Albums

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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 23 november 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or / Arte - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
This new Vivaldi album marks a double anniversary, the thirty-year anniversary of the close collaboration between Cecilia Bartoli and the famous English label Decca, and the twenty-year anniversary of the very successful first Vivaldian opus. This time leaving behind Giovanni Antonini and his Il Giardino Armonico ensemble, Cecilia Bartoli has selected French musicians well versed in Vivaldi’s music, as if to demonstrate the universal nature of the Red Priest’s compositions. In fact, Jean-Christophe Spinosi and his Ensemble Matheus have distinguished themselves with Vivaldi’s instrumental music since their early days. They started off their collaboration with five concerts, dedicated of course to the Venetian composer, in Munich, Prague, Baden-Baden and Versailles. For their first recording together they selected ten opera titles, nine of which weren’t featured on the 1999 album. The plethora of Vivaldi operas provides an endless supply to recitalists who can easily put together, as is the case here, an extremely lively programme featuring the most beautiful gems of an extraordinarily expansive composer whose melodic liveliness has been a constantly fascinating topic. This release is also beautiful in itslef (accessible on your Qobuz account), as it features a photo book containing beautiful portraits of Cecila Bartoli taken by Roman photographer Viviane Purdom, who has devoted her life to masterfully shooting great classical musicians. Happy anniversary indeed! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 7 juni 2019 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 7 juni 2019 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 22 september 2014 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 2 maart 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte - Qobuzism - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Nowadays it might seem rather strange to describe a composer as a “singing master”, but, during the eighteenth century, this was not the case at all. In Italy, almost every composer worthy of the name wrote opere serie (Porpora wrote at least forty- ve): serious opera was the dominant musical genre, glorifying the human voice above everything else. It was the maker or breaker of musical reputations, with its nest singers the rst superstars of music. Therefore composers, though generally eclipsed by the fame of their leading men and women, needed to understand the human voice and all its remarkable capabilities, both technical and histrionic, in order to be able to exploit the possibilities of the operatic form at a time when those “machines made for singing”, the castrati, had brought the vocal art to a pitch of perfection never known before, nor equalled since. Though this recording is bringing Porpora’s name to public attention again on the 250th anniversary of his death, his fame as a singing teacher has probably obscured, until recently, his remarkable qualities as a composer, quite simply because two of the most famous castrati were among his many pupils, namely Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli, whom Porpora once called “the nest singer in Europe”, also famed for his amorous antics and arrogance on- and off-stage, and the even more celebrated Carlo Broschi, who, under his stage name of Farinelli, amazed audiences and set hearts a- utter for fteen years throughout Europe, before being called to Spain to heal a crazed King by the power of his voice. Max Cencic remarks: “Porpora was a severe teacher, I think, maybe almost sadistic in his demands — you need 120% control of breath, brain and voice”. Legend indeed has it that he taught Caffarelli one page of exercises, and those alone, for six years. The formal alternation of aria and recitative in opera seria conceals a great range of emotional expression, that varietas that Erasmus famously described as “so powerful in every sphere that there is absolutely nothing, however brilliant, which is not dimmed if not commended by variety”. In such forms as the orid aria di bravura or the lyrical aria di sostenuto, the composer’s fantasy only provided a framework for the singer to embroider: the performer’s skill in ornamentation and other emotional devices was of paramount importance. Porpora’s many years of both teaching and composing experience made him, in Max Cencic’s opinion, “one of the top ten composers of Italian Baroque opera. I chose the arias for this recording almost by instinct, by what ‘felt right’. There is no way one can encompass a composer of such quality in one album, and each piece is a treasure in its own right. Though technical display is everywhere — leaps, rapid scales, trills, long phrases — Porpora’s special and utterly captivating melodic gift always shines through.” The arias are all taken from works composed at the height of Porpora’s fame, from Ezio (Venice 1728; “Se tu la reggi al volo” is a semiquaver spectacular) to Filandro (Dresden 1747, with a ravishing siciliano in “Ove l’erbetta tenera, e molle”), including three of the operas he composed for London during the 1730s, in direct competition with Handel (Arianna in Nasso 1733, Enea nel Lazio 1734 — real reworks here in “Chi vuol salva” — and I genia in Aulide 1735). The Teatro San Carlo in Naples, perhaps the most famous of all opera houses at that time, saw the premiere of Il trionfo di Camilla in 1740, and the two arias recorded here show Porpora at his best: the music of “Va per le vene il sangue” evocatively matches its darkly suggestive text, while “Torcere il corso all’onde” combines rapid- re coloratura with elegance of line. In the three arias from Carlo il Calvo (Teatro delle Dame, Rome 1738) the singer is similarly called to match Porpora’s varietas with his own: from the scurrying oriture of “So che tiranno io sono” to the high-lying phrases of “Se rea ti vuole il cielo”, and the beguilingly hypnotic sostenuto of “Quando s’oscura il cielo”. Porpora’s orchestral writing is also remarkably varied, all the more so in that he generally uses only strings, nowhere better than in the elaborate lines of “Torbido intorno al core” from Meride e Selinunte (Venice 1726), where voice and violins entwine in an elaborate and emotionally suggestive web of divisions. However, sometimes he pulls out all the sonority stops, as in the martial “Destrier, che all’armi usato” where, at the rst performance in the Teatro Regio, Turin in 1731 trumpets and horns vied with the unmatchable power of the voice of Farinelli. As Max Cencic has said: “How can we emulate the great castrati? That is hard to pin down, but these voices were the very soul of Porpora’s music.” -Nicholas Clapton © 2018 – Decca Group Limited
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 16 mei 2014 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Choc de Classica
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 15 februari 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica
Recorded in July 2018 at “Studio” - a new high-tech venue in the outskirts of Paris - this album (which was built entirely on Judith Fuchs' own idea) is dedicated to orphaned women in 19th century opera, between 1815 and 1850, who were struggling to escape the miserable conditions which they found themselves in. Following her huge success in 2018 in Rossini's Count Ory at the Opéra-Comique de Paris, Julie Fuchs was keen to further explore this repertoire. Conducted by Enrique Mazzola (a real “opera maestro”) the Orchestre National d'Île-de-France is dazzling in these operatic excerpts by Donizetti and Rossini, as well as - and most importantly – those by Pacini, Raimondi, Fioravanti, Berlioz, Barbieri and Meyerbeer. This album presents another opportunity for listeners to be won over by Fuchs’ sumptuous voice. The young French lyrical soprano first made a name for herself at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, before joining the opera ensemble at the Zurich Opera House in 2013. Further successes followed in Salzburg, Vienna and Paris as well as at the Teatro Real in Madrid. This incredibly versatile repertoire jumps from Mozart to Barbara, Cole Porter, George Crumb and Björk. Julie Fuchs knows no musical boundaries, performing with equal ease in opera as she does in concert next to the young pianist Alphonse Cemin. On Mademoiselle she sings in Italian, French and Spanish, journeying through romantic Bel Canto with a wonderfully original touch and revealing all aspects of her agile, sensual voice. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 23 februari 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
With his ensemble Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon has written the listing for this album in the form of a "pastiche" of a Mass for the Dead, a Requiem both sacred and profane. While it is a long way from having all the defining traits, it does possess all the outlines: Introit, Kyrie, Gradual, Sequence, Offertory, In Paradisum... The idea came about after a recent discovery, in the Bibliothèque Nationale of an anonymous requiem mass from the 18th century, in which the writer constructed a "parody" based on musical extracts from Castor and Pollux and the Fêtes de Paphos by Jean-Philippe Rameau. Note that the term "parody" doesn't necessarily imply satire or mockery: it refers to the practice of taking up older music and setting new words to it. This fusion of sacred music (the mass) and profane music (lyrical tragedy), a common practice during the Enlightenment, was a procedure that Pichon wanted to take up. In French society at the time, when Catholicism was the norm, where the political system was monarchical rule by divine right, the representation of ancient pagan Hell on theatrical stages seemed to betray a fascination in the beliefs of the ancients. And so this programme melds together pagan fable with a Christian imaginary, where Hell takes on different faces. It is the place of unjust and eternal torment, a place of privation where a couple is separated, one half kept in Hades. But, in the lyrical tragedy, Hell is also a place of perdition: obscure forces unleashed in Sabbath rites, a Satanic vision which unearths the darkest depths of the human soul... Stéphane Degout is the author of this tragedy, bringing together such varied characters as Phaedra, Pluto, and the Parcae. The composers whose music is put to use are Rameau and Gluck, with a single borrowing from Rebel: it would have been a shame not to mention his singular Chaos (taken from Éléments), which starts with a dissonant chord containing the seven notes of the scale of D minor. © SM/Qobuz
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 5 oktober 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Diapason d'or - Qobuzism
For her first recital with orchestra album, young Franco-Danish soprano Elsa Dreisig had the idea of presenting five pairs of songs in which each part of the pair is ambiguously related to the other, like a mirror’s reflection. This process leads to striking juxtapositions of different musical styles, dramatic moments, historical periods and contrasting voices; classicism and romanticism complement each other, terror answers joy, and the result is a view of the feminine soul all its facets. The first pairing involves two mirrors: the one in which Marguerite from Gounod's Faust admires herself and Thaïs's mirror in Massenet's opera (Thaïs). There follows Puccini's vision of Manon Lescaut, and then Manon (sans Lescaut) as imagined by Massenet. Following this we have Juliette, this is a rather daring pairing of the largely-forgotten early romantic German composer Daniel Steibelt with Gounod's Juliette. Elsa Dreisig then moves onto the two famous Figaros, one from Rossini's Barber (Rosina) and the other from Mozart's Marriage, with the gentle tones of the Countess. Finally, and more daring still, we end with the Salome of the Hérodiade by Massenet, a tender young woman who is not after anyone's head; and then Strauss's Salome, with her sanguinary madness. Probably in order to avoid the temptation of comparisons with other recordings, our singer has opted for the 1907 French version – note that this work by Oscar Wilde was itself originally written in French. This is the most extraordinary selection that one could hope for in a first recording from any artist, all accompanied by the Montpelier Orchestra, conducted by Michael Schønwandt. © SM/Qobuz
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 12 december 2006 | Warner Classics International

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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 1 maart 2006 | Chandos

Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 12 januari 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen Gramophone Editor's Choice - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik - 5 étoiles de Classica
This album isn't just for fans of the counter-tenor's voice - Franco Fagiolo being one of the stars in the market - but also for lovers of the airs from Handel’s operas, and any serious baroque orchestra enthusiast, the orchestra here being Il Pomo d'Oro. When you unite all these elements together in a recording, the result is spectacular. This record includes the thrills of big hits like "Ombra mai fu" from Serse or "Cara sposa" from Rinaldo, as well as a number of no-less-interesting rarities, which have the advantage of shining a light on the lesser played works of the caro Sassone. After all, Ariodante, Partenope, Imeneo and Oreste (the album covers the composer's entire period of lyrical creativity) all have some great moments, and completely original airs, often loaded with the instrumental surprises that Handel arranged so well. And so, fans, if all three of the big elements are there - or if you are just curious to hear a very well made record - get stuck in! © SM/Qobuz
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 26 oktober 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 étoiles de Classica
Puccini love duets galore! That’s what the Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and the tenor Roberto Alagna offer up here. Both are regulars on the world's greatest stages and their voices seem to have been tailor-made for this repertoire. The heroines - Mimì, Minnie, Tosca, Giorgetta, Butterfly and Manon - represent the absolute woman with a femininity that fascinates the composer, attracting him, inspiring him and making him fall in love. The male characters are undoubtedly a reflection of his own personality. Rodolfo, Mario and Calaf too, who is so besotted with Turandot that he risks his life for her: man, lover, seducer, villain, deceiver, poet, artist, knight or traitor... No doubt Roberto Alagna sees himself in these characters as well. Their traits are similar from one opera to the next, but Puccini knew how to make each vocal idiom wonderfully unique. © SM/Qobuz
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 1 januari 2007 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Onderscheidingen Choc du Monde de la Musique - Diapason d'or / Arte - RTL d'Or - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 3 februari 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 21 februari 2006 | Naive

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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 10 januari 2011 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 29 september 2014 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
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Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 1 januari 1991 | Warner Classics International

Booklet
€ 6,99

Operafragmenten - Verschenen op 30 oktober 2000 | Warner Classics International

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Opera in het magazine