Annick Massis (Matilde), Juan Diego Florez (Corradino Cuor di Ferro), Bruno Taddia (Raimondo Lopez), Hadar Halevy (Edoardo), Marco Vinco (Aliprando), Bruno de Simone (Isidoro), Chiara Chialli (Contessa d'Arco), Carlo Lepore (Ginardo), Gregory Bonfatti (Egoldo), Lubomir Moravec (Rodrigo)
Orquesta Sinfonica De Galicia with the Prague Chamber Choir, Riccardo Frizza
Recorded live at the 2004 Pesaro Rossini Festival.
CD - 3 discs
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Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Sinfonia
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 1: Zitti: Nessun Qui V'È
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 1: Chi Vi Guida A Queste Mura?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 1: Se Viene Il Cerbero
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 1: Vanno Via Come Il Vento!
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Basta Nfi A Cà .. Ho Scritto Meza Gloria Delle Mie Guapparie
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Di Corradino Il Nome Per Ogni Suoi Rimbomba
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Le Penne De I Poeti So Spade Assai Diverse
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Dove, O Misero Padre, E Quando Speri Più Il Tuo Figlio Abbracciar?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Sazia Tu Fossi Alfine Revolubil Fortuna!
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Ah! Perché, Perché La Morte Non Ascolta I Pianti Miei?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Ah! Se Ancora Un'Altra Volla El Ritorna Al Dolce Amplesso
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Pur Ti Ragiunsi Al Fin... Cosa Pretendi?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: E Palese Il Tradimento .. Mente Il Foglio, O Ad Arte È Scritto
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Perfida Invan Tu Piangi .. È Finto Quell'Affanno
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Fra Quattro Armigeri Immantimente
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Pietà! Mi Parli Invano
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Mandare A Morte Quella Meschina? Che Crudelta!
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Andate A'vostri Alberghi
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Da Cento Smanie, E Cento Sento Straziarmi Il Cor
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Sedotto Dall'Inganno
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: O Ciel! Chi Può Resistere
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Nel Mezzo Del Cammin Di Nostra Vita
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Matilde, Ebben?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Ami Alfine? E Chi Non Ama?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Non È Vero?
Rossini: Matilde Di Shabran - Act 2: Tace La Tromba Altera
“Here is treasure indeed: a memorable recording of Rossini's grand, exhilarating, yet down the years too-little-noticed Matilde di Shabran. A comic-heroic romp written for the 1821 Roman carnival but substantially revised for Naples later that same year, the opera is an important staging-post between Rossini's two earlier Roman entertainments, Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, and their Parisian successors Il viaggio a Reims and Le Comte Ory. The opera soon dropped from the repertory, dogged by travellers' tales of a bizarre plot (a raving misogynist, a mad poet, damsels being thrown off cliffs) and an impossible- to-sing leading role. This 2004 Pesaro production, based on Jürgen Selk's new Critical Edition, catches Flórez at the peak of his powers. The plot is less complicated than its genesis might suggest. Corradino, a parody tyrant said to loathe women, poets, and all other affronts to his masculinity, resides in a Spanish castle whose welcome notices include such gems as 'He who enters here will have his neck broken'. In Act 1, he is trapped into loving. With the tyrant tyrannised, Act 2 finds him in a series of even bigger fixes, from which he is eventually rescued by the poet he once threatened to liquidate and the woman he has loathed, loved and tried to kill. Spectacular as the role of Corradino is, there are no solo arias. This is ensemble opera parexcellence. His spectacular entry – pure Errol Flynn – turns into a quartet. His first meeting with Matilde takes place in the latter half of the Act 1 Quintet. Later, despite Corradino's best efforts to silence young Edoardo, their Act 2 duet remains just that: a duet. The joke fails, of course, if the singer playing Corradino lacks the wherewithal to drive a coach and horses through Rossini's cunningly contrived maze. Flórez is terrific, literally so at times. Matilde is sister to Isabella and Rosina, albeit a soprano brandishing high C sharps and the occasional top F. Unlike Corradino, she does have a solo aria, the opera's showpiece finale, vividly thrown off by Annick Massis, who is well matched to Flórez histrionically and vocally. The two other leading players are Isidoro, a down-at-heel poet who ends up running the show, and the androgynously charming Edoardo, captive son of Corradino's arch-enemy Don Raimondo. Rossini conceived the roles for the Neapolitan buffo Antonio Parlamagni and his daughter, Annetta, then refined them in the rewrite. In Naples, Isidoro was played (as here, in Neapolitan dialect) by the legendary buffo Carlo Casaccia. Decca's Bruno de Simone is the gamest of Isidoros, Hadar Halevy a mellifluous-sounding Edoardo. Isidoro bears the brunt of the stretches of secco recitative: eight minutes before the Act 1 finale, a further stretch as the plot thickens midway through Act 2. None of this hangs heavy. This being a distillation of five live theatre performances, the entire cast and fortepiano player Rosetta Cucchi are fully engaged with the drama. Riccardo Frizza's conducting is fierce and sharp-edged in the modern style. Occasionally one misses that Gui-like turn of the wrist which distinguishes the musician from the martinet but Frizza's marshalling of the all-important ensembles is rarely less than masterly. The recording has the voices well forward, the orchestra a little too much to the rear. If the stereo placings are to be believed, Flórez was always centre-stage: understandable but oddly wearisome.”
“Spectacular as the role of the Corradino is, there are no solo arias. Flórez is terrific… Annick Massis… is well matched to Flórez histrionically and vocally. Riccardo Frizza's conducting is fierce and sharp-edged in the modern style.”
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“…The three superb musicians on this new recording, all in their twenties, face the hefty competition easily by playing with an irresistible spontaneity. They approach these works as interior high dramas; contested between melancholy and ecstasy…they play with an unassailable precision.” Alan Kozinn, The New York Times
“It's good to hear these great works played with full ardour by such a talented group of young musicians.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****
“Chamber music with star players doesn't always work: lack of rehearsal time or oversized egos can often lead to performances high on surface glitz but low on understanding. Not here though: these young artists, already making waves in their individual careers, give us a recording of Mendelssohn's delectable piano trios that sparkles and fizzes from the outset. The opening of the D minor Trio No 1 is a touch simpler than the Florestan's recent acclaimed reading but its urgency sweeps you along. They are particularly fine in the scherzi of both trios, with delightful portamenti in the D minor which seem to say 'look how easy this is'. In the finale, the new trio set off at a dancing pace; the Florestan are a touch steadier, which makes for an even more explosive contrast as the movement hots up. The C minor Trio has long lived in the shadow of the D minor. It's darker, slower to reveal its secrets. The new version fully captures its ruggedness, the way that melodies are hewn from the musical material, rather than simply emerging complete as in No 1. The only real quibble is their spacious tempo for the second movement, a Venetian gondola song in all but name. It's played with great tenderness but does seem rather over-extended. All in all, this new recording is irresistible, with the three players caught in a wholly natural ambience. It's always a good sign when you don't want to stop playing a disc long enough to write about it.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“…these young artists, already making waves in their individual careers, give us a recording of Mendelssohn's delectable piano trios that sparkles and fizzes from the outset. They are particularly fine in the scherzi of both trios, with delightful portamenti in the D minor which seem to say "look how easy this is".” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
'A mesmerising performance by DiDonato, who flaunts spectacular technique’ (The Times)
“The sparks fly from the opening set, Rossini's La regata veneziana… as DiDonato seizes upon the songs' operatic impulses. There's a frenzied urgency in the second song, "Anzoleta co passa la regata", for example, that conveys the intense excitement of the race and the passionate palpitations of the woman watching her lover speed towards victory. Throughout, Julius Drake's affectionate, finely shaded playing is an absolute delight.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
Languages : English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Catalan
“Figueras is in her element. She can be dramatic or passionate, facetious or sorrowful; a young girl who wants her freedom and is only restrained with difficulty; and a saintly soul in a mystical union with God. Highly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
“the best kind of musical archaeology, performed with imagination and unquenchable enthusiasm.” The Guardian
“Steven Osborne's pedigree in French repertoire is such that it has been almost inevitable that he would record Debussy's Préludes at some point. He has much in his favour, notably a marvellous range of colour, finely judged touch, and the ability to combine powerful waves of sound with diaphanous passagework while Hyperion have not lost their ability to capture a piano in full, natural sound.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2006 ***
“Steven Osborne tells us that in preparing this recording he was struck 'by the enormous scope of these preludes. What other collection of pieces manages to create so many utterly distinct and compelling worlds?' But he has prepared well, and every prelude glows, always rich in atmosphere. The opening 'Danseuses de Delphes' has a commandingly grave serenity and 'Voiles' floats effortlessly. Yet 'Les collines d'Anacapri' dances with sparkling rhythmic vitality and 'La danse de Puck' is deliciously capricious. Osborne's delicacy of feeling (and texture) is at its most magical in the soft footfalls 'sur la neige', although 'Feuilles mortes' has similar moments of evocative quietness. The unpredictability of 'Le vent dans la plaine' is matched by the simulated violence of 'Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest', and the thrilling climax of 'La cathédrale engloutie' has rich depth and sonority. By contrast, 'La fille aux cheveux de lin' has a ravishing simplicity, without sentimentalising. 'S Pickwick' brings a momentary smile but his eccentricity is banished by the calm of 'Canope' and the joyful virtuosity of 'Les tièrces alternées'. Osborne's virtuosity is never for its own sake and always reflects the music's spirit. The obvious comparison is with Zimerman's stunningly vivid recording; but his extraordinarily brilliant playing is at times almost over-projected and Osborne's natural spontaneity and powerful conveying of inner feeling is every bit as telling – less intense but deeply satisfying. The Hyperion recording is very realistic.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“…Osborne has prepared well, and every prelude glows, always rich in atmosphere. Osborne's delicacy of feeling (and texture) is at its most magical in the soft footfalls "sur la neige" although "Feuilles mortes" has similar moments of evocative quietness. The unpredictability of "Le vent dans la plaine" is matched by the stimulated violence of "Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest", and the thrilling climax of "La cathédrale engloutie" has rich depth and sonority.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
“Osborne achieves little miracles of colour and control...The recording respects Steven Osborne as much as he does the composer; the pianist provides the colour, the resonance, the glowing halo of sound, and the recording delivers it with great clarity and honesty...Strongly, indeed, urgently recommended.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 18th December 2006
“Here's a Barbiere light of heart and light of touch, graceful in style, with fresh, youngsounding voices (where appropriate), well schooled so as to make those forbiddingly difficult vocal flights sound like flights of fancy, quick as thought and natural as intuition. It's a concert performance and carries with it a real sense of enjoyment. The Overture moves with relish as from one good thing to another, and movement is the motto for most of the first act. Fiorello and the chorus are no clod-hoppers and the Count is no show-off. 'Ecco ridente' has the assurance of a young aristocrat who has practised his scales and scorns the use of aspirates. Figaro likewise wears his skills and his energy lightly, the brag and bounce of his introductory solo kept within civilised limits. Their duet is a ball-game of high velocity neatly played in time to an inexhaustible supply of rhythm and melody. The Rosina is Elina Garanca who is not very liberal with her smiles. The possibility of fun is admitted with 'farò giocar' but the keynote is determination ('vincerò'). Later the characterisation warms, but right from the start we have been won by the beauty of her tone and the accomplishment of her florid work, never going hard or shrill at the top and keeping the voice whole and even throughout its range. Her guardian, Doctor Bartolo, in this version is a lightweight buffo baritone rather than the usual bumbling fatty, and it's left to the Basilio to play the traditional tricks. At times during this First Act, one may wish for a moment here and there to linger over phrases or merely to savour the sound of a fine voice. In compensation, the conductor offers a clear view in which everything has its place. In Act 2 he makes room for more expansion. In both, the clarity of ensemble is a delight, as is the elegant playing of the Munich orchestra.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“…a version light of heart and light of touch, graceful in style, with fresh, young-sounding voices (where appropriate), well schooled so as to make those forbiddingly difficult vocal flights sound like flights of fancy, quick as thought and natural as intuition. ...the clarity of ensemble is a delight, as is the elegant playing the Munich orchestra.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
Heinz Kruse (Siegfried), Jeannine Altmeyer (Brünnhilde), Graham Clark (Mime), John Bröcheler (Wanderer), Henk Smit (Alberich), Carsten Stabell (Fafner), Anne Gjevang (Erda), Stefan Pangratz (Waldvogel)
‘Pierre Audi’s Ring really shines!’ Wagner Society, NL
“The Pierre Audi Amsterdam Ring wholly justifies Opus Arte's decision to follow up so soon its uneven Harry Kupfer/Barcelona cycle. Audi and designer George Tsypin work with a varying series of thrillingly lit (Wolfgang Goebbel) acting areas, Hartmut Haenchen's orchestra(s) constantly visible in a manner reminiscent of Baroque theatre. There may be reservations about Haenchen's straight, low-profile interpretation of the music (given in the new critical edition, here featuring colourful percussion and sound effects, and some new brass pitches at the opening of Act 3 of Götterdämmerung), or the harshness of Eiko Ishioka's far from conventionally beautiful Japanese theatrical costumes. But there can surely be few about the freshness of Audi's theatrical thinking, and his reinvention of 'deconstructionist' effects – Fafner as his own mouth; a fierily lit and smoked platform to walk into; or the Wanderer's spear presented for Siegfried to break as a huge, ceiling-high, world ash tree-like totem. The visible Woodbird (at last, as Wagner wished, taken by a boy) with his white, waif-like cockade of hair is also a moving presence, especially at the violent death of Mime. Audi has cast and used his singing actors well. Altmeyer goes from strength to strength, proving how right she was that Brünnhilde was her role. Clark delivers another variation on his widely travelled Mime, now older, more worried, perhaps more frightening. Gjevang, a matchless Erda, then unveils a Waltraute that for textual understanding, projection and sheer intensity you'd have to have on a desert island. Her Act 1 colleagues in Götterdämmerung – Rydl's neurotic, exhibitionist Hagen and the identical-looking Sebastian/Viola incestuous Gibichungs of Bundschuh and Schöne – provide compulsive acting too. And when Siegfried comes to the rock with the tarnhelm? You'll have to see (and hear!) for yourself. A black mark, though, to Opus Arte for forgetting (totally) the chorus in Götterdämmerung – viewers intrigued by their Cuprinoladvertisement wooden-puppet look may want to know who they are. The Netherlands Philharmonic lack, in the final pages of Götterdämmerung, the necessary lustrous string tone; in Siegfried, their Rotterdam colleagues are idiomatically magnificent. If you're buying individually, the Audi Götterdämmerung is mandatory.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen live and breathe as one on these two wonderful discs in which every performance emerges not merely as 'the best' (if we're talking critical comparisons) but life-affirming. Technically, each fiddly ornament, every phrase shape and every degree of pedalling is miraculously co-ordinated – not that one is ever made aware of such prosaic elements for the music simply flows, newly minted, in joyous, stylish effusion. Here are Wolfgang and Nannerl having a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, smiling and winking to each other as they negotiate some of the more mischievous twists and turns. The final movement of the B flat Sonata, K358, has rarely bubbled along like this, while the F major Sonata, K497, confirms its place as a masterpiece with its passages of eerie Schubertian prescience. The playing of this duo marks a clear if subtle distinction between one that comes together occasionally for festivals and recordings, and one that does it every day as a vocation.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen live and breathe as one on these two wonderful discs in which every performance emerges not merely as "the best" (if we're talking critical comparisons) but life-affirming. The final movement of the B flat Sonata, K358, has rarely bubbled along like this, while the F major Sonata, K497, confirms its place as a masterpiece with its passages of eerie Schubertian prescience.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
“Sonia Rubinsky's colorful and technically shipshape interpretations are as lovingly nuanced and thoroughly idiomatic as we can desire, and they're beautifully recorded as well. In sum, this valuable addition to the Villa-Lobos discography deserves no less than the highest rating and warmest recommendation.” Classics Today
“…even the most blasé listener will find himself humming and tapping at the teeming interplay of rhythm and melody, at childhood innocence spiced with adult experience. Sonia Rubinsky plays all this music with spirit and affection.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006
“This disc will bring Crumb to a wider audience with two substantial works, one early and one late. Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death was completed in 1968 and has all the hallmarks of Crumb's magical sound world. It's one of several pieces stemming from the poetry of Federico García Lorca. Nicholas Isherwood, after many live performances, is totally in command of this spooky territory and delivers his lines with great clarity (full texts of the four poems are available online). 'The Song of the Rider' is a spine-chilling counterpart to Schubert's Erlkönig – both scenarios end in death, a consistent presence throughout both in the poems and in the movements called 'Death-Drones'. Written in 1994, Quest shows Crumb still finding unusual sonorities for his six players with prominent guitar. So we hear the Appalachian hammer dulcimer, the African talking drum, the Mexican rainstick, and sometimes the guitar and harp are interwoven. Crumb admits that he had some trouble in finding a final form for Quest: there is no programme but he pondered a couple of gloomy phrases from Dante and Lorca. Alexander Swete plays electric guitar in Songs, Drones and acoustic guitar in Quest, which becomes a showpiece for him (it was written for David Starobin). It's now good to have both these works together, well recorded, with notes by the composer.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death was completed in 1968 and has all the hallmarks of Crumb's magical sound world. It's one of the several pieces stemming from the poetry of Federico García Lorca. Nicholas Isherwood, after many live performances, is totally in command of this spooky territory and delivers his lines with great clarity... Written in 1994, Quest shows Crumb still finding unusual sonorities for his six players with prominent guitar.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2006