Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Awards 2007: Opera

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Johannes Weisser et al; Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs
Harmonia Mundi

"For a wholly engrossing performance of this eternal masterpiece with swathes of cobweb blown away, this is a set that should be in every collection irrespective of how many other versions one already has" - Göran Forsling on MusicWeb. Richard Wigmore in Gramophone states that this is "among the liveliest and most enjoyable on offer. It is certainly one of the most brilliantly played." True, he warns that "Jacobs being Jacobs, there are controversial things here". But this is an awards celebration so let's not get bogged down in controversies. Robert Levine on Classics Today says "At this point, my recommendation for a complete recording favors this new Jacobs". This category, incidentally, was the worst for the major labels, something surely unthinkable a couple of decades ago: of the 37 recordings that made the final long list, just two were released by major labels (Donald Runnicles' Tristan on Warner, and an Andrea Bocelli-led Pagliacci on Decca). Another fun fact: Opera Rara recordings came 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th on the long list.

Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel. Jennifer Larmore et al; Philharmonia Orchestra/Charles Mackerras [Chandos]
Nono: Prometeo, Tragedia dell’ascolto. Various artists [Col Legno]
Mercadante: Maria Stuarda. Judith Howarth et al; Philharmonia Orchestra/Antonello Allemandi [Opera Rara]
Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. Lori Phillips et al; BBC Symphony Orchestra/Leon Botstein [Telarc]

No comments: