Joyce DiDonato, Lisette Oropesa & Fritz Wunderlich Lead New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week audiences will get a chance to hear complete recordings of many great operas rare and standard repertoire. Here is a look at the recordings you can not miss.


Lisette Oropesa, Joyce DiDonato, Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian, Michael Spyres, and John Chest star in Erato’s new release of Händel’s “Theodora.” The album features Maxim Emelyanychev, Chief Conductor of the instrumentalists and choral singers of Il Pomo d’Oro. The recording was made at the end of a concert tour that visited Vienna, Milan, Paris, Luxembourg, and Essen.

Madama Butterfly

C Major releases Bregenz Festival’s production of Puccini’s masterpiece. The production, by Andreas Homoki stars Edgaras Montvidas, Barno Ismatullaeva, Annalisa Stroppa, and Brian Mulligan. The Vienna Symphony is conducted by Enrique Mazzola.

Mayr’s L’accademia di musica

Naxos releases the world premiere recording of Mayr’s “L’accademia di musica” from the Rossini in Wildbad festival. This 1799 farsa, with a libretto by Gaetano Rossi, offers a recognizable array of comic types—a wealthy old geezer who hasn’t lost his libido, the wily maid he covets, his lovelorn son and the Venetian lady he wants to marry, her just-as-clever brother, and the maid’s jealous lover—along with the usual fair share of disguises and deceptions. Wildbad’s performance features six talented young singers under the baton of Nicola Pascoli, leading Poland’s Passionart Orchestra.


Rameau’s tragédie en musique of 1749 is set to be released by Alpha Classics. The recording features Reinoud van Mechelen in the title role, Tassis Christoyannis as his nasty nemesis, and sopranos Jodie Devos and Véronique Gens as a pivotal pair of sisters, one of them very good, the other a little less so. The Choeur de Chambre de Namur sing the work’s important choruses, and Alexis Kossenko leads Les Ambassadeurs–La Grande Écurie.

Judas Maccabeus

Orfeo releases Handel’s Judas Maccabeus conducted by Rafael Kubelik in 1963 with Fritz Wunderlich in the title role. The recording comes from the vault of the Bavarian Radio and also includes soprano Agnes Giebel, contralto Juliana Falk, tenor Naan Pöld, and bass Ludwig Welter.

Das Christ-Elflein

The Bavarian Radio archives releases Hans Pfitzner’s “Das Christ-Elflein—Christ’s Little Elf” on Orfeo. Fritz Reiner conducts the recording with sopranos Helen Donath in the title role and Janet Perry as the Christ Child. The supporting cast features a handful of resonant Bavarian State Opera names of the era: Claes H. Ahnsjö (in a role created by Richard Tauber), Alexander Malta, Nikolaus Hillebrand, Raimund Grumbach, Ferry Gruber.


Barbara Hannigan records Berg’s “Sehnsucht” for Alpha Classics. The concert was captured live in Rotterdam in April 2021. Hannigan sings the Sieben Frühe Lieder in arrangements for chamber orchestra by Reinbert de Leeuw, followed by young Dutch baritone Raoul Steffani singing Berg’s Vier Gesänge, op. 2, as arranged by Henk de Vlieger.

Bruckner Spectrum

The new album by the Zurich Chamber Singers under the direction of Christian Erny delves into Anton Bruckner’s motets and works by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. The album spans a wide range of Bruckner’s Latin motets in combination with works by da Palestrina, as well as three world premieres of commissioned pieces by the Stuttgart composer Burkhard Kinzler.

Milton Babbit

Soprano Nina Berman and pianist Steve Beck release their debut duo recording “Milton Babbitt: Works for Treble Voice and Piano.” The album presents a collection of 10 vocal compositions by the extraordinarily influential American composer Milton Babbitt.


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