovsky’s rarer cycle of masterful “The Seasons” to present to his audience.

The live concert (90 minutes) was captured by multiple cameras in 4K, including strikingly intimate and seamless Steady-Cam footage, which provides the viewer with an unprecedented experience of this once-in-a-lifetime recital.

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Sony - 88875146929

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Jonas Kaufmann: Nessun Dorma

Jonas Kaufmann: Nessun Dorma

The Puccini Album (Deluxe version)


Puccini:

Donna non vidi mai (from Manon Lescaut)

Oh, sarò la più bella...Tu, tu, amore? (from Manon Lescaut)

Kristine Opolais (soprano)

Ah, Manon mi tradisce (from Manon Lescaut)

Ah! Non v'avvicinate! No, pazzo son (from Manon Lescaut)

Ei giunge!...Torna ai felici di (from Le Villi)

Orgia, Chimera Dall'occhio Vitreo (from Edgar)

O soave fanciulla (from La Bohème)

Kristine Opolais (soprano)

Recondita armonia (from Tosca)

Addio, fiorito asil (from Madama Butterfly)

Una parola sola! … Or son sei mesi (from La Fanciulla del West)

Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano (from La Fanciulla del West)

Parigi! E la citta dei desideri (from La Rondine)

Hai ben ragione (from Il tabarro)

Avete torto! (from Gianni Schicchi)

Firenze è come un albero fiorito (from Gianni Schicchi)

Non piangere, Liù! (from Turandot)

Nessun dorma (from Turandot)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Described by The Daily Telegraph as “The world’s greatest tenor”, Jonas Kaufmann dedicates his new album to the most popular Italian opera composer of all time, Giacomo Puccini. Featuring the most loved aria of all time, ‘Nessun Dorma’, alongside stunning pieces from Manon Lescaut, La Boheme, Tosca and more. Together with Jonas Kaufmann, this album includes celebrated Royal Opera House conductor Antonio Pappano and his renowned orchestra and choir of the Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia.

Deluxe version includes a bonus DVD with a short ‘Making Of’ feature and excerpts from upcoming DVD releases Manon Lescaut and La Fanciulla del West, with additional photos.

“All the operas (except the all-female Suor Angelica) are represented, ending with a pinging, thrilling Nessun Dorma. It’s as far from Pavarotti as you can get, yet still captures the essence of Puccini.” The Observer, 6th September 2015 ****

“On stage he is remarkably invested in character and text, in other words in being somebody else rather than himself. The best of Nessun Dorma — and Kaufmann’s best is peerless — shows how well he can do that even on record, assisted by the vivid playing of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome under Antonio Pappano.” The Times, 11th September 2015 ****

“Kaufmann may be an artist capable of immense interpretative subtlety, but as with his earlier discs of Verismo and Verdi he never short-changes in terms of the heart-on-sleeve theatricality that so much of this music demands...You'd have to try pretty hard, I think, not to enjoy this disc immensely, at least if you modify your memory to erase any traces of Pavarotti...Puccini's tenor writing is often associated with a rather more 'golden' sound than Kaufmann's essentially coppery one, but once you adjust to that everything's glorious.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 11th September 2015

“Although he does not sound very Italian, Kaufmann draws strength from staying true to himself, a gloriously bronze-voiced German tenor, welding musicianship with smouldering emotion...Pappano and his Santa Cecilia orchestra fire up every track with native Italian passion.” Financial Times, 18th September 2015 ****

“If you want a Puccini tenor bulging with Italian vocal muscle, or a voice with top notes that ping off his dress studs, then Jonas Kaufmann is not your man. But for an artist working with a conductor who makes you rethink Puccini's heroes as deeply flawed individuals, then this is the album…the voice is now as much dark chocolate as light caramel; but for intelligence and commitment, is there another tenor nowadays who can hold a candle to Kaufmann?” BBC Music Magazine, December 2015 ****

“With its smoky sheen, earthy colorings and heft, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann’s voice may not seem born to the red-sauce Puccini idiom. But he brings abundant lyricism and exciting ardor to this intelligent program.” New York Times, 11th December 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

11th September 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Winner

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Sony - 88875092482

(CD + DVD Video - 2 discs)

$23.25

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Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9

Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9


Bruckner:

Symphony No. 8 in C minor

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor


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Sony Karajan Anniversary Edition - 88697299659

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Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2


Brahms:

Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68

Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73


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Herbert von Karajan conducts Debussy & Ravel

Herbert von Karajan conducts Debussy & Ravel


Debussy:

La Mer

Ravel:

Daphnis et Chloé


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Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527


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