An enjoyable Opera Australia production of Puccini’s La Boheme is presented. The young singers in the cast look their parts and deliver some fine singing.
Cyrano de Bergerac, a rarely performed 20th century opera, is a star vehicle for the primo tenore, Placido Domingo. In spite of an uninspired score, and issues with videography and sound, it is worth a watch to see one of the operatic legends of our time, making the most of the hero with the large nose.
This is an over-the-top highly modern realization, a la MTV, of Berlioz’s first opera Benvenuto Cellini from the 2007 Salzburg Festival. It is visually arresting, has consistently high performance values, and, with a few reservations, is 2 hours of nonstop fun.
Antoni Wit and his Warsaw forces give a stellar performance of Mahler’s imposing Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand.” Aided by HD surround sound, this disc should be considered essential listening for veteran and novice Mahler fans.
Naxos has issued an HD surround sound version of Vivaldi’s popular The Four Seasons, featuring Cho-Liang Lin and the Sejong chamber orchestra. The sonics are excellent but the tempi are a little brisk for my taste.
A centennial year recording of some of Chopin’s most important works are conveyed convincingly by Eldar Nebolsin and the Warsaw Philharmonic. The performance is derailed by a muddy acoustic.
Chopin Piano Concerto 1: Nebolsin and the Warsovians offer a new official edition
version of Chopin’s first piano concerto. The generally excellent performances are
betrayed by less than stellar sonics.
Marin Alsop and her Baltimore Symphony Orchestra continue their Dvorak cycle with excellent accounts of Symphonies 6 & 9 in this audio-only Blu-Ray disc.
Two of Dvorak’s last symphonies, numbers 7 and 8, are performed by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. While both accounts provide pleasure, I was particularly struck by the effective musical direction of the seventh symphony and a bit let down by the finale of the eighth.
John Corigliano’s Circus Maximus and Gazebo Dances are given their premiere recording by Jerry Junkin and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble. Circus Maximus, the major work, is given spectacular high-resolution sound while the surround sound is used judiciously to great effect.