Carmela Remigio, Diana Damrau & Sarah Aristidou Lead New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week audiences will get glimpses of holiday music, rarely performed works, and classic operas. There is also an intriguing solo album that audiences must check out. Here is a look at this week’s new releases.

Christmas Wishes – Wundervolle Weihnacht

Released for Christmas as a digital EP are three tracks from an album that soprano Diana Damrau has recorded with conductor Riccardo Minasi and the NDR Radiophilharmonie. The complete program of Christmas music will be released in Autumn 2022 but in the meantime, the EP will showcase César Franck’s “Panis Angelicus,” an aria from Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio) and Handel’s “Erwach, frohlocke, o Tochter von Zion” from the Messiah.

A Christmas Carol 

Vocal ensemble Skylark, led by Artistic Director Matthew Guard, will release “A Christmas Carol, a “story score” based on the Dickens classic. Storyteller Sarah Walker narrates the tale, and the score is composed by Benedict Sheehan. The music is treated as an integral narrative element, weaving through and around the story so that story and song become an inseparable whole.


French-Cypriot Sarah Aristidou releases a new album on Alpha. The soprano sings a variety of repertoire from Händel to Adès, Delibes’s Bell Song to Jörg Widmann’s “Labyrinth V,” with Thomas, Debussy, Varèse, Stravinsky, Poulenc, and Zimmermann along the way and a little Anon. She’s accompanied by Thomas Guggeis leading the Orchester des Wandels and the Chor der Klangverwaltung, among others.


Donizetti’s rarely heard Belisario was filmed in audience-free concert at his eponymous festival in Bergamo in 2020. Now Dynamic releases the performance on DVD, Blu Ray and CD with a cast that included soprano Carmela Remigio, mezzo Annalisa Stroppa, tenor Celso Albelo, and baritone Roberto Frontali in the challenging title role. Riccardo Frizza led the Orchestra  and Coro Donizetti Opera.

Die Zauberflöte

A 2017 performance of David McVicar’s classic Royal Opera production of Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” gets a new release on Opus Arte. The cast includes sopranos Siobhan Stagg and Sabine Devieilhe, tenor Mauro Peter, baritone Roderick Williams, and bass Mika Kares. Julia Jones lead the classic production.


Linn releases a collation of short, mostly recent choral works by Sir James MacMillan with Cappella Nova under the direction of Alan Tavener. The music includes MacMillan’s relatively early St. Anne’s Mass and his five Culham Motets from 2015.


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