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Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel

Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel

Sung in English (translation by David Pountney)


Rebecca Evans (Gretel), Jennifer Larmore (Hansel), Jane Henschel (The Witch), Rosalind Plowright (Gertrude), Robert Hayward (Peter), Sarah Tynan (Dew Fairy), Diana Montague (Sandman), Sarah Coppen (Cuckoo)

Philharmonia Orchestra & New London Children’s Choir, Sir Charles Mackerras

“It was Rebecca Evans’s Gretel, who took the honours. Spinning out radiant lines of delicious purity, she made it hard to see how the role could be sung better” The Times

“What distinguishes this version is primarily the vigorous and large-scale conducting of Sir Charles Mackerras.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2007 ****

“All told, this set will clearly stand the test of time as an English version, rivalling even the best of versions in the original German. The exhilaration of the final scene in particular is irresistible, with Mackerras drawing a genuinely Viennese-sounding lilt in the waltz rhythms of the "Witch is dead" duet, the destruction of the Witch's House powerfully conveyed and the revival of the gingerbread children movingly done. ” Gramophone Magazine, September 2007

“When a perfectly serviceable version of Hanseland Gretel in English already exists on CfP, it is generous as well as bold for the Peter Moores Foundation to sponsor this new one. In every way it replaces the old. That was an EMI effort in 1964 using multichannels – the result: unnecessarily close voices and a dim orchestra. On Chandos the recording is clear and beautifully separated yet with an agreeable bloom on voices and instruments.
The Canadian Mario Bernadi, then briefly the Sadler's Wells company's music director, conducts a lively performance but Sir Charles Mackerras is altogether more inspired and imaginative, with pointing and phrasing that readily match Karajan's masterly conducting on the classic mono EMI set.
Though the CfP singers, from the old Sadler's Wells company, are good with clear, firm voices, their 'prunes and prisms' enunciation of words harks back to a pre-war tradition, dating the performance. This time, following the practice at English National Opera, the David Pountney Opera Humperdinck 602 translation is used, fresher and more idiomatic, helping the starry cast of soloists, led by Jennifer Larmore and Rebecca Evans, both superb in the title-roles, nicely contrasted while blending well together.
There is strong casting, too, for the Witch, with Jane Henschel refusing to caricature the role in 'funny-voice' singing; Rosalind Plowright, gravitating down to mature mezzo, as the Mother, and Robert Hayward as the Father, don't guy their characterisations, either; while there are good contrasts between the bright Dew Fairy of Sarah Tynan and the warm Sandman of Diana Montague.
All told, this set will clearly stand the test of time as an English version, rivalling even the best of versions in the original German. The exhilaration of the final scene in particular is irresistible, with Mackerras drawing a genuinely Viennese-sounding lilt in the waltz rhythms of the 'Witch is dead' duet, the destruction of the Witch's House powerfully conveyed and the revival of the gingerbread children movingly done. The fresh young voices of the New London Children's Choir are beautifully caught.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2007

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - August 2007

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN31432

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Mozart: The Magic Flute

Mozart: The Magic Flute


Mozart:

Die Zauberflöte, K620

Sung in English (translation by Jeremy Sams)


Barry Banks (Tamino), Rebecca Evans (Pamina), Elizabeth Vidal (Queen of the Night), Simon Keenlyside (Papageno), John Tomlinson (Sarastro), Majella Cullagh (First Lady), Sarah Fox (Second Lady), Diana Montague (Third Lady), Lesley Garrett (Papagena), John Graham-Hall (Monostatos)

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, New London Children’s Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras

“No work makes better sense in the vernacular than Mozart's concluding masterpiece. The composer and, assuredly, Schikaneder would have approved of giving the work in the language of the listeners, and when you have to hand such a witty, well-worded translation as that of Jeremy Sams, it makes even better sense. Sir Charles Mackerras has always been an advocate of opera in English when the circumstances are right.
As ever, he proves himself a loving and perceptive Mozartian. Throughout he wonderfully contrasts the warmth and sensuousness of the music for the good characters with the fire and fury of the baddies, and he persuades the LPO to play with a lightness and promptness that's wholly enchanting, quite the equal of most bands on the other available versions.
In no way is his interpretation here inferior to his German one on Telarc; indeed, in the central roles of Tamino and Pamina the casting for Chandos is an improvement, and Keenlyside is fully the equal of Thomas Allen on the Telarc set. Keenlyside's loveable, slightly sad, very human and perfectly sung Papageno is at the centre of things. Rebecca Evans's voice has taken on a new richness without losing any of its focus or delicacy of utterance. Everything she does has sincerity and poise, although her diction might, with advantage, be clearer.
The recording is fine apart from an over-use of thunder and lightning as sound effects. Anyone wanting the work in English needn't hesitate to acquire this set, the first-ever on CD.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Of all repertoire operas, none gains more than The Magic Flute from performance in the language of the audience. Musically, the performance is hard to fault. Articulation is light and buoyant, tempos mobile yet never driven or inflexible, textures sharp and transparent. Rebecca Evans, a richer-toned Pamina than usual, movingly portrays her development from ingénue to woman 'worthy to attain the light'. ...Simon Keenlyside is a marvellous Papageno, innocent, vulnerable and funny without clownishness. Barry Banks... sings a positive, un-wimpish Tamino. With his rugged, rolling bass John Tomlinson creates a formidably imposing yet humane Sarastro, while Elizabeth Vidal atones for some cloudy diction with fiery, bang in-tune performances of the Queen of the Night's arias. ...this new performance, beautifully recorded, with a modicum of well-judged sound effects, catches the work's fairytale wonder, solemnity and fun as fully and delightfully as any, irrespective of language.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2005 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2005

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - June 2005

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3121

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Mozart: Così fan tutte, K588

Mozart: Così fan tutte, K588

Sung in English (translation by Marmaduke Browne, adapted by John Cox)


Janice Watson (Fiordiligi), Diana Montague (Dorabella), Lesley Garrett (Despina), Toby Spence (Ferrando), Christopher Maltman (Guglielmo), Sir Thomas Allen (Don Alfonso), David Watkin (cello), John Cohen (cello) & Ronald Schneider (fortepiano)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Sir Charles Mackerras

Così fan tutte is Mozart’s third opera to a Da Ponte libretto. It is in opera buffa style and has only six characters, two couples and an elderly philosopher and a trusted maid. In this recording Lesley Garrett sings the part of the maid, Despina, and the celebrated veteran Sir Thomas Allen the philosopher, Don Alfonso. Despite the somewhat cynical storyline this opera contains some of Mozart’s most memorable and sublime music.

The conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras, has spent many years researching performance practice of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is a noted authority on Mozart’s operas. He writes of this recording, ‘it is indeed a

pleasure having the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment lending its expertise in tonal colour, phrasing and rhythmic impulse to Mozart’s wonderful score… I have chosen to record this English version of Così fan tutte with

the traditional cuts, thus making it closer to a staged performance’. The English translation, by the Rev. Browne, was first used in London at a performance conducted by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford in 1890.

“M is for Mozart, Mackerras and magic. The Australian conductor - surely the world’s most illuminating and rewarding Mozartian - conjures sounds of mercurial brilliance and heart-stopping beauty from the OAE and his all-British cast in this vernacular version of Mozart’s most enigmatic comedy.” Sunday Times, 4th May 2008 ****

“Charles Mackerras, always a rewarding Mozart conductor, directs a taut, urgent account of the opera. Recitatives tumble inevitably into arias. Yet, despite his penchant for mobile tempos, Mackerras is fully alive to Così 's uniquely voluptuous, nostalgic tinta. Crucially in an opera of ensembles, the cast works well as a close-knit team, whether in the concerted numbers or in the recitatives, taken at a natural, conversational pace.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2008

“This recording lacks an underlying dramatic conviction, despite punchy playing from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Mackerras. It's a shame, because Toby Spence, Christopher Maltman, Janice Watson and Diana Montague are nicely matched fair-weather lovers. But the direction seems moot. Lesley Garrett's devilsome maid Despina hams too much to the absent crowd, tonally rather too music-hall for the rest of the recording.” The Times, 12th April 2008 ***

“This is an account of Così which seems to put momentum first. The opening chord, more ferocious than one would expect, gives way to a rattling overture, and tension and pace never let up.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 ***

“…the pacing, ebb and flow of the music is near-perfect. In particular, the OAE's woodwind are on ravishing form. Sir Thomas Allen is, a renowned Don Alfonso of authority and warmth… Toby Spence delivers some of the best Mozart tenor-singing I have heard in a long time.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2008

“Sir Peter Moores comments that the phrase 'Così fan tutte' is 'almost impossible to translate' into English. Thus it is that the delivery of Ferrando and Guglielmo's pronouncement, under the cynical tutorship of Don Alfonso, is one of the few lines that have not been translated in this volume of the Opera in English series (Alfonso's exclamation 'Misericordia!' is the other one left intact, and rightly so). Sometimes opera in English sounds too close to Gilbert and Sullivan at their cheesiest, but in a sparkling comedy such as Così fan tutte that is not necessarily a bad thing: in fact this is tremendously enjoyable because it allows Anglophones to concentrate on exactly what the characters are saying. So if Opera in English brings a wider audience closer to the heart of Mozart's and da Ponte's masterpiece, then it can only be a wonderful thing.
Of course, it helps that the music has seldom sounded as glorious as it does in the hands of Sir Charles Mackerras and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Both are consummate Mozartians, and the pacing, ebb and flow of the music is near-perfect. In particular, the OAE's woodwind are on ravishing form. In terms of stylishness, orchestral sound and the sentimen- tal strength of the playing, this Così is on a par with the finest period-instrument versions (Östman and Gardiner), and arguably has more heart than the OAE's previous recording under Sir Simon Rattle (EMI). The three ladies are animated (but not consistently pleasing on the ear), so the three men steal the show vocally: Sir Thomas Allen is, of course, a renowned Don Alfonso of authority and warmth, Christopher Maltman is a suave Guglielmo, and Toby Spence delivers some of the best Mozart tenorsinging in a long time. Although he falls short in softer music, he brings ringing clarity and declamatory emotion to “Tradito! Schernito!” (here “Her ter-reason is poison”).”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Mackerras's sparkling account of this delightful opera comes over surprisingly well in English, for the change of language does not impair the vocal lines...Vocally, Toby Spence, as an attractively ardent Ferrando, is the star of the show, and Christopher Maltman partners him well as Guglielmo.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3152

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Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro

Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro


Mozart:

Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Sung in English (translation by Jeremy Sams)


Christopher Purves (Figaro), Rebecca Evans (Susanna), Yvonne Kenny (Countess), William Dazeley (Count), Diana Montague (Cherubino), Frances McCafferty (Marcellina), Jonathan Veira (Bartolo), John Graham Hall (Don Basilio), Graham Danby (Antonio), Sarah Tynan (Barbarina), Stuart Kale (Don Curzio)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, David Parry

The only recording of The Marriage of Figaro sung in English

“Parry's timing of the comedy here is impeccable, helped by light, clean textures and imaginative continuo-playing in recitatives, using fortepiano. Most of the principals have had long experience of singing their roles on stage” Penguin Guide, 2010 **/*

“a useful, straightforward reading” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3113

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Mozart: Idomeneo, K366

Mozart: Idomeneo, K366

Sung in English (translation by David Parry)


Bruce Ford (Idomeneo), Diana Montague (Idamante), Rebecca Evans (Ilia), Susan Patterson (Electra), Ryland Davies (Arbace), Nicolai Gedda (High Priest of Neptune), Clive Bayley (Voice of Neptune)

Opera North Orchestra & Chorus, David Parry

“Bruce Ford's distinctive tenor is powerfully expressive...The cast of women is outstanding...The vivid Chandos recording brings excellent balances between voices and orchestra, with words admirably clear. Mozart's score has never sounded fresher.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3103

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Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen

Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen

Sung in English (translation by Yveta Synek Graff & Robert T. Jones)


Lillian Watson (Vixen Sharp-Ears), Thomas Allen (Forester), Nicholas Folwell (Harašta), Diana Montague (Fox), Robert Tear (Mosquito/Schoolmaster), Gillian Knight (Forester's Wife/Owl), Gwynne Howell (Priest/Badger), John Dobson (Pásek), Elizabeth Bainbridge (Innkeeper's Wife)

Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Simon Rattle

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3101

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Great Operatic Arias 2 - Diana Montague Volume 1

Great Operatic Arias 2 - Diana Montague Volume 1


Berlioz:

La Damnation de Faust: D'amour l'ardente flamme

Sung in English as 'The fire of love inside me '

Delibes:

Sous le dôme épais (from Lakmé)

Sung in English as 'See the vines all in flow'r'

Donizetti:

Fia dunque vero…O mio Fernando (from La Favorita)

Sung in English as 'Can I believe it?...O my beloved'

Gluck:

Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)

Sung in English as 'What is life to me without thee?'

Gounod:

Faites- lui mes aveux (from Faust)

Sung in English as 'Summer flowers so fair'

Offenbach:

Ah! quel dîner je viens de faire (from La Perichole)

Sung in English as 'I've dined so well, I feel divine'

O mon cher amant, je te jure (from La Périchole)

Sung in English as 'Oh my dearest, from my heart '

Tu n'es pas beau, tu n'es pas riche (from La Périchole)

Sung in English as 'You don't have looks, you don't have cash'

Rossini:

A la faveur de cette nuit obscure (from Le Comte d'Ory)

Sung in English as 'Night lends her aid'

Saint-Saëns:

Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix (from Samson et Dalila)

Sung in English as 'Softly awakes my heart'

Amour, viens aider ma faiblesse (Samson et Dalila)

Sung in English as 'Tonight, seeking hither my presence...O love! From thy pow'r let me borrow!'

Printemps qui commence (from Samson et Dalila)

Sung in English as 'Fair spring is returning'

Thomas, Ambroise:

Me voici dans son boudoir 'Gavotte' (from Mignon)

Sung in English as 'Here am I in her boudoir'

Connais-tu le pays (from Mignon)

Sung in English as 'Have you heard of the land..?'


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Chandos Opera in English - Great Operatic Arias - CHAN3010

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Great Operatic Arias 10 - Diana Montague Volume 2

Great Operatic Arias 10 - Diana Montague Volume 2

Sung in English


Borodin:

Song of the Polovtsian Maiden from Prince Igor

Sung in English as 'Tender flower, starved of water'

Gluck:

O malheureuse Iphigenie! (from Iphigénie en Tauride)

Sung in English as 'No hope remains in my affliction'

Je t'implore et je tremble (from Iphigénie en Tauride)

Sung in English as 'I implore thee and tremble'

Gounod:

Si le bonheur à sourire t'invite (from Faust)

Sung in English as 'When happy days'

Handel:

Verdi prati (from Alcina)

Sung in English as 'Verdant pastures'

Care selve (from Atalanta)

Sung in English as 'Noble forests'

Heuberger:

Gehen wir ins Chambre séparée (from Der Opernball)

Sung in English as 'In a cosy chambre séparée

Helen Williams (Hortense)

Lehár:

Mein freund, vernuft…wie einer rosenknospe (from Die Lustige Witwe)

Sung in English as 'Calm down, my friend!...Just as the sun awakens'

Bruce Ford (Camille)

Mozart:

Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Sung in English as 'Is it pain, is it pleasure that fills me?'

Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio (from La Clemenza di Tito)

Sung in English as 'Send me, but, my beloved'

Soave sia il vento (from Così fan tutte)

Sung in English as 'Blow gently, you breezes'

Orla Boylan (Fiordiligi), Alan Opie (Don Alfonso)

Ah, scostati!...Smanie implacabili, che m'agitate (from Così fan tutte)

Sung in English as 'Ah! Leave me now...Torture and agony'

Prenderò quel brunettino (from Così fan tutte)

Sung in English as 'I will take the handsome, dark one'

Orla Boylan (Fiordiligi)

Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K583

Sung in English as 'Banished, rejected, God save me!'

Il core vi dono (from Così fan tutte)

Sung in English as 'My heart here I give you'

Alan Opie (Guglielmo)

Chi sà, chi sà qual sia, K582

Sung in English as 'Who knows what feeling?'

Stölzel:

Bist du bei mir

Sung in English as 'If you are near'

Alistair Young (harpsichord), Susanne Beer (cello)

Strauss, J, II:

Ich lade gern mir Gäste ein (from Die Fledermaus)

Sung in English as 'Three score and ten'


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Chandos Opera in English - Great Operatic Arias - CHAN3093

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Baroque Celebration

Baroque Celebration


Gluck:

Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)

Sung in English as 'What is life to me without thee?’

Diana Montague (mezzo)

Handel:

Priva son d'ogni conforto (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Grief and woe all hope deny me’

Sarah Walker (mezzo)

Semele: Where'er you walk

Bruce Ford (tenor)

L'angue offeso (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Wounded, the serpent ne’er reposes’

Della Jones (mezzo)

I rage, I melt, I burn…O ruddier than the cherry (from Acis and Galatea)

John Tomlinson (bass)

Lascia ch'io pianga (from Rinaldo)

Sung in English as 'Hear thou my weeping’

Yvonne Kenny (soprano)

Domerò la tua fierezza (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as ‘I shall tame your pride unbending’

James Bowman (countertenor)

Piangerò la sorte mia (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Flow, my tears’

Valerie Masterson (soprano)

Va tacito e nascosto (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'How silently, how slyly’

Janet Baker (mezzo)

Frondi tenere e belle ... Ombra mai fù (from Serse)

Sung in English as 'May the Fates be kind...Under thy shade’

Della Jones (mezzo)

Samson: Honour and arms scorn such a foe

John Tomlinson (bass)

Son nata a lagrimar (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as ‘Condemned to grieve and cry’

Sarah Walker, Della Jones (mezzos)

Da tempeste il legno infranto (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Stormy winds my ship had shaken’

Valerie Masterson (soprano)

Purcell:

Fairest Isle (from King Arthur)

I attempt from love's sickness to fly in vain (from The Indian Queen)


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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3078

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Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier (highlights)

Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier (highlights)

Sung in English (translation by Alfred Kalisch)


Yvonne Kenny (Marschallin), Diana Montague (Octavian), Rosemary Joshua (Sophie), John Tomlinson (Baron Ochs), Andrew Shore (Faninal)

London Philharmonic Orchestra , Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Peter Kay Children's Choir, David Parry

“Parry paces the score most persuasively, and the orchestral sound is aptly sumptuous...Diana Montague is a winningly expressive Octavian, and Rosemary Joshua a sweet-toned Sophie.” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition **/***

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3022

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