Ermonela Jaho, Ricky Ian Gordon & Sarah Kirkland Snider Highlight New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week audiences will get to hear the debut album of one of today’s greatest divas and two new pieces in world premiere recordings.

Anima Rara 

Ermonela Jaho releases her debut recital disc “Anima Rara.” Recorded in Valencia in November 2019 with the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana and Andrea Battistoni, this recording brings together music championed by the Italian soprano Rosina Storchio and features arias from “Madama Butterfly,”  “La traviata,” “Mefistofele,” “La Wally,” “Siberia,” “La bohème,” “Iris,” “Lodoletta,” “L’amico Fritz,” “Manon,” and “Sapho.”

Mass for Endangered

Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s latest piece, “Mass for the Endangered,” will be released by New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records. The piece features a libretto by poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows and the English vocal ensemble Gallicantus conducted by Gabriel Crouch.

The six-movement “Mass for the Endangered” is a rumination on the concept of the traditional Catholic Mass, its fidelity enhanced by Snider’s interpolation of traditional Latin text for the “Gloria,” “Sanctus/Benedictus,” and parts of the “Kyrie,” “Credo,” and “Agnus Dei.”

Once and Again & Double Portrait

Composer Edward Smaldone is featured on two new albums “Once and Again” on New Focus Recordings and “Double Portrait” on Ablaze Recordings. “Once and Again” is a collection of chamber music, including song cycles and instrumental works featuring Tony Arnold and Susan Narucki, alongside prominent contemporary chamber instrumentalists including Tara Helen O’Connor (flute), Charles Neidich (clarinet), Daniel Phillips (violin), Marcy Rosen (cello), and more.

Meanwhile “Double Portrait” is a 2-CD set pairing the music of composers Douglas Knehans and Edward Smaldone and features performances by members of the new music ensemble All of the Above.

Betulia liberata 

Aparté releases Les Talens Lyrique’s new recording of  Mozart’s “Betulia liberata.” The work is conducted by Christophe Rousset and features soloists Sandrine Piau, Teresa Iervolino, Amanda Forsythe, Pablo Bemsch, and Nahuel di Pierro. For those not familiar with the work it is Mozart’s first oratorio.

Ellen West

Bright Shiny Things releases the premiere recording of the highly acclaimed 75-minute chamber opera by composer Ricky Ian Gordon in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Frank Bidart. The performance was captured live at the Prototype Festival in New York in January 2020, with soprano Jennifer Zetlan and baritone Nathan Gunn, the Aeolus Quartet, double bassist Evan Premo, pianist Djordje Nesic, and conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya.

Der Prinz von Homburg

The Staatsoper Stuttgart’s production of Hans Werner Henze’s third full-length opera is set to be released on Naxos. The production conducted by Cornelius Meister stars Robin Adams, Vera-Lotte Böcker,  Štefan Margita, and Helene Schneiderman.

Don Quichotte

Massenet’s rare masterpiece is set to be released on C Major from the 2019 Bregenz Festival. The production, which stars Gábor Bretz in the title role, David Stout and Anna Goryachova, was directed by Mariame Clément. OperaWire hailed the production stating, “jumping through time and space, finding in each scenario a new angle from which to view the sadness of Don Quichotte’s naïve idealism. . . . Each vignette cuts deep, seeming to deliver a stinging rebuke to a hopeful view of the world.”


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