Annalisa Stroppa, Lise Davidsen, Luciano Pavarotti & Yannick Nézet-Séguin Lead New CD/DVD ReleasesBy Francisco Salazar
Welcome back for this week’s look at the latest CD and DVD releases in the opera world.
This week you get albums from two very famous singers, a soundtrack to one of this year’s Oscar contenders, and two complete opera recordings you cannot miss.
Deutsche Grammophon releases the official soundtrack to Bradley Cooper’s new film “Maestro.”
The recording features the London Symphony Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The recording includes Rosa Feola and Isabel Leonard performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 as well as music by Bernstein including excerpts from “West Side Story,” “Candide,” “On the Town,” “Mass,” Chichester Psalms and Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3. It also includes music by Beethoven, Mahler, Schumann, and Walton.
Christmas From Norway
Lise Davidsen is set to release a “Christmas From Norway” via Decca Classics on Nov. 10, 2023.
The new album is being described as a “delightful and personally selected collection” of traditional Norwegian Christmas music and classic festive favorites.
For this album, the soprano draws inspiration from the classic albums of iconic predecessors on Decca Classics, such as Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson. The album features arrangements drawn from the label’s archive, originally made for such legendary singers as Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, and Renée Fleming.
Davidsen is set to be accompanied by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Soloists’ Choir, and National Opera Children’s Choir.
Forget this Night
The Dutch label 7 Mountain Records releases “Forget This Night,” a new album by Edison-award-winning duo Katharine Dain and Sam Armstrong featuring music by Lili Boulanger, Karol Szymanowski, and Grażyna Bacewicz.
In a statement, Katharine Dain said, “Our program of passionate, pensive French and Polish songs circles a universal human question: how fully do we allow ourselves to open and blossom despite the knowledge that our bodies, desires, and relationships are ephemeral? Can we find meaning in fragile moments of love and beauty—although they pass, as they pass, because they pass? How did these composers, writing amid the political upheaval of Europe at the crossroads of two world wars, celebrate what is fleeting and cope with inevitable loss?”
Christmas With Pavarotti
Decca Classics presents Luciano Pavarotti, with his most popular performances of Christmas classics on CD and color LP.
Arvo Pärt: Tractus
Tractus work by Arvo Pärt emphasizes the compositions that blend the timbres of string orchestra and choir. The new recording features the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under Tõnu Kaljuste’s direction.
The Tractus album includes a booklet with all sung texts and liner notes by Wolfgang Sandner (in German), and by Kai Kutman (in English).
Unholy Sonnets is an album that features a collection of songs by German-born American Samuel Adler. The recording features Joseph Evans, Rebecca Karpoff, Freda Herseth, Cary Lewis, and Atlanta Winds.
The Crossing, releases its 31st studio album featuring composer David Shapiro’s piece, a virtuosic and spectacular concert-length work based primarily on the writings of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
In a statement David Shapiro said, “‘Sumptuous Planet’ is a celebration of belief within a scientific view of life and the universe. It is constructed along the lines of a Christian mass, though a major textual source is a devout atheist, biologist Richard Dawkins. The work begins with a setting of physicist Richard Feynman’s lament that ‘The value of science remains unsung by singers. This is not yet a scientific age.’ From there, the piece proceeds to glorify the world as it really is, unadorned by myths or miracle stories. In other words, before the piece begins, we do not yet live in a scientific age. By the end, we do.”
The GRAMMY® Award-winning National Children’s Chorus is set to release Illumine, an album of holiday music from different countries and cultures around the world. Lexicon Classics releases the album which includes students, ages 10-17.
The album includes traditional Spanish, Hebrew, Nigerian, and German songs, and four NCC commissions in Filipino, Hindi, Hebrew, and Spanish.
The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and conductor Carlo Montanaro present a new recording of “Tosca.” The cast includes Melody Moore (Tosca), Ștefan Pop (Cavaradossi), and Lester Lynch (Scarpia).
Kevin Short (Angelotti), Alexander Köpeczi (Un Sagrestano), Colin Judson (Spoletta), Georg Streuber (Sciarrone), Axel Scheidig (Un Carceriere), and Lean Miray Yüksel (Un Pastore) round out the cast. Pentatone releases the album which OperaWire called “a very suitable introduction to Puccini and to “Tosca” in particular.”
Dispersed and Transcendental Chants, Op. 18
Daniel Knaggs: Two Streams
Cappella Records releases the world première recording of Two Streams performed by Houston Chamber Choir led by Robert Simpson, with string ensemble Kinetic and world-class soloists.
“Two Streams” is structured around the words of Polish nun Maria Faustina Kowalska. From a poor family that struggled during the years of the First World War, she joined the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy where she received heavenly messages to share with the world, inspiring this sublime music by Daniel Knaggs.
Dynamic releases Donizetti’s rare work in a production from the Donizetti Opera Festival. The cast includes Annalisa Stroppa, Javier Camarena, Florian Sempey, and Evgeny Stavinsky. Riccardo Frizza conducts the production by Valentina Carrasco.
Of the production, OperaWire noted, “Florian Sempey & Javier Camarena Shine In the Deeply Reflective Production of Valentina Carrasco.”