Monday, January 17, 2011

Awards 2010: Opera

Wagner: Götterdämmerung
Katarina Dalayman, et al; choirs; Hallé Orchestra/Mark Elder


As usual my worries that in the Opera category we might not have 5 contenders proved unfounded. Plenty of praise indeed for the winner: In BBC Music Magazine, Michael Scott Rohan described it as "a beautifully paced performance - measured, poetic but dynamic. The orchestra responds superbly... This rendition might please both Solti and Furtwängler admirers, and provides a keen alternative to either". "Right from the start", Colin Clarke said in Fanfare, "Mark Elder’s shaping of the Introduction sets the standard. The Hallé’s strings glow, painting a radiant yet primordial world. The recording itself is spacious yet detailed. The Hallé plays magnificently, easily the equal of its more illustrious rivals... This is a magnificent achievement, the jewel in the crown of the Hallé’s own record label". On Classics Today, Jed Distler said this performance "easily stands among the work's three or four finest on disc".
I suppose the fact that this and the other Wagner recording on the list are both live performances says something about the current state of opera recordings, as does the considerable obscurity of the other contenders (OK, Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos isn't that obscure, but this one's in English).

Wagner: Parsifal. Gary Lehman, et al; Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev [Mariinsky]
Sullivan: Ivanhoe. Toby Spence, et al; BBC National Orchestra of Wales/David Lloyd-Jones [Chandos]
Strauss: Ariadne on Naxos. Christine Brewer, et al; Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Richard Armstrong [Chandos]
Leoncavallo: I Medici. Plácido Domingo, et al;
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Alberto Veronesi [DG]

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