Max Richter & Anthony Gatto Lead DVD/CD Releases

By Francisco Salazar

This week four recordings are set to be released from a diverse group of performers.

Here is a look at what you stream this week.

Placido Domingo 50th Anniversary Gala 

C-Major Entertainment releases Plácido Domingo’s 50th-anniversary gala at the Arena di Verona. The gala, which was recorded in 2019, showcases the famed singer performing from Verdi’s “Macbeth,” “Nabucco,” and “Simon Boccanegra.” Domingo is joined by collaborators Anna Pirozzi, Géraldine Chauvet,  Marko Mimica, Carlo Bosi, Elisabetta Zizzo, and Arturo Chacón-Cruz as well as the Arena di Verona’s ballet and conductor Jordi Bernàcer who leads Orchestra of the Arena di Verona.

Exploring Voices 

Max Richter releases “VOICES” – a major new recording project inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Decca records. The album offers a musical message of hope with Richter inviting people from around the world to be part of the piece, crowd-sourcing readings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be interwoven into the work. He received hundreds of submissions in over 70 languages.

In a press release, Richter explains, “I like the idea of a piece of music as a place to think, and it is clear we all have some thinking to do at the moment. We live in a hugely challenging time and, looking around at the world we have made, it’s easy to feel hopeless or angry. But, just as the problems we face are of our own making, so their solutions are within our reach, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is something that offers us a way forward. Although it isn’t a perfect document, the declaration does represent an inspiring vision for the possibility of a better and kinder world.”

The recording features a wordless 12-piece choir, as well as Richter on keyboards, violin soloist Mari Samuelsen, soprano Grace Davidson, and conductor Robert Ziegler.

Wise Blood  & The Making of Americans 

New Focus Recordings releases Anthony Gatto’s opera based on the novel by Flannery O’Connor. The work follows the story of traumatized soldier Hazel Motes upon his return from a faraway war. Descended from generations of firebrand southern preachers, Motes invents “The Church Without Christ” to address his haunted surroundings from the hood of his car. The musical setting in “Wise Blood” often provides introspective support to Motes’ story of transformation upon returning home from war.

New Focus Recordings also releases Anthony Gatto’s work based on the works of Gertrude Stein. Gatto’s setting for Stein’s “The Making of Americans” combines propulsive minimalism, ethereal vocals evoking church motets, and liturgical singing.

In a press release, Gatto noted, “Guided by the sightlines of two great American authors, these two operas reflect vastly different views of this bizarre experiment called America. Stein strives for a transcendent aerial view while beholding particulars of the daily mundane. O’Connor goes deep into the murderous murk of so-called spiritual life in the haunted rural South.”