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Opera Extracts - Released February 23, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra - 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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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 29, 2014 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Opera - Released September 22, 2014 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Opera - Released September 22, 2014 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released August 29, 2014 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
American mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato has released several albums of lesser-known operatic repertory without a hint of the musty museum in sight. Her personality seems especially well-suited to this collection of arias from Naples in the early 19th century, a category that includes the young Rossini. DiDonato offers the superb Riedi al soglio from Zelmira (track 4), one of the underrated Rossini showpieces, and there is a pair of arias each from Donizetti and Bellini. The rest of the program is devoted to composers lesser-known (Pacini, Mercadante) or totally obscure (Michele Carafa, Carlo Valentini). The last named of these is represented by an aria from an opera about a sleepwalker called Il sonnambulo, and DiDonato's method involves substituting a new take for a familiar one on a particular theme. This is effective, and she makes the case for much of this material. Most important of all, she sounds great, and she's having fun. DiDonato has been a rising star among the opera cognoscenti for some years now, but it is likely that this release, with the combined marketing muscle of Erato and Warner Classics behind it, will help her become a major star. © TiVo

Opera Extracts - Released June 13, 2014 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra - 4 étoiles Classica
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released May 6, 2014 | CapriccioNR

Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released June 2, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released September 9, 2013 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
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Opera Extracts - Released October 13, 2014 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra
Cecilia Bartoli takes us on a journey leading from Italy to Russia which traces the development of opera in St. Petersburg. Through the actions of three powerful Tsarists, the previously non-existent musical life of the entire nation was awoken: Anna of Russia (Anna Ivanovna), Elizabeth I (Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great) and Catherine II (Sophia Augusta Frederica of Anhalt-Zerbst). In addition to attracting performers, they also attracted many Italian composers, the first of whom would be Francesco Araia, followed by Manfredini and Cimarosa, among others. The program of this album follows original themes adored by Bartoli herself, and includes some long lost treasures by other composers such as Hermann Friedrich Raupach - the first harpsichordist and composer of the court following the dismissal of Araia. It is by sifting through the archives of the Mariinsky Theatre that Cecilia Bartoli has gathered this anthology opera excerpts, most of which are previously unpublished.
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Art Songs, Mélodies & Lieder - Released February 1, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - Diamant d'Opéra - Hi-Res Audio
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Full Operas - Released January 3, 2012 | Ludi Musici

Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
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Classical - Released November 4, 2011 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica
This album of Baroque cantatas and chamber duets grew out of a 2007 performance of Stefano Landi's 1631 opera Il Sant'Alessio starring Philippe Jaroussky and Max Emanuel Cencic (among the eight countertenors in the cast) with William Christie conducting Les Arts Florissants. (An excellent DVD of the performance is available on Virgin Classics.) Christie was so impressed with the blend of Jaroussky and Cencic's voices that he brought them together to explore the vast and rarely performed repertoire of late 17th and early 18th century Italian duets for equal voices. The duetti da camera and chamber cantatas were a wildly, widely popular entertainment, especially during the tenures of Popes who forbade performances of opera; among the six composers represented on this disc, Bononcini wrote over 300 and Marcello 82, so the total number written and performed during this period must be staggering. Christie is absolutely correct: the blend of these two particular voices is ravishing. They have different characters and are easily distinguished from one another, but Jaroussky and Cencic both stand out among the very finest exemplars of the extraordinarily fine crop of counter tenors that has come to prominence since the turn of the century. Cencic's voice may be the purer and Jaroussky's the more colorful, but both have irreproachable technique; intelligent, nuanced musicianship; and together there is undeniable vocal chemistry. The music itself is delightful; the composers for the most part are not among the most renowned of the era, but they are masters of writing music that makes voices sound gorgeous together. This is largely pastoral music and the vocal lines are intertwined with beguiling sensuality. Each singer also performs a solo cantata. Christie, playing harpsichord or organ, leads a group of five players, made up of two violins, cello and theorbo/lute in lively, sensitive accompaniment. The sound is beautifully clean, warm, and balanced. Strongly recommended; a terrific find for fans of Baroque vocal performance of the highest order. It's easy to imagine that these performances could even make converts of listeners who have never been especially fond of countertenors. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released November 1, 2011 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Diamant d'Opéra - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released July 5, 2011 | CapriccioNR

Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra
For his third solo recital album German tenor Daniel Behle sings Schumann's Dichterliebe and eight Schubert songs. Behle has a sweet, light tenor ideal for Tamino (which he has recorded under René Jacobs) but he can also soar with thrilling romantic urgency, as he demonstrates beautifully in the more dramatically arching songs like "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai." His Dichterliebe is, above all, poetic. He and pianist Sveinung Bjelland bring a nuanced flexibility to the musical arc of each song and of the whole cycle. Behle performs the songs with deep feeling and an appealing intelligence. The cycle as a whole lies just a tad low to be entirely comfortable for him, though; the lowest notes in "Ich grolle nicht" and "Und wüssten's die Blümen," for instance, don't have the necessary substance and oomph, and the lack of a solid low register is apparent to some degree in many of the songs. As impressive as Behle is for the most part, the subtlety and expressive sensitivity of pianist Bjelland's performance could be perceived as stealing the show; although the balance between the voice and piano is good, the ear is inexorably drawn most strongly to Bjelland's spectacularly perceptive playing. His nuanced rhythmic flexibility and sense of pacing are superb. He excels in highlighting Schumann's sometimes astonishing harmonic progressions, which to modern ears no longer have the novelty they did when they were first heard. The Schubert songs have the same interpretive strengths and lower register difficulties as the Schumann. The inclusion of two songs using additional forces -- a men's chorus in "Nachthelle," and clarinet, played glowingly by Andy Miles, in "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen" -- is a treat. Capriccio's sound is clear, warm, and nicely ambient. This version of Dichterliebe won't displace the classic recorded performances, but Bjelland's stellar playing makes it one fans of the cycle should hear. © TiVo