This imaginative staging of Berlioz's dramatic symphony for chorus, soloists and orchestra relies heavily on the moving of massed choirs across a large stage. It has vivid lighting effects–rather too many of them using strobes–and monolithic multi-purpose sets, in particular a revolving glass drum which functions both as cinema screen and rostrum for singers, so that the final ride to Hell, for example, is sung by Mephistopheles and Faust above a cavalcade of projected horses, like the inside of a zoetrope. The three main soloists have voices on a scale that can compete with these flashy production values–White and Kasarova, in particular, sing at a level of intensity that would swamp anything less; the climactic seduction trio has rarely been sung so well or with such an overpoweringly polymorphous eroticism. Cambreling marshals his forces effectively, giving full rein to the work's showstoppers like the "Hungarian March" but not neglecting the subtler less kinetic Gluckian side of Berlioz's vocal writing. (Roz Kaveney)
Limited fourteen CD set. The Complete Collection of Operatic Recital Albums brings together for the first time all the recital and duet albums which Leontyne Price recorded between 1960 and 1982. Starting with her operatic d‚but with arias, it features not only her legendary Scenes from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, but also the famous complete Prima Donna Collection consisting of five volumes released between 1966 and 1980.
This recital, Héroïque, is tenor Bryan Hymel’s first studio recording for Warner Classics. Its imaginatively conceived programme showcases him in repertoire that he has made his own on stages such as the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden and the Bavarian State Opera: opera in French that demands a thrilling heroism in both voice and style – and a top register of outstanding brilliance, since the album offers a grand total of 19 top C’s.
Don’t judge this album from the first aria – the Puccini arias are the weakest here. The French repertoire finds Kaufmann on excellent form. The most encouraging thing about him is his musical intelligence – a genuine soft high note to crown his Carmen Flower Song – and elsewhere he strives to serve the music. The voice can’t quite do all he asks yet, but it’s full of brooding, Vinay-like darkness.
Leslie Howard's recordings of Liszt s complete piano music, on 99 CDs, is one of the monumental achievements in the history of recorded music. Remarkable as much for its musicological research and scholarly rigour as for Howard's Herculean piano playing, this survey remains invaluable to serious lovers of Liszt. Every known note of Liszt's piano music has been recorded and is included here: Leslie Howard's 57 original volumes plus the further 3 supplements. GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the world s largest recording series by a solo artist.