Penguin Guide Rosette Winners

Opera

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Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment

Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment

Live from Covent Garden, Royal Opera House, London – January 2007


Natalie Dessay (Marie), Juan Diego Flórez (Tonio), Felicity Palmer (La Marquise de Birkenfeld), Alessandro Corbelli (Sulpice), Donald Maxwell (Hortensius), Dawn French (La Duchesse de Crackentorp)

Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Bruno Campanella (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (stage director)

“Laurent Pelly's production of Donizetti's opéra comique was one of the highlights of the Royal Opera's 2006-7 season, and viewing this well-produced DVD of the show it's perfectly obvious why. Natalie Dessay's skinny tomboy of a Marie combines a 110 per cent commitment to the physicality of her acting with a coloratura facility that is beyond criticism.”

BBC Music Magazine

“Laurent Pelly's production of Donizetti's opéra comique was one of the highlights of the Royal Opera's 2006-7 season, and viewing this well-produced DVD of the show it's perfectly obvious why. Natalie Dessay's skinny tomboy of a Marie combines a 110 per cent commitment to the physicality of her acting with a coloratura facility that is beyond criticism.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2008 *****

“Dessay… is such a natural clown, and it is wonderful to behold the way she used little bits of the coloratura to illustrate comic points. Bruno Campanella conducts the Royal Opera forces with a delicate understanding of all the requirements of Donizetti's often exquisite instrumental detail.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2008

“With Juan Diego Flórez's wide-eyed Tonio riding the high Cs with insouciance and Natalie Dessay's tomboyish, hyperactive 'girl of the regiment', Laurent Pelly's 'Fille' exudes a charm, wit and joie de vivre that have made it one of the most successful Donizetti productions in recent years. A treat.” Presto Classical, June 2014

“Dessay establishes her star quality from her very first entry and vivaciously dominates Donizetti's delightful opera throughout...In short she is an unforgettably enchanting Marie, unlikely to be surpassed...[Florez] also sings and acts superbly.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

“Reactions to Dawn French’s non-singing appearance as an ample and obdurate Duchess of Crackentorp will be, more than usual, a matter of taste...But there can surely be no argument about Dessay. As the regiment’s tomboy handmaiden Marie, pigtail curving, fist punching the air à la Nigel Kennedy, she shows incredible comic verve even when Donizetti’s music sends her voice skyrocketing. Singer, actress, clown: she’s all three. Theatrically, Flórez isn’t even near the same league...[but] the Peruvian star’s grin, sparkle and ringing tenor keep us happy enough. When the nine high Cs of Ah, mes amis! are hit dead in the centre with the ease of a shrug, you know you’re in safe hands. And Tonio suits exactly the singer’s still-boyish charm... It all makes you want to be in the stalls, seeing and breathing every moment.” The Times, 25th April 2008 ****

GGramophone Awards 2008

Finalist - DVD

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - June 2008

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2009

DVD of the Year

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Erato - 2564605519

(Blu-ray)

$19.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Szymanowski: King Roger & Symphony No. 4

Szymanowski: King Roger & Symphony No. 4


Szymanowski:

Król Roger

Thomas Hampson (King Roger), Elzieta Szmytka (Roxana), Philip Langridge (Edrisi), Ryszard Minkiewicz (Shepherd), Robert Gierlach (Archbishop), Jadwiga Rappé (Deaconess)

City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus

Symphony No. 4, Op. 60 (Sinfonia Concertante)

Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)


Simon Rattle’s luminous reading of Szymanowski’s philosophical opera King Roger won a Gramophone Award for opera on its first release in 2000. ‘A vibrantly dramatic account, revealing potent theatricality from the outset and sustaining its grip throughout’ (Gramophone), Rattle’s recording is coupled with Szymanowski’s colourful Fourth Symphony, with the solo piano part assuredly performed here by Leif Ove Andsnes.

GGramophone Awards 2000

Winner - Opera

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Warner Classics - 2564620051

(CD - 2 discs)

$8.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Puccini: La Bohème

Puccini: La Bohème


Angela Gheorghiu (Mimi), Ramón Vargas (Rodolfo), Ludovic Tézier (Marcello), Ainhoa Arteta (Musetta), Oren Gradus (Colline), Quinn Kelsey (Schaunard), Paul Plishka (Benoit/Alcindoro), Meredith Derr (Parpignol), Robert Maher (Sergente dei doganieri), Richard Pearson (Un doganiere)

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Nicola Luisotti

Angela Gheorghiu leads a magnificent cast in Franco Zeffirelli’s iconic production of Puccini’s La Bohème – filmed live at the Metropolitan Opera in Hi-Definition.

This grand, sumptuous production of Puccini’s timeless masterpiece is brought to you on DVD by EMI Classics, continuing its collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera and its hugely successful Metropolitan Opera : Live in High-Definition series.

La bohème, set in Paris around 1830, depicts a society fraught with conflict. Amid the turmoil, it is the love that blossoms between two young artists in a time that appears both bleak and turbulent that makes this story so very special.

Mimì and Rodolfo, sung by Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas respectively, charm as the young couple that fall in love while Marcello and Musetta are sung by Ludovic Tezier and Ainhoa Arteta. Gheorghiu, the leading Puccini soprano of our time, reprises the role of Mimì at the MET for the first time in twelve years. She sings the role with the beauty and perfection that is expected by an artist of her great stature and experience.

Following its debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1981, Franco Zeffirelli’s stunning production is as loved and as magnificent today as the day it was first staged over 27 years ago. This live broadcast is therefore the 347th time Zeffirelli’s Bohème has been performed making this, the most performed production in the MET’s history.

Conducting, Nicola Luisotti is described as “a man who knows what he is doing in this repertoire: the way he can control the orchestra to move with the singers' expressive tempo fluctuations is breathtaking, a quality which helps to show Puccini at his best.” - musicalcriticism.com

Only the hardest of hearts will remain untouched by this passionate and unforgettable story depicting the joys and sorrows of love and loss

Subtitles: Italian (sung), English, German, French, Spanish

“…the spectacular Zeffirelli staging, now rather showing its age. It still makes a good frame… for Ramón Vargas's engaging Rodolfo, sung with ardour, and Gheorghiu's fine-toned but rather grand Mimì.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2008 ****

“Zeffirelli's extraordinary set...is still unsurpassed...A triumph, and wonderfully enjoyable to watch and listen to.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

EMI Metropolitan Opera DVD - 2174179

(DVD Video)

$17.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment

Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment

Stage Director: Laurent Pelly


Natalie Dessay (Marie), Juan Diego Flórez (Tonio), Felicity Palmer (La Marquise de Birkenfeld), Alessandro Corbelli (Sulpice), Donald Maxwell (Hortensius), Dawn French (La Duchesse de Crackentorp)

Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Bruno Campanella

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian

Live from Covent Garden, Royal Opera House, London – January 2007

“Reactions to Dawn French’s non-singing appearance as an ample and obdurate Duchess of Crackentorp will be, more than usual, a matter of taste...But there can surely be no argument about Dessay. As the regiment’s tomboy handmaiden Marie, pigtail curving, fist punching the air à la Nigel Kennedy, she shows incredible comic verve even when Donizetti’s music sends her voice skyrocketing. Singer, actress, clown: she’s all three. Theatrically, Flórez isn’t even near the same league...[but] the Peruvian star’s grin, sparkle and ringing tenor keep us happy enough. When the nine high Cs of Ah, mes amis! are hit dead in the centre with the ease of a shrug, you know you’re in safe hands. And Tonio suits exactly the singer’s still-boyish charm... It all makes you want to be in the stalls, seeing and breathing every moment.” The Times, 25th April 2008 ****

“Dessay… is such a natural clown, and it is wonderful to behold the way she used little bits of the coloratura to illustrate comic points. Bruno Campanella conducts the Royal Opera forces with a delicate understanding of all the requirements of Donizetti's often exquisite instrumental detail.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2008

“Laurent Pelly's production of Donizetti's opéra comique was one of the highlights of the Royal Opera's 2006-7 season, and viewing this well-produced DVD of the show it's perfectly obvious why. Natalie Dessay's skinny tomboy of a Marie combines a 110 per cent commitment to the physicality of her acting with a coloratura facility that is beyond criticism.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2008 *****

“Dessay establishes her star quality from her very first entry and vivaciously dominates Donizetti's delightful opera throughout...In short she is an unforgettably enchanting Marie, unlikely to be surpassed...[Florez] also sings and acts superbly.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

“With Juan Diego Flórez's wide-eyed Tonio riding the high Cs with insouciance and Natalie Dessay's tomboyish, hyperactive 'girl of the regiment', Laurent Pelly's 'Fille' exudes a charm, wit and joie de vivre that have made it one of the most successful Donizetti productions in recent years. A treat.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2014

GGramophone Awards 2008

Finalist - DVD

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - June 2008

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2009

DVD of the Year

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Erato - 5190029

(DVD Video)

$16.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Janacek: Jenufa

Janacek: Jenufa


Elisabeth Söderström (Jenufa), Wieslav Ochman (Laca), Eva Randová (Kostelnicka), Petr Dvorsky (Steva), Lucia Popp (Karolka), Marie Mrázová (Stařenka Buryjovka), Václav Zitek (Mill Foreman), Dalibor Jedlicka (Mayor), Ivana Mixová (Mayor's Wife), Vera Soukupová (Herdswoman), Jindra Pokorná (Barena), Jana Jonásová (Jano)

Wiener Philharmoniker & Wiener Staatsopernchor, Sir Charles Mackerras

Recorded: Sofiensaal, Vienna, April 1982

“Despite stiff competition this vividly dramatic reading of the original score, the superb playing and Söderström's heart-breaking heroine confirm this is still the finest incarnation of Janácek's pastoral tragedy.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2007 *****

“Janácek's first operatic masterpiece is a towering work, blending searing intensity with heart-stopping lyricism.
It tells of Jenufa and the appalling treatment she receives as she's caught between the man she loves and another who finally comes to love her. But dominating the story is the Kostelnicka, a figure of enormous strength, pride and inner resource who rules Jenufa's life and ultimately kills her baby. Randová's characterisation of the role of the Kostelnicka is frightening in its intensity yet has a very human core. The two men are well cast and act as fine foils to Söderström's deeply impressive Jenufa. The Vienna Philharmonic plays beautifully and Mackerras directs magnificently. The recording is all one could wish for and the booklet is a mine of informed scholarship.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Decca - Originals - 4758227

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.50

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier

Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier


Felicity Lott (Marschallin), Anne Sofie von Otter (Octavian), Barbara Bonney (Sophie), Kurt Moll (Baron Ochs), Gottfried Hornik (Faninal), Heinz Zednik (Valzacchi), Anna Gonda (Annina), Keith Ikaia-Purdy (Italian Singer), Olivera Miljakovic (Marianne Leitmetzerin), Peter Wimberger (Polizeikommissar)

Chor & Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Carlos Kleiber

recorded live in 1994

“Kleiber gets some ravishing sounds from the Vienna Philharmonic, and his reading of the score is as Straussian and as perfect as you are likely to encounter in this world. The sound is very natural and lifelike” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

DG - 0730089

(DVD Video - 2 discs)

$23.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72

Beethoven: Fidelio, Op. 72


Sena Jurinac (Leonore), Jon Vickers (Florestan), Gottlob Frick (Rocco), Hans Hotter (Pizarro), Elsie Morison (Marzelline), John Dobson (Jaquino), Forbes Robinson (Fernando), Joseph Ward (First Prisoner), Victor Godfrey (Second Prisoner)

Covent Garden Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Otto Klemperer

Recorded 1961, mono

“Here is the first night of Otto Klemperer's legendary 1961 Fidelio, from the Royal Opera House, to challenge his noted studio set from a year later.This confirms the Achilles' heel of Walter Legge, EMI's leading mogul at the time, in his unwillingness to record live occasions, probably because he liked to have every aspect of a recording under his control. In this case there is more to it than that. Klemperer wanted, in the studio, to retain his Covent Garden cast; Legge preferred to make changes with two exceptions (Jon Vickers and Gottlob Frick). On the evidence of this magnificent issue, Klemperer was right. Not only are the singers, by and large, better equipped for their roles, but given the electricity of the occasion the conductor's interpretation is more vital (often faster tempi) and even more eloquent. For his own staging, Klemperer decided to include far more dialogue than is usually heard so that we have as much a play with music as an opera. The singers speak and act with such feeling and immediacy, most particularly Jurinac, Hotter and Frick, as to justify the added text. Add to that the dedication on all sides to Klemperer, and you can imagine why this was such a special occasion.
Compared to Christa Ludwig on Klemperer's studio version, Sena Jurinac creates a more believable and vulnerable Leonore. Her heartfelt sympathy with the role is evident in every line she speaks and sings, most notably in key phrases in her duet with Rocco near the end of Act 1 and the melodrama in Act 2. Once past some first night nerves evident in 'Abscheulicher!' she proves an ideal Leonore. Vickers, even in these early days of his career, is inclined to sentimentalise his Florestan with scoops and lachrymose effects, but all is forgiven when he provides the heroic thrust and inner feeling which the part demands and which is so notably absent from the Florestan on the recent Rattle version. Frick's Rocco is, if possible, even more admirable than on the studio set, expressing the jailor's terrible dilemma in the kind of incisive, warm tones few other basses on disc match.
It is incomprehensible that Legge preferred as Pizarro the too-comfortable sounding Walter Berry to Hans Hotter. Hotter, usually known for his noble roles, is here the epitome of evil, a threatening force of nature, his voice and diction full of menace so that he can be forgiven one or two wobbles in his aria. The young lovers are personably sung and enacted by Elsie Morison and John Dobson, and another Royal Opera stalwart, Forbes Robinson, is a dignified Don Fernando.
There was a fuss at the time about Klemperer's inclusion of Leonore III, but he fully justifies it by his electrifying interpretation. He insisted on placing the wind in the middle of the orchestra spectrum, and the balance is improved throughout as a result. His reading overall has the stature and sense of the work's philosophical basis which will be familiar to those who know his discs of the symphonies.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“the quality of the splendid (1962) Kingsway Hall recording is very apparent, with the voices beautifully caught in relation to the orchestra, all within a glowing ambience. The result is a triumph to match the unique incandescence and spiritual strength of the performance, superbly cast” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Testament - SBT21328

(CD - 2 discs)

$28.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bernstein: Candide

Bernstein: Candide


Jerry Hadley (Candide), June Anderson (Cunegonde), Adolph Green (Dr. Pangloss/Martin), Christa Ludwig (Old Lady), Nicolai Gedda (Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski), Della Jones (Panquette), Kurt Ollmann (Maximilian/Captain), John Treleaven (Inquisitor)

London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein

“an irreplaceable treasure...Jerry Hadley is an ideal Candide (what a good career as a Broadway lead he might have had in another era), June Anderson is a grand opera Cunegonde with high wattage power...The playing of the London Symphony is first-rate, far better than what you’d get from a Broadway pit orchestra.” Fanfare

“Jerry Hadley is, throughout, an affecting and eloquent Candide...the coloratura of June Anderson, Bernstein's Cunegonde, is incomparable...Ludwig's diction is legendary and her English is pretty good, albeit with a faint and obviously deliberate touch of exoticism about it.” Gramophone Magazine

Presto Greatest Recordings

1980s

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DG 2CD - 4744722

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.50

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Sullivan, A: HMS Pinafore

Sullivan, A: HMS Pinafore

with dialogue


Thomas Round (Ralph), Jean Hindmarsh (Josephine), Jeffrey Skitch (Captain Corcoran), Gillian Knight (Buttercup), Donald Adams (Dick Deadeye), Joyce Wright (Hebe), George Cook (Bill Bobstay), Eric Wilson-Hyde (Bob Becket)

D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, New Symphony Orchestra of London, Isidore Godfrey

Recorded in August 1959

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Decca British Music Collection - 4736382

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.50

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Verdi: Simon Boccanegra


“This famous recording has become a classic, a studio performance following a series of performances at La Scala in the Strehler staging. The close, slightly claustrophobic recording exactly mirrors the mood of nefarious activities and intrigues following Boccanegra's rise to be Doge of Genoa, he and his lovely daughter victims of the dark deeds round them. In his plebeian being, clement exercise of authority and warm, fatherly love, Simon Boccanegra is made for Cappuccilli, who, under Abbado's tutelage, sings it not only con amore but with exemplary, delicately tinted tone and unbelievably long-breathed phrasing.
As his daughter Amelia, Freni was just entering her quasi-spinto phase and expands her lyric voice easily into the greater demands of this more dramatic role. Similarly heavier duties hadn't yet tarnished the youthful ardour and sap in the tone of the 30-year-old Carreras. As the implacable Fiesco, Ghiaurov exudes vengeful command, and van Dam evil machinations as the villain Paolo.
Over all presides Abbado in what remains one of his greatest recordings, alert to every facet of the wondrous score, timing every scene, in an opera tricky to pace, to near-perfection, and bringing theatrical drama into the home. This set should be essential to any reputable collection of Verdi.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“one of the most beautiful Verdi sets ever made. The playing of the orchestra is brilliantly incisive as well as refined, so that the drama is underlined by extra sharpness of focus...with electrifying choral singing as well, this is a set to outshine even Abbado's superb Macbeth, and it is superbly transferred to CD.” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ****

Presto Greatest Recordings

1970s

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Building a Library

First Choice - April 2000

DG Originals - 4497522

(CD - 2 discs)

$19.75

(also available to download from $16.75)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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