All of Richard Strauss' stage works inhabit a special world of their own and Arabella is certainly no exception. Set amid the flamboyant aristocracy of 19th-century Vienna, the story centres on Arabella whose family fortunes have come to depend on her managing a wealthy man.
Determined to marry for love rather than riches, she encounters a mysterious and foreign nobleman in the form of Mandryka and after several romps, the opera ends positively on a blissful note… Gerald Fenech
Lucrezia Borgia is not one of Donizetti's masterpieces, but it nonetheless can be enormously stageworthy. Despite a wonderful piece or two for tenor and baritone and the justly famous "Il segreto" for mezzo, most of the burden falls upon the shoulders of the heroine. As in Lucia, if there isn't a great Lucrezia, it's not a great Lucrezia… – Classics Today, Robert Levine
Filmed live at the Vienna State Opera in December 1983, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s elegant staging of Manon captures all the pathos of Massenet’s masterpiece. Adam Fischer leads an all-star cast featuring the incomparable Edita Gruberova in the title role and the brilliant Francisco Araiza as Le chevalier des Grieux. Massenet’s Manon was immensely successful from the outset, and it has remained a hit ever since its world premiere in Paris in 1884.
“A moving performance, well cast and with sympaethetic conducting from Carlo Rizzi…Shicoff is in splendid voice, phrasing and shaping his big set-pieces sensitively, and Edita Gruberova makes a moving Violetta.” (Penguin Guide)
Ariadne auf Naxos (Ariadne on Naxos) is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) wanted to move the audience of his operas to tears. And this is exactly what Beatrice di Tenda manages to do: it has great music and the story really touches the heart. In this production by Daniel Schmid, one can experience the stunning singers Edita Gruberova and Michael Volle in the main roles – with Marcello Viotti conducting the Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House. In Beatrice di Tenda, Bellini departs from the belcanto style, which he used in Norma, and explores a new way of musical expression, which brought to the fore a new warmth and different characteristics. The story is based on true events from the 15th century. It focuses on the impressive Beatrice di Tenda, who is wrongly accused by her husband to be unfaithful and is ultimately beheaded. The premiere of the opera was given at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice on 16 March 1873. Although Beatrice di Tenda is not Bellini’s most successful opera, the title role is a popular showpiece among sopranos. In this production, Beatrice is brilliantly interpreted by the “Queen of Belcanto”, Edita Gruberova.
How this opera grows in the affections. And how it strengthens the larger, ever-deepening appreciation not merely of Donizetti's work but of operatic conventions as such. I mean that the frequently derided forms of opera (the set pieces, aria-and-cabaletta and so forth) can increasingly be a source of pleasure and of perceived power in the writing. Here, for instance, part of the exhilaration arises out of the composer's skill in suiting the conventions to his dramatic and musical purposes. Elizabeth's first aria, meditatively hopeful yet anxious, fits the lyric-cantabile form; then the arrival of Talbot and Cecil with their opposing influences provokes the intensified turbulence of irresolution that makes dramatic sense out of the cabaletta. It is so with the duets and ensembles: they look like conventional set-pieces, but established form and specific material have been so well fitted that, with the musical inspiration working strongly (as it is here), you have opera not in its naive stage awaiting development towards freedom from form but, on the contrary, opera at the confident height of a period in its history when it was entirely true to itself.
The Hungarian trumpeter, Gábor Boldoczki (…) received the coveted Prix Davidoff of the Reemtsma-Foundation for his "technical perfection and fully-developed artistic virtuosity", followed by the highly esteemed Prix Young Artist of the Year in 2002. After previously being awarded the Echo Klassik as Best Newcomer in October 2003, Gábor Boldoczki was again honoured by the German Phono Academy in 2008 as Instrumentalist of the Year.