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Classical - Released November 28, 2005 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Choc de Classica - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released April 7, 1998 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released September 15, 2004 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released April 17, 2006 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released April 1, 1997 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Year
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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 28, 2005 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

Benjamin Britten's own recordings of his operas must be considered authoritative, but any great art can yield insights from a variety of interpretations, and an objective performer may find felicities in a score of which the composer was hardly aware. Additionally, new recording technology can create a truer realization of the sound, and in vocal music, the quality of voices in subsequent productions can surpass the originals, so new recordings are always welcome. Virgin's reissue of its 1993 recording of A Midsummer Night's Dream, conducted by Richard Hickox is notable for how closely it resembles Britten's 1966 version in many aspects. The sound quality is somewhat fuller than Britten's, and orchestral details emerge with more clarity, but the engineers have gone overboard in duplicating the spatial relationships of a stage performance, so there is a distracting variability in the soloists' miking; some are very close and some are so distant as to be nearly inaudible. It may be an accurate replication of the theater experience, but more sonic consistency would have been less annoying. (Some decisions seem random; Lysander almost always sounds distant, and Demetrius, close. The miking is, however, very effective in capturing Puck's fleet leaps from near to far.) The soloists in the two versions are similar in quality, which is very high, as well as in interpretation. Britten's conducting of the diaphanous opening and the fairies' sound world has a magic that Hickox's does not, but Hickox's handling of the comic elements is generally more deft and funnier, except for the play of Pyramus and Thisbe, which Britten handles incomparably. Britten's reading of the score unfolds more organically, while Hickox is less successful in making the sound worlds of the fairies, the mortals, and the mechanicals flow together as an integrated whole. If a choice must be made, Britten's original remains the preferred version, but not by so large a margin as to disqualify Hickox's very reputable effort, which has much to recommend it. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1966 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 3, 1997 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1990 | Warner Classics

Wolfgang Sawallisch, conducting the Bayreuther Festspiele Chorus and Orchestra, leads a frenzied account of Strauss' most frenetic opera. There is plenty of orchestral turmoil and Sawallisch also allows the big expressive moments to blossom, but the cast doesn't quite click and ultimately this doesn't come across as an especially compelling version of the opera. Eva Marton makes a strong Elektra; she has a voice that's easily large enough for the role and she sings with real dramatic passion, but her interactions with the other characters don't have the charge the opera requires. Cheryl Studer sings beautifully, but she is a somewhat reserved Chrysothemis, and doesn't communicate the anxiety and uncertainty necessary to make her an adequate foil to the obsessive, single-minded Elektra. Bernd Weikl has similar issues; he sings well, but he lacks the dramatic intensity to make Orest sufficiently imposing. Marjana Lipovsek is a severely undercharacterized Klytämnestra and expresses little of the queen's paranoia and haunted demeanor. Hermann Winkler makes a bland and innocuous Aegisth. EMI's sound is full, present, and well balanced. For the listener looking for a truly chilling, hair-raising version, with fully realized relationships between the characters, listeners should turn to the 1968 Solti recording, with stunning performances by Birgit Nilsson as Elektra, Regina Resnik as Klytämnestra, Tom Krause as Orest, and Gerhard Stolze as Aegisth. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 11, 2010 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 3, 2003 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released October 19, 2009 | Warner Classics

Booklet
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Classical - Released October 19, 2009 | Warner Classics

Booklet
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Classical - Released November 28, 2005 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or