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Verdi: Luisa Miller

Verdi: Luisa Miller

Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano

Director: Arnaud Bernard / Sets: Alessandro Camera and Video director: Tiziano Mancini

Darina Takova (soprano), Giuseppe Sabbatini (tenor), Alexander Vinogradov (bass), Damiano Salerno (baritone), Ursula Ferri (contralto), Arutjun Kotchinian (bass), Luca Favaron (tenor) & Elisabetta Martorana (soprano)

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro La Fenice, Maurizio Benini

Subtitles: Italian and English. Filmed at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy, May 2006

“This mediocre opera needs stronger atmosphere than it gets in this strangely monumental staging for a domestic drama. The singing and conducting is strong, but it is more convincing to just listen than to watch.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2009 ****

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Naxos - 2110225-26

(DVD Video - 2 discs)


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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14 in G minor, Op. 135

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14 in G minor, Op. 135

At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, as ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity... a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly...’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. This is the penultimate release in Vasily Petrenko’s internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.

“in a performance as taut and unsparing as this, it has a power that transcends its nihilism. The bass, Alexander Vinogradov, is outstanding, and soprano Gal James also impresses with her mix of artlessness and allure.” Financial Times, 31st March 2014 *****

“Vinogradov is the genuine bass article but his pitches can be approximate...Orchestral double basses, though, have terrific impact.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 ***

“Petrenko gets appropriately dark and brooding textures from his strings and percussion ensemble, unleashing sounds of raw ferocity...[Vinogradov] has a magnificent dark bass and trenchant delivery of the text, an ideal voice for this music. At Naxos’s bargain price, this is unmissable.” Sunday Times, 20th April 2014

“this performance demonstrates Petrenko's and the Liverpool orchestra's fine grasp of the composer's evolving idiom, with the result that this is a deeply impressive issue all round... Gal James's timbre might be considered a shade (no more than that) light...but her intonation and diction are fine and her phrasing is excellent...Vinogradov is also most impressive.” International Record Review, May 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2014

Naxos Vasily Petrenko Shostakovich Symphonies - 8573132



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Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble Vol. 3

Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble Vol. 3


Sonata for solo clarinet


Romantic Music for oboe, harp and string quartet




Epitaph in Memory of Alban Berg


Sentimental Sequences for thirteen performers


Warum for fifteen performers

Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Alexander Vinogradov


Olympia - MKM232



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Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle

Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle

Starring Julia Lezhneva, Ottavio Dantone and accentus, this live recording brings a new and fresh light on Rossini's most famous choral work. The concert took place in Paris - Basilique de Saint-Denis, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the work, first performed in March 1864, in Paris. The amazing quality of the solo voices (Julia Lezhneva, Delphine Galou, Michael Spyres, Alexander Vinogradov) meets the dynamic direction of Ottavio Dantone and is supported by the vocal dexterity of accentus chamber choir.

“Because of its uncommon instrumental forces, the ‘chamber’ version of the 'Petite Messe', for two pianos and harmonium, was long regarded as the definitive version; the orchestration Rossini made in 1867-68 was viewed as merely an arrangement. In his recent critical edition, Davide Daolmi presents a different interpretation, which makes the orchestrated version the culmination of a long genetic process, begun in 1862, in which the ‘chamber’ version is merely an intermediate stage. The posthumous premiere of the definitive version of the 'Petite Messe', which was also the work’s first public performance, took place at the Théâtre-Italien on 28 February 1869, the anniversary of the composer’s birth, with Gabrielle Kraus (soprano), Marietta Alboni (contralto), Ernest Nicolas (tenor), and Luigi Agnesi. It was at once a triumph and a highly emotional occasion. A few years later, on 30 May 1876, Verdi was to conduct his 'Messa da requiem' in the same theatre, thus continuing the homage to the great Italian composer.” from the booklet notes

“the four soloists form a well-balanced quartet, with tenor Michael Spyres eager and dynamic, Alexander Vinogradov's bass grand and characteristically Russian in quality, and soprano Julia Lezhneva and her contralto colleague Delphine Galou individually prepossessing and jointly spellbinding.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015 ****

“Rossini's final 'sin of old age' here comes up fresh as paint. Dantone zips along, his long experience in early music giving the proceedings a zesty, characterful sheen. Soloists are excellent.” Classical Music, April 2015

“What distinguishes this latest recording is the fineness of the choral contribution. The 34-voice Accentus choir might almost be singing the original, so elegant is their (discreetly recorded) contribution. They are helped in this by the deftness with which the orchestrations are realised by Ottavio Dantone and his Paris chamber players.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

“Is there a more attractive or haunting opening Kyrie to be heard in all of music? The chugging string motif immediately grabs the attention and the excellent choral contribution of Accentus is heard straightaway to compelling effect … This was an ear-opener for me. The orchestral version has taken one of my favourite works onto a new level. This is a magnificent performance that deserves to be commercially successful.” MusicWeb International, 16th October 2015

“Ottavio Dantone has long been a champion of the work...You sense the shafts of sorrow behind the orchestral grace and choral refinement. Julia Lezhneva is the super-cool soprano, though the best singing comes from mezzo Delphine Galou, admirably noble yet restrained, above all in the deeply felt Agnus Dei.” The Guardian, 13th March 2015 ****

“[Dantone] rings an airy bounce to that fugue allied to the sort of mounting excitement that could have graced any of Rossini’s operatic finales. Four excellent soloists...considerably add to the dramatic impact.” The Telegraph, 21st March 2015 ****

Naive - V5409



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Verdi: Luisa Miller

Verdi: Luisa Miller

Giuseppe Sabbatini (Rodolfo), Darina Takova (Luisa), Alexander Vinogradov (Walter), Ursula Ferri (Federica), Arutjun Kotchinian (Wurm), Damiano Salerno (Miller)

Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Maurizio Benini

Luisa Miller is an opera that abounds in splendid moments of music and one that occupies a central role in the evolution of Verdi’s dramaturgy. The opera was staged on the evening of

8th December 1849. The performance was a resounding success and the opera continued to affirm itself in further performances. This cd plays the last production staged at Teatro La

Fenice di Venezia, last May 2006. Luisa Miller requires great technical gifts and vocal extension of its four leading roles. Luisa (Darina Takova) is portrayed now with delicate touches now

with bold strokes, in a manner that anticipates the great heroines of the popular trilogy. Rodolfo, here interpreted by Roberto Sabbatini, has a very difficult mid-high tessitura and the classical

boldness of the tenor is accompanied by openly elegiac accents that had rarely before been heard in the tenor roles created by Verdi.

Dynamic - CDS523

(CD - 2 discs)


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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 'Babi Yar'

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor, Op. 113 'Babi Yar'

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 13, Op. 113 in 1962. The climax of his ‘Russian period’ and, in its scoring for bass soloist, male chorus and orchestra, among the most Mussorgskian of his works. It attracted controversy through its settings of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (the ‘Russian Bob Dylan’ of his day) – not least the first movement, where the poet underlines the plight of Jews in Soviet society. The other movements are no less pertinent in their observations on the relationship between society and the individual. This is the final release in Vasily Petrenko’s internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.

“a performance crackling with electricity.” Financial Times, 27th September 2014

“The power this performance accumulates at the climaxes of the second and third movement is lacerating; the men’s choruses may not sound totally Russian, but Alexander Vinogradov is a superb bass soloist, and Vasily Petrenko is as good at gloomy introspection as he is at brittle confrontation” The Observer, 5th Observer 2014 *****

“Petrenko's nose for characterisation and his often startling attention to the dynamics of the piece make it feel not counterfeit at all but rather something he made earlier in his home city of St Petersburg...[Vinogradov] deploys his haunting head voice to poignant, almost unearthly effect.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“Choral shortcomings apart, this makes a fine epilogue to Vasily Petrenko's magnificent Liverpool Shostakovich cycle...Alexander Vinogradov is the finest bass interpreter here since Sergey Alexashkin, with a lithe freshness all his investigate Petrenko's unexpected subtlety and lightness.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2014 ****

“With Petrenko’s ear for detail and his instincts for symphonic shape and dramatic flux, this is a disc that stands comparison with the generally acknowledged classic 1962 recording by Kirill Kondrashin (recently re-released on Praga), and it does so with pungent emotional force.” The Telegraph, 10th November 2014 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

22nd September 2014

Presto Discs of 2014


Naxos Vasily Petrenko Shostakovich Symphonies - 8573218



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Arensky: Raffaello, etc.



Zarema's Aria from The Fountain of Bakhchisarai

Six Songs arr. Mnatsakanov

Marina Domashenko (mezzo-soprano), Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Alexander Vinogradov, Vsevolod Grivnov

Philharmonia of Russia & Spiritual Revival Choir of Russia, Constantine Orbelian Constantine Orbelian

Delos - DE3319



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Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of a Thousand'

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of a Thousand'

Live from Caracas

Manuela Uhl, Julianna Di Giacomo and Kiera Duffy (sopranos), Anna Larsson and Charlotte Hellekant (contraltos), Burkhard Fritz (tenor), Brian Mulligan (baritone), Alexander Vinogradov (bass)

Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela & Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel

This could well be the most ambitious recording of any Mahler symphony ever and a once-in-a-generation classical event and an unforgettable night for the city of Caracas.

This truly unique account of Mahler’s most extraordinary symphony is part of Gustavo Dudamel's planned Mahler cycle, this time featuring BOTH orchestras with which he is most closely associated - the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, who have both played acclaimed Mahler concerts with Maestro Dudamel in the US and in Venezuela. The performance also features an immense vocal force including a massed choir of young Venezuelan voices and a line-up of international soloists.

The performance was seen in hundreds of theaters in the United States and Canada, as well as those in Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. In Venezuela, it aired on the state television channel, Tves, to mass audiences.

This special DVD and Blu-Ray will be released to coincide with the Opening Concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra season in September 2012.

Extra Material: 17 minutes documentary on the DVD and Blu-Ray which gives a unique insight into this world-beating Mahler recording.


Picture Format: 16:9 · Filmed in High Definition

Subtitles: Latin, German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese

“an excellent rendition of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony...featuring a fine partnership of orchestras and a variable lineup of soloists...Of particular note is the huge choir, which included some 1,200 children from Venezuela’s remarkable system of youth choruses.” New York Times, 23rd November 2012

“This Symphony of much more than a thousand...maximises the advantages of group spirit and minimises the problems of monstrosity. The beginning, middle and end of Mahler's first movement hymn to the creator spirit blaze with unsurpassable, open-toned fervour...I guess it's the fervent-toned Simon Bolivar strings who bring true intensity to the tremolos and heart to the soarings.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 ****

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - March 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

DG - 0734884

(DVD Video)


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Opera Gala: 35th Anniversary

Opera Gala: 35th Anniversary

A Tribute to Delos Founder Amelia S. Haygood)


Ma Fornarina ove sara? L'attendo come il fior la luce! (from Raphael, Op. 37)


Merknet svyet dnevnoy (from Prince Igor)


Core 'ngrato


Acerba volutta (from Adriana Lecouvreur)


Alexander's Feast, HWV 75, Part I: The Prince, unable to conceal his pain

Venti turbini (Rinaldo)


Si può? (from I Pagliacci)


In questa reggia (from Turandot)


Spring torrents, Op. 14 No.11

Ves tabor spit (from Aleko)

Rimsky Korsakov:

Solynshko nizko, vecher uzh blisko (The sun is low, the evening is approaching) (from May Night)


Vy tak pechalny, dorogaya (from The Queen of Spades)


Il balen del suo sorriso (from Il Trovatore)


Sentimental Melody (from Forest of the Amazon)

Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone), Marina Domashenko (mezzo-soprano), Olga Guryakova (soprano), Elena Prokina (soprano), Ewa Podles (contralto), Daniil Shtoda (tenor), Renee Fleming (soprano), Arleen Auger (soprano), Alexander Vinogradov (bass), Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor), Tatiana Pavlovskaya (soprano), Vassily Gerello (baritone), Alessandra Marc (soprano)

Russia Philharmonia, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Russia Spiritual Revival Choir, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Chorus, Constantine Orbelian, Alfred Heller, Gerard Schwarz, Mario Bernardi, Andrew Litton

Delos - DE3395



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Tchaikovsky: Iolanta

Tchaikovsky: Iolanta

Olessa Golovneva (Iolanta), Alexander Vinogradov (René), Andrei Bondarenko (Robert), Dmytro Popov (Vaudémont), Vladislav Sulimsky (Ibn-Hakia), John Heuzenroeder (Alméric), Marc-Olivier Oetterli (Bertrand), Dalia Schaechter (Marta), Justyna Samborska, Marta Wryk (Laura)

Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne, Dmitrij Kitajenko

The world premieres of Iolanta and The Nutcracker took place on 18 December 1892 at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. “The execution of both,” wrote the composer to his brother Anatoly the next day, “was magnificent, and that of the ballet perhaps too magnificent – its brilliance made one’s eyes tired.” Gustav Mahler conducted the first performance of the one-act opera outside Russia on 3 January 1893 in Hamburg and also directed the Viennese premiere of Iolanta on 22 March 1900.

“as a young innocent, Golovneva's Iolanta is preferable to the fuller, darker soprano of Netrebko…Vinogradov's soft-grained bass is rock-solid and on magnificent form…Popov is in mellifluous, heady voice as Vaudémont…a top-drawer recording of an increasingly significant opera.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2015

Oehms - OC963

(CD - 2 discs)


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