Nicolas Phan, Asmik Grigorian & Anastasia Bartoli 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.

This week don’t miss the world premiere recordings of several pieces classic and modern and the second complete recording of Asmik Grigorian’s Rusalka.

We Lived Happily During the War

Composer Mathew Rosenblum’s new work gets a release.

In a statement the composer said, “The piece is comprised of four songs and a percussion interlude,” Rosenblum explains in his original program notes, “all of which reflect the isolation, pain, and political call to action — and the resulting inaction — that the 2020 pandemic has come to represent. It’s also a further contemplation about my family history, especially my grandmother’s escape from Ukraine with her seven children, after the massacre in her town during the 1919 pandemic.”

The piece is performed by soprano Jamie Jordan and six members of Talujon Percussion.

Savage Winter

Albany Records releases “Savage” Winter by Douglas J. Cuomo which is performed by Tony Boutté, Frank London, Douglas J. Cuomo, and Alan Johnson.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Three-time Grammy-nominated tenor Nicholas Phan joins Palaver Strings and jazz vocalist Farayi Malek for a new album through Onyx Record Press. The repertoire on the album includes traditional songs of protest and music inspired by social movements and historical events, including the world premiere recording of a new commission by Errollyn Wallen titled “Protest Songs.”


Joachim Raff’s opera gets its world premiere recording by the Swiss label Schweizer Fonogramm. The opera, which is over 170 years, has remained lost in a drawer without any official premiere. Completed in 1858, the composition was still under the strong influence of Wagner’s “Lohengrin,”

After the work’s presentation in Weimar in 2022, the year of Raff’s 200th birthday, “Samson” premiered in September 2023 in Raff’s Swiss homeland. The recording features international soloists, the Bühnen Bern Choir, and the Berne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Swiss conductor Philippe Bach.

The Electronic Lover

Innova Recordings releases San Francisco Bay Area composer Lisa Mezzacappa and New York writer Beth Lisick’s audio opera. The comedic drama features 14 vocalists, a synth-driven power trio, and special guests Del Sol Quartet and the Premier Ensemble of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

The cast of The Electronic Lover includes vocalists whose careers as performers, songwriters, and composers encompass jazz, chamber music, opera, choral music, indie pop, ska, Afrobeat and art rock music: Karina Denike, Michelle Amador, Katy Stephan, Melody Jeune Ferris, Nikola Printz (episodes 2-6), Will Adams (episodes 7-9), David James, Sidney Chen (episodes 5-8), and Lola Miller (episodes 5,6, 9). In addition, a micro choir specializing in contemporary vocal techniques features star experimental vocalists Danishta Rivero, Aurora Josephson and David Katz (as well as Jesse Olsen Bay in episode 1). The musicians include synthesizer virtuoso Steve Blum and in-demand drummer/percussionist Jordan Glenn, with Mezzacappa on electric and acoustic bass. Lisick narrates. Guest performers include coloratura soprano Shawnette Sulker (episode 5); Del Sol Quartet (episode 5), and the Premier Ensemble of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (episode 9).

Karol Szymanowski

Recorded by Iwona Sobotka, the NFM Choir and the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, the new album is dedicated to the work of Karol Szymanowski. The album features the Concert Overture in E major op. 12, Songs of a Fairy Princess op. 31, and Symphony No. 3 “Song of the Night” op. 27.

Art Songs of the Jewish Diaspora

Acis releases “Art Songs of the Jewish Diaspora” performed by Ian Pomerantz, Byron Schenkman, and Sarah Freiberg. The album is “a story of stories” and uncovers a treasury of Jewish art songs through which the diversity of the diaspora experience, and the lives, countries, and compositional styles of many overlooked composers is celebrated.

Colin de Blamont: Les Fêtes Grecques et Romaines

Hélène Carpentier, Gwendoline Blondeel, Cécile Achille, Marie-Claude Chappuis, and Cyrille Dubois star in this new recording of Colin de Blamont’s first opera. They are joined by La Chapelle Harmonique and conductor Valentin Tournet.

Cimarosa: L’Olimpiade

Rocío Pérez, Marie Lys, Maite Beaumont, Mathilde Ortscheidt, Josh Lovell, and Alex Banfield in Cimarosa’s opera in a recording that also includes  Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset.

Cilea: Gloria

Dynamic releases Cilea’s rarely performed work. The new DVD is a world premiere recording from the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari’s February 2023 recording. The cast includes Ramaz Chikviladze, Anastasia Bartoli, Franco Vassallo, Carlo Ventre, Alessandro Abis, Elena Schirru, and Alessandro Frabotta. Francesco Cilluffo conducts the production by Antonio Albanese.

Dvořák: Rusalka

Asmik Grigorian, David Butt Philip, Matthew Rose, Emma Bell, and Dame Sarah Connolly lead the Royal Opera House’s production of “Rusalka” with Semyon Bychkov. Ann Yee and Natalie Abrahami direct the production. Opus Arte releases.


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