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Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, October 2013

Nagano’s direction of the Berlin orchestra is clean and precise, and the singing is extremely effective, too. In the title role Gerald Finley sounds splendid…His rich vocal tone conveys the character’s heroism…Peter Savidge and Anne Dawson play the Coyles as the only sympathetic characters in the piece. They come across very well, both looking and sounding great. Hilton Marlton is a suitably irritating Lechmere. Charlotte Hellekant does as good a job as she can of making Kate a rounded character…Elizabeth Gale effectively portrays the self-seeking nature of Mrs Julian, and Martyn Hill is a suitably histrionic Sir Philip. The show is comprehensively stolen by Josephine Barstow…Barstow’s shrill, penetrating tone cuts right to the quick of the character and she appears to be loving every minute of it. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Alide Kohlhaas
The Seniors Review, October 2013

This year is the l00th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. One way to celebrate the composer’s life is to view his seldom performed opera Owen Wingrave in a production created for television. The conductor is Kent Nagano, who leads the Deutsche Symphonic-Orchester Berlin, while Canadian Gerald Finley sings the title role of Owen Wingrave. This deeply moving opera was filmed at Chatsworth in Derbyshire, the perfect setting for a story that leads from the 1950s back to the ghost of Cromwell’s England. © 2013 The Seniors Review



Fred Cohn
Opera News, July 2013

But Britten’s considerable craft can be heard in his music. As in so much of his later work, lyrical effusion is held at bay for most of the work’s length. The music proceeds sparely, even ascetically, until Owen’s climactic Act II soliloquy, “Peace is not confused,” in which finally something like full-scale operatic expression breaks forth. Conductor Kent Nagano realizes this aspect of the score superbly here, sustaining the tightly coiled musical tension and the mounting air of dread through even the most elliptical of Britten’s musical gestures.

…the video compels visual interest. The accomplished singers are, to a person, not only musically suited to their roles but thoroughly convincing as cinematic actors. Gerald Finley is Owen. In musical matters, his work, as might be expected, is beyond reproach, the tone solid from top to bottom, the text firmly bound to the musical line. But what truly distinguishes Finley’s performance is his physical presence. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review



Mike Ashman
Gramophone, June 2013

This reissue of Margaret Williams’s 2001 Channel 4 film is quite precisely cast visually and vocally…Finley and his top-drawer British actor/singer colleagues tread an impeccably drawn line between emotion and excess.

The sound is fine…This is a solid starting point with Wingrave… © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, May 2013

The singing and dramatic skills of the cast here are topnotch. Gerald Finley is excellent as the beleaguered and principled Owen. Peter Savidge as Coyle and Charlotte Hellekant as Kate Julian also turn in superb performances. The dining scene (track 13) is positively riveting for the fanaticism of Owen’s adversaries who badger him about his “scruples”. Owen bravely stands up to them. The lighting, filming angles, acting and sets in this scene come together to create an utterly haunting and intense atmosphere.

Kent Nagano…leads a splendid performance and the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra respond with accurate and committed playing. The camera work and sound reproduction are first-rate, and other production values are also of the highest order…this new effort is strong in virtually every role and production aspect, and is the only video disc of the work available, thus making it a most desirable acquisition for fans of Britten and 20th-century opera. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review



John Terauds
Musical Toronto, May 2013

It’s an excellent opportunity to see the very best singers in an imaginative production perform a work that is usually done by opera schools.

Finley brings the ideal balance of innocence and steely determination to his role.

Josephine Barstow is excellent as Miss Wingrave…

Director Margarete Williams does a masterful job of using the camera to induce claustrophobia.

Nagano keeps the orchestra sound lean and tight, knowing exactly when to give the music a little lift, to poke us viewers in the gut. © 2013 Musical Toronto Read complete review



Anne Shelley
Music Media Monthly, April 2013

…finding fine actors was a priority for the composer when developing the initial production, since he was worried about the audience “getting bored.” No one involved in this production let him down in that sense, as the cast here is spectacular. Finley’s performance is indescribably excellent—well-acted and well-sung—and Josephine Barstow as Owen’s aunt and Charlotte Hellekant as Kate make their characters despicably memorable. Highly recommended. © 2013 Music Media Monthly Read complete review






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7:16:39 AM, 20 April 2014
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