Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us
Verdi's Requiem and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle

Christine Brewer, Karen Cargill, Stuart Neill & John Relyea
London Symphony Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis

LSO0683 Recorded live at the Barbican January 2009

Many say that this is 'the best opera Verdi ever wrote'... Here is an impressive performance, delivered to home listeners with the concert hall energy and emotion that LSO Live seeks and often achieves.

The dynamic range is enough to raise complaints amongst the family, and the soloists are recessed to achieve a rare truthful balance.

Concert Reviews: http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/LSO%2BLive/LSO0683 - - pure drama and great depth allied to apparently unlimited reserves of shattering power and passion. Yet within this tumult, he gave us a number of quieter more refined and lyrical moments that allowed for poignant reflection. (Music Web

Verdi Messa da Requiem
Anja Harteros, Sonia Ganassi, Rolando Villazón and René Pape
Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Pappano

EMI Classics 2x CD: 6989362

Hard on the heels of Sir Colin Davis on LSO Live, here is another desirable version from Antonio Pappano taken from a series of concerts in Italy.

It is notable for refinement of the quiet music and dynamic extremes; the bass drum's thwacks may be the best on record?

We're not into comparative reviews; both are well worth acquiring and there are special offers around for the Pappano.

Peter Grahame Woolf

BARTOK Bluebeard's Castle
Elena Zhidkova, Sir Willard White
London Symphony Orchestra / Valery Gergiev.
Barbican, London January 2009

LSO Live LSO0685 [59 mins]

Here too is another LSO Live triumph, a performance which must have been thrilling at The Barbican (probably with surtitles); maybe even more so a few months on at home through good equipment, with the parallel texts (Boosy & Hawkes) and one's imagination.

I've never been greatly impressed by Bluebeard as a staged opera, with the orchestra in a pit and its longuers as the 'story' unfolds.

Sir Willard White's is the most characterful of bass voices, and he is well matched by this Russian-born, Berlin-based mezzo. Gergiev brings just the right brooding intensity to the orchestral foreground (as I hear it) against which the internalised drama is set.

I feel it would have been better not to have included White doubling as the urbane narrator of the Prologue "Ladies & Gentlemen" etc in English. Big switch when he goes in character.

Last year the LSO did Bluebeard's Castle under Boulez, but I think this was a richer experience. The intensity of this experience needs something to bring you down to earth; I recommend Walter Felsenstein's version with the Komische Opera, Berlin...

Peter Grahame Woolf

Peter Grahame Woolf