Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Zachary James & Piotr Beczala Highlight New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week audiences can experience two full recordings of classic operas with stellar casts and a surprise crossover album from one of today’s most acclaimed bass-baritones. There is also a solo album and a choral album that audiences can stream. Here is a look at this week’s new releases:

The Children’s Hour: a celebration of the wonder of childhood

British Baritone Gareth Brynmor John releases his latest album “The Children’s Hour: a celebration of the wonder of childhood.” The new recording includes works by Charles Ives. Champs Hill Records releases the album which also features pianist William Vann. The recording is dedicated to Gareth and William’s respective young children.

A Native Hill 

 The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, releases its 24th commercial album, English composer Gavin Bryars’ concert-length musical essay A Native Hill. Navona Records releases the album first on digital and then on CD in June. The 12-movement A Native Hill was premiered by the ensemble in October 2019 at their home, The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia.


Zachary James has released a new album which is described as an experimental pop fantasia. Exordium marks James’ third album in four months following “Call Out” and “On Broadway.”

In a press release, James said, “I am so Inspired by revolutionaries like Björk, Lil Nas X, and Beyoncé who know no bounds and challenge us to grow and move forward. This project pushes into unknown territory for me but feels the most authentic of anything I’ve made. After a year living and surviving through a pandemic, humanity has been shaken to its core. As we slowly climb out of this dark chapter we need to respond to our circumstances with music, with art.  That’s exactly what I hope EXORDIUM does.”

James will also release a music video of the final track, “seize the day”, a collaboration with Broadway, TV/Film, and New York Fashion Week designer Dorothy Petersen.

Un Ballo in Maschera

Orfeo is releasing “Un ballo in maschera,” recorded live at Vienna’s Staatsoper in April 2016. The recording stars Dmitri Hvorostovsky alongside Piotr Beczala as Gustavo, Krassimira Stoyanova as Amelia, Nadia Krasteva as Ulrica, and Hila Fahima as Oscar.

Jesús López-Cobos conducts the album which was previously released on the Wiener Staatsoper’s 150th-anniversary celebration box set. OperaWire reviewed the box set and noted “Hvorotstovsky sings with that glorious lyricism he was well-known for, particularly in his great aria “Eri Tu.”


Capriccio releases the Theater an der Wien’s recording of Erwin Schulhoff’s haunting Don Juan opera, “Flammen.” Written to a Czech text by Karel Josef Beneš and first performed in Brno in 1932, this recording from August 2006 features Bertrand de Billy leading the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and Raymond Very, Iris Vermillion, and Stephanie Friede.


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