A timelessly classical Parsifal from the 1998 Bayreuth Festival in a mystically poetic staging that exerts an unbroken fascination not least as a result of its expressive lighting effects. Under the direction of the great Wagner conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli, the four main roles are taken by Poul Elming, Linda Watson, Falk Struckmann and Hans Sotin - one of the strongest line-ups in Bayreuth´s more recent history. "Giuseppe Sinopoli coaxed an outstanding performance from the Festival Orchestra and Chorus, throwing light on the elaborate score from an agreeable distance and investing the music with a meditatively flowing quality rather than the usual bombast" (Opernglas)
Elgar's two symphonies are good example of interpretations of music being stuck thanks to the strange British conservatism. If you listen to 10 recordings of these symphonies by 10 British conductors, they all sound more or less same in terms of interpretation: controlled, noble, beautiful Elgarian rubato and so on.
Judging simply by timings, Mintz and Sinopoli seem to have decided on a middle path in their approach to the first movement of this concerto: they take nearly a minute less over it than Mutter and Karajan (also on DG), about a minute and a half more than Perlman and Giulini on EMI. Using ears rather than a stopwatch, however, they seem to be giving by far the slowest performance of the movement that I have heard in years. It is a reading from which anything which might savour of soloistic display has been expunged, in which no note, even one of a flourish of semiquavers, is allowed to be 'merely' decorative. Mutter is fond of polishing every note like a jewel, too, but the very opening of the concerto in hers and Karajan's reading sounds positively sprightly set beside the newcomer. The moment Mutter enters the speed slackens markedly, but Karajan watchfully assures that the pulse returns with each tutti, and a sense of momentum is present throughout, even during the soloist's most wayward rhapsodizings.
Macbeth signifies the beginning of Verdi"s life-long preoccupation with William Shakespeare where he came close to emulating the master with his congenial composition of Othello and whom he even surpassed with Falstaff. Aware of the great musical as well as literary challenge, Verdi wrote the scenario himself and essentially concentrated the piece on three main protagonists: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the prophecy of the witches . . . During the first performance on 14 March 1847 in Florence the audience reacted with great displeasure. The piece only gradually established itself in the world of opera. Luca Ronconi’s new production of Verdi’s early masterpiece which was first performed in June 1987 at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin was received in Germany and around the world with great praise.
My first reaction was to wonder whether we had not passed saturation-point for recordings of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. Over a dozen are currently available, of which any one of those mentioned above should satisfy the needs of even an insatiable Mahlerian. All are performances on insight, executed in majestic style, and several are available on CD. Now comes Sinopoli to add to the pile. Remembering colleagues' reviews of his London performances of Mahler, I put this recording on the turntable with misgivings. But I have to report that I now gladly make room for this remarkable performance alongside my other favourites. It does not displace them, but it complements them.
Part of the art of conducting seems to me to lie in the ability to make the listener attend afresh to familiar music, to reveal new or different facets. This is what Sinopoli does here, and whatever may go on in the concert hall (I have not heard him there), in the recording studio, judging by this release, the most certainly does not miss or misjudge the spirit of the music.
Enigma Variations is the work that secured Elgars reputation as a composer of international significance. The 14 variations are all character portraits of friends, including his wife and the composer himself, the most famous being the ninth, the achingly nostalgic Nimrod. The Cello Concerto is Elgars last substantial work and has become not only one of his best loved, but also one of the most popular concertos ever written for the instrument.
"This is certainly one of the most stunning productions in a house famous for stunning productions." (Newark Star-Ledger) "Behrens sang admirably in her own exciting style, with the bright tone and house-filling penetration that we have come to expect of this artist". (The New York Times) " Domingo's Cavaradossi is a gorgeous piece of singing". (New York magazine)
This famous production of Manon Lescaut from The Royal Opera, recorded in 1983, features two of the biggest stars in opera, Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa, in their vocal prime. Placido Domingo’s performance of Des Grieux is considered to be unsurpassed. Conductor Guiseppe Sinopoli made his British operatic debut with this production. Puccini’s first masterpiece was rapturously received on its first night. It has his hallmark sensuality and also a youthful freshness, its untamed outpouring of melody just as passionate as his more famous operas, La Boheme, Tosca and Madame Butterfly. The role of Des Grieux is one of the most taxing in the tenor repertoire and Domingo’s passionate portrayal is one of his greatest achievements.
Conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli was one of the world's great conducting stars. He gave powerful, psychologically penetrating, even expressionist, performances that were often highly controversial… Giuseppe Sinopoli recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon. He died at the Deutsche Oper Berlin of a heart attack while conducting the third act of Aïda.