Juan Diego Flórez, Magdalena Kožená, Benjamin Appl & Lea Desandre Lead New CD/DVD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

Welcome back for this week’s look at the latest CD and DVD releases in the opera world.

For this edition, audiences will get to hear new recordings from three famed stars as well as a new opera designed for the 3D space.

Folk Songs

Magdalena Kožená releases her fourth Pentatone album “Folk Songs” which brings together folk-inspired song cycles from across the globe. The album includes Berio’s Folk Songs and music by Bartók, Ravel, and Montsalvatge. Kožená performs them together with the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle.

Wheels of Heaven

Avner Finberg, Avishay Shalom, and Ohad Stolarz decorate the choral scene in “WHEELS OF HEAVEN,” a new setting of sacred Hebrew and Aramaic texts admirably performed and recorded by Ensemble Ofanìm. “WHEELS OF HEAVEN” is a devotion to the literary elements of Hebrew traditions, illustrations of a rich and cherished history. These artists have composed, arranged, and presented a beautiful collection of a vast literary tradition in this release, and the resulting sound is remarkable.

Odes of Repentance 

Cappella Records releases its 31st release, Odes of Repentance. The album is led by founder and music director Alexander Lingas, Ph.D.

This recording is distinct from others of Pärt’s music, presenting a selection of his Orthodox works as a prayer service of repentance.


Lea Desandre and Thomas Dunford release an album of French love songs from three centuries.

In a statement, they explained, “The emotions of love are explored in different forms – languor, desire, fascination, happiness.” The album includes arias and songs by Offenbach, Debussy, Hahn, and Messager as well as Barbara and Françoise Hardy.

No one is forgotten

The Dallas Opera releases “No One is Forgotten: An Immersive Opera.” It is the first-ever 3D spatial opera recording streaming in Dolby Atmos Immersive Audio.

Co-composed by Paola Prestini and Sxip Shirey, “No One Is Forgotten” is a groundbreaking opera, designed to be delivered to its audience in the form of an immersive operatic radio play—an ‘invisible opera’— using cutting edge 3D spatial audio technology, with a soundscape of foley arts, actors, electronics, cello, and classical vocalists.

“No One is Forgotten” was co-commissioned by The Dallas Opera, Emitha/Lexicon Classics, and mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti, and written specifically to be experienced in spatial audio.

Schubert: Lieder

Baritone Benjamin Appl compiles nineteen arrangements of Schubert songs for orchestra from the 19th and 20th centuries. Max Reger, who orchestrated five of the songs on the album, said in an official statement, “To my ear, it is often quite insulting, in a giant hall and after an orchestral number, to have to listen to a singer performing lieder to a spindly piano accompaniment!”

The Münchner Rundfunkorchester is conducted under Oscar Jockel.

Léo Delibes: Lakmé

Opéra-comique and Naxos release Delibes’ opera with a cast that includes Sabine Devieilhe, Ambroisine Bré, Frédéric Antoun, and Stéphane Degout. The Pygmalion ensemble is led by Raphaël Pichon. Laurent Pelly directs the production.

La Donna del Lago

C Major releases the Rossini Opera Festival’s production of “La Donna del Lago” which stars Salome Jicia, Juan Diego Flórez, Varduhi Abrahamyan, Michael Spyres, and Marko Mimica. The recording from 2016 features the Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the  Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna with Michele Mariotti conducting. Damiano Michieletto directed the work.



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