Brian Jagde, Juyeon Song, & Laura Strickling Headline New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week audiences will experience a wide array of new releases from complete opera recordings to solo albums to rarely performed pieces.

Here is a look.

Il Tabarro 

After an acclaimed “Cavalleria rusticana” recording, PENTATONE, Marek Janowski and the Dresdner Philharmonie release Puccini’s “Il Tabarro.” The new recording features Melody Moore as Giorgetta, Brian Jagde as Luigi, and Lester Lynch as Michele, as well as the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir.

Voices in the Wilderness

Bright Shiny Things releases the world-premiere recording of eighteenth-century a cappella music composed by and for members of colonial Pennsylvania’s Ephrata community. New Evidence by baritone and musicologist Christopher Dylan Herbert, who selected, transcribed, and edited the works, shows that there were at least three women writing music at Ephrata. Herbert also produced and served as music director for the recording, which was made at the Ephrata Cloister and features soprano Elizabeth Bates, countertenor Clifton Massey, tenor Niels Neubert, and bass Steven Hrycelak.

Tristan und Isolde 

Navona releases the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra’s new recording of Richard Wagner’s three-act masterpiece. Conducted by Robert Reimer, the recording features Juyeon Song, Roy Cornelius Smith, Tamaro Gallo, John Paul Huckle, and Brian Davis.

The Grey Land 

New Amsterdam Records releases the new mono-opera written by Joseph C. Phillips Jr. The recording features the ensemble Numinous and soloists soprano Rebecca L Hargrove and narrator Kenneth Browning.

In a press release, Phillips noted “The Grey Land” is “a story of a Black mother trying to survive the reality in this land that doesn’t fully see her continued hope: that the great American experiment will one day become a belonging place where anyone can dream of ‘stillness and stars’ free from fear and want; a place where the beautiful promise of happiness, liberty, and life may yet manifest true to finally include her family too.”

The work features a libretto written by Phillips and uses texts from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, author Isaac Butler, Abolitionist Frederick Douglas and Mothers of the Movement, an organization founded in 2013 by Black mothers after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin and dedicated to fighting police and gun violence.

Haydn Masses Vol. 2

The Handel and Haydn Society continues its acclaimed series of Joseph Haydn’s masses with a live recording from Boston’s Symphony Hall. The new recording features Haydn’s Military Symphony and the Lord Nelson Mass recorded live under the baton of H+H Artistic Director Harry Christophers on January 24 and 26, 2020.

L’Empio Punito

Alessandro Melani’s “L’empio punito” arrives on DVD, CD streaming, and Blu-Ray via Dynamic. The production comes from the 2019 Reate Festival with the Reate Festival Baroque Orchestra conducted by Alessandro Quarta. The opera is the first operatic retelling of the legend of Don Juan.


Laura Strickling releases her new record Confessions on Andelain Records. The new album showcases world premieres including Clarice Assad’s “Confessions,” Gilda Lyons’s “Songs of Lament and Praise,” Amy Beth Kirsten’s “To See What I See,” Michael Djupstrom’s Three Teasdale Songs, and Libby Larsen’s “Righty, 1966.” Other pieces include “How to Get Heat Without Fire,” by composer Tom Cipullo. Strickling is accompanied by pianist Joy Schreier.

In a press release, the soprano stated, “This recording is the result of an important web of relationships and collaborations.” She added that the idea for the project, she says, can be traced back five years, “as I pulled together the threads of these important relationships and voices . . . [But] the singer who began planning this album is a different person than I am today, and this recording reflects that evolution. More anxiety, more resilience, more hope. More faith in the power of community and relationships to overcome destruction and pain. More dedication to pursuing and spreading joy. More belief in the power of music to unite people.”



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