Jonas Kaufmann, Federico Longhi & Julien Van Mellaerts Headlines New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week, audiences will get to discover new releases of world premieres, rarely performed works, and several debut albums. This is also a new release from one of the most famous singers in the world.

Il Vologeso 

The Mozartists release Niccolò Jommelli’s “Il Vologeso,” with a cast headed by the Irish mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly, Stuart Jackson, and Gemma Lois Summerfield.

Historical Fiction 

Composer and saxophonist Christian Forshaw and soprano Grace Davidson release their fourth album together on Integra Records. The recording presents well-known Renaissance and Baroque works arranged and modernized for soprano, saxophone, and organ. The album features music by G.F. Handel, Orlando Gibbons, Henry Purcell, John Dowland, and Marin Marais.

Death and the Powers

BMOP/sound is set to release the world premiere recording of Tod Machover’s “robotic” opera, “Death and the Powers.” The work, set to a libretto by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, is led by conductor Gil Rose and the intrepid Boston Modern Orchestra Project. the recording stars James Maddalena, Joelle Harvey, Patricia Risley, Doug Dodson, David Kravitz, and Tom McNichols.

Freudvoll und leidvoll

Sony Classical releases Jonas Kaufmann’s latest album in which he joins forces with pianist Helmut Deutsch to perform a program of songs by a largely neglected lieder composer, Franz Liszt.

The album shows the two artists in music by a composer for whom both feel a special affinity and whose music both artists have performed in concert. Among the songs included in the album are “Vergiftet sind meine Lieder,” “Der König von Thule,” and “Ihr Glocken von Marling.”

In a statement, the tenor noted, “I’m very pleased that our enforced rest made this album possible – under normal circumstances, it would probably not have come into existence quite so quickly. As a result, we were able to record not only those Liszt songs that we had already tried out in the concert hall but also a number of others that until now have been overshadowed by Liszt’s “great hits”. Among them, pride of place goes to Die stille Wasserrose, which I find more beautiful the more often I hear it. I’m very grateful to Helmut for introducing me to these songs, and I think there will be many listeners who share my delight in these discoveries.”

The Shards of an Honor Code Junkie

No Reverse Records releases Blake Allen’s new American Opera Oratorio.  The world premiere recording is an autobiographical story of a homosexual Mormon that embarks on a journey of self-love while challenging Brigham Young’s staunch eight Honor Code Rules, unhinging demons of drugs, sex, and suicide in a victorious coming-of-age story.

The opera oratorio features Alison Fraser, Michael Lowney, Teal Wicks, Kristy Cates, J Harrison Ghee, Hannah Cruz, Tori Scott, Cree Carrico, Kuhoo Verma, Isaac Phaman Reynolds, Josh Daniel, Ron Tal, and Brita Filter.

Vie, Voyage vocal de la France à l’Italie

Da Vinci Classics releases Federico Longhi’s debut album alongside pianist Maria Cristina Pantaleoni. The album is dedicated to Italian and French chamber music and includes composers Reynaldo Hahn, Charles Gounod, Gabriel Fauré, Jules Massenet, Claude Debussy, César Franck, Cécile Chaminade, Edith Piaf, and Francesco Paolo Tosti.

In a statement, Longhi noted, “In this music, the voice is not enough; the constant dialogue between voice and piano must be translated into a union of intentions under the inspiring wing of a game of breaths, of continuous references to the flow of melody and of a vocal path that is born under the common denominator of singing as poetic intonation, whether it be the expression of feelings, inner emotions or sensations aroused by the contemplation of nature”.

After Glow

Helios Arts Productions releases a film starring John Holiday and poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The lead audiences through a sensual, modern retelling of Schumann’s iconic song cycle Dichterliebe. Ryan McKinny directs the film which was selected for the Seattle Film Festival.

Songs of Travel and Home

Baritone Julien Van Mellaerts releases his debut album, which honors his heritage with a selection of New Zealand, British, and French songs. The singer is joined by pianist James Baillieu. The recording features Gareth Farr’s song cycle “Ornithological Anecdotes,” commissioned by van Mellaerts, Baillieu, and Chamber Music New Zealand as well as Frank Bridge’s Three songs for medium voice, viola, and piano with fellow New Zealander Bryony Gibson-Cornish. The album also includes Roger Quilter’s “Go lovely rose” and “Now sleeps the crimson petal,” Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses and “Don Quichotte à Dulcinée.”


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