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Blessed Spirit: A Gluck Retrospective
The Classical Opera Company was founded in 1997 by conductor Ian Page. It specialises in the music of Mozart and his contemporaries, performing with its own period-instrument orchestra, and is emerging as one of Britain’s most exciting and highly regarded young arts organisations. It has attracted considerable critical and public acclaim, not only for the high quality of its performances but also for its imaginative programming and, in particular, its ability to discover and nurture outstanding young singers.
“The Classical Opera Company feel like a true ensemble, and their generous acting and musicianship made the evening a joy from start to finish.” The Independent on Sunday
“My personal pick for giving this year is the Classical Opera Company's glorious The A-Z of Mozart Opera, which is fresh, diverse, insightful and illuminating (everything that such recital anthologies usually fail to be).” David Vickers, Gramophone
“Ian Page's subtle survey explores the development of certain textures...Ailish Tynan, Sophie Bevan and Anna Stéphany blend beautifully in the brief trio from Paride ed Elena...the playing is consistently incisive.” The Independent, 23rd May 2010
“In January, Ian Page’s young British troupe ransacked the [Gluck] treasure house with delightful results in a Wigmore Hall concert. And here it is, with Sophie Bevan wonderfully anguished in her aria from Alceste, Anna Stéphany darkly dramatic...[Page's group are] incisively suave.” The Times, 26th June 2010
“...there is some first-rate dramatic music here...Sophie Bevan sings the Tito excerpt with such intensity as to make one almost sympathise with Sesto...'Che Faro' [is] taken at a cracking pace by Ian Page and sung with desperate urgency by Anna Stephany...This is a terrific, unmissable disc.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2010
“The three singers here all make a good showing, Ailish Tynan with her direct engagement with recitative...and as a sentient, fearful Euridice...[Stéphany] scores highly as Clytemnestra in Iphigénie en Aulide, her smoky timbre encompassing the anger of Agamemnon's wife...Sophie Bevan cuts a charmingly determined figure as Colette” BBC Music Magazine, September 2010 ****
“Conductor, instrumentalists and singers alike, mirroring Gluck's reformist aims from the 1760s onwards, make sounds the servant of the sense, with stylish, eloquent and dramatic music-making of the highest order” International Record Review, September 2010
“[Gluck's] music is fiery. Ian Page understands this, as his live recording of excerpts from a dozen operas bears witness. His soloists deliver the long-breathed melodic lines expressively, and Anna Stéphany is a strong Clytemnestra.” Sunday Times, 23rd January 2011 ***
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Arias for Anna de Amicis
This pre-classical programme is dedicated to Anna de Amicis, the famous soprano who first created the role of Giunia in Mozart's Lucio Silla. Besides works by the young Mozart the programme comprises arias by N. Jommelli, JC Bach, C.W. Gluck and others.
The Romanian soprano Teodora Gheorghiu studied with Niculina Mirea and Gheorghe Rosu in Romania and has won several prizes including the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2004. Following studies with Susanna Eken and José van Dam at the Queen Elisabeth Chapelle Musicale in Belgium, she made her debut with the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest singing the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte.
Teodora Gheorghiu made her debut at the venerable Vienna State Opera in 2004 where she was particularly commended for her performances of Adele (Die Fledermaus), The Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Nannetta (Falstaff), Fiakermilli (Arabella), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), Elvira (L’Italiana in Algeri), Sophie (Werther) et Eudoxie (La Juive).
Outside the opera house, her career has equally flourished in recital and concert appearances. Some of her most noted collaborations have been with Paul Goodwin conducting the Academy of Ancient Music in London and Sigiswald Kujiken conducting La petite Bande.
“It's stylishly presented and excellently accompanied by the Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset; a slight letdown, though, comes with young Gheorghiu hersel. Her appealingly bright, agile soprano lacks polish...For the music itself, the disc is worth exploring, even if its interpretation tends to be undercooked.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2012 ***
“[Gheorghiu] certainly has the requisite glittering coloratura technique. In accompanied recitatives, especially those for Giunia...Gheorghiu hints at the fiery temperament for which her predecessor was famed...In sum, a recital of mixed pleasures, longer on virtuoso brilliance than on imagination and involvement.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2012
“The recital is a tour de force, extremely demanding of Teodora Gheorghiu's technique...In the excellent recording, there is no suggestion of shrillness or thinness of tone as she takes on high Cs or a top D. Gheorghiu is more than a soubrette, for in its middle notes her voice has a warmth and a fullness...Her singing on this CD should spread her name, for there is some stunning vocalism.” International Record Review, January 2012
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