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Derek Greten-Harrison
Opera News, December 2013

Michael Spyres gives a superb performance as Greek officer Néoclès, his ringing tenor sounding fresh and heroic, his Act III high Ds impressively sung. One can sense that Spyres has the role’s technical requirements well in hand, which makes his performance all the more enjoyable. Tenor Marc Sala is consistently strong in the role of Cléomène…As the Turk invader Mahomet II, bass Lorenzo Regazzo is a commanding presence with vocal heft and power, as well as surprising agility in coloratura passages.

The Camerata Bach Choir, PoznaƄ, provides solid support to the soloists…the orchestra, Virtuosi Brunensis, plays brilliantly, with expert precision and ensemble, throughout the performance. Conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud brings great style and dramatic pacing to the proceedings; the finales are particularly exciting and bristling with energy.

Naxos’s recording quality is excellent—particularly for a live recording—with both instruments and voices captured with clarity and detail. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review




Robert Farr
MusicWeb International, December 2013

Thankfully, the so-called Pesaro of the north, the Bad Wildbad Festival, continues to perform Rossini’s operas with excellent conductors and singers with the resultant CDs being issued at bargain price on the Naxos label. The added virtue of this particular issue, from the twenty second Festival in 2010, is that its well sung and conducted performance fills in a gap in the lexicon of recordings of the works that Rossini composed or rewrote for Paris. © 2013 MusicWeb International



Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, November 2013

As with any Rossini opera, Siege requires singers with wide ranges and exceptional flexibility to deal with the highly ornamented bel canto style of the composer. For the most part, this cast manages.

Both chorus and orchestra are first-rate, with some winds and strings articulating the florid music as well as the singers. The conductor obviously contributes to this excellence. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Ralph Moore
MusicWeb International, September 2013

This Naxos bargain edition seems to be a clear first choice.

I am…impressed not only by Matthieu Lécroart’s native diction but also by the noble, mellifluous beauty of his bass whenever Hiéros…sings.

The two tenors, Marc Sala and rising star Michael Spyres…have voices very similar in timbre, neat and accomplished with fast vibratos and the range to encompass Rossini’s excessive demands.

The sound is excellent, the ensemble crisp and energised and the singing generally first rate…The famous Act 1 Trio is superb, one of Rossini’s most melodic inspirations. The Third Act Trio, here performed in its shorter version, is another exquisitely sung highlight. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



George Hall
BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

Rossini’s scores demand high-powered vocalism, and in this respect the performance maintains impressive standards. Majella Cullagh’s Pamyra meets all coloratura challenges with assurance and is firm and expressive throughout. © BBC Music Magazine




Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, July 2013

Spyres is up to the demands of the role in this performance…singing with vocal flexibility and appealing tone. I look forward to hearing more from him, not least in this repertoire.

In the second tenor role of Pamyra’s father, Cléomène, Bad Wildbad has another high-flying tenor able to handle the demanding tessitura in its cast. He steps forward in the person of Spaniard Marc Salsa; new to me.

[Majella Cullagh’s] strong characterisation allied to vocal flexibility is well in evidence in this performance. Her voice has slightly more edge than in some of her earlier recordings, of Donizetti as well as Rossini, but remains a formidable instrument. She handles the demanding coloratura with aplomb (CD1.Tr.7).

The chorus are well up to Rossini’s extended demands whilst on the rostrum, Jean-Luc Tingaud is fully at home in the idiom.

…this audio recording…do Rossini’s creation full justice. It also allows enthusiasts to appreciate his first venture into the French style of composition which was to last all too briefly. © MusicWeb International Read complete review



Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, June 2013

…the NAXOS engineers—Norbert Vossen and Siggi Mehn for this recording—have done the composer proud. The recorded sound possesses depth and clarity atypical of performances recorded under ‘live’ conditions, the myriad colorations of Rossini’s orchestration given prominence without disturbing the balance between stage and pit or overwhelming the soloists. The sound produced by the Camerata Bach Choir is perhaps slightly ‘ecclesiastical,’ but the rounded tone and commitment of their singing is persuasive, their performance shaped by the careful preparation of…Iñaki Encina Oyón. The playing of the Virtuosi Brunensis is indeed virtuosic, the critical obbligato parts played superbly…the Virtuosi Brunensis collectively rise to every challenge with boundless energy and technical mastery. The famous Overture receives a bracingly martial, authentically Rossinian performance…this recording is a splendid example of the gains in dramatic impact that can be achieved from recording live performances, even those given in concert: the emotional directness and responsiveness with which the ensemble—soloists, chorus, orchestra, and conductor—deliver the music are dazzling.

Vocally, this recording of Le siège de Corinthe is the most consistently and excitingly cast of any of NAXOS’s recordings of Rossini repertory, with even secondary roles filled by excellent artists. Ismène, Pamyra’s confidante…is sung vivaciously by mezzo-soprano Silvia Beltrami…Omar, Mahomet’s confidant…receives from baritone Marco Filippo Romano a suitably manly, ringing performance. Adraste, companion of Cléomène, is sung with bright, attractive tone by young Brazilian tenor Gustavo Quaresma Ramos. Bass Matthieu Lécroart is enjoyably resonant as Hiéros…

Cléomène…is sung by Catalonian tenor Marc Sala…Mr Sala’s is the first solo voice heard, and he launches the opera awesomely. Thereafter, his every contribution to the performance is marked by singing of distinction.

Néoclès…is magnificently sung in this performance by Missouri-born tenor Michael Spyres. Throughout the performance, Mr Spyres’s singing offers a masterclass in the art of Rossini singing.

It is welcome to have the excellent bass Lorenzo Regazzo in a serious role. Mahomet’s entrance aria, ‘Chef d’un peuple indomptable,’ receives from Mr Regazzo a performance of tremendous energy and cavernous tone. Mr Regazzo rages compellingly, but the warmth and compassion that he brings to Mahomet’s scenes with Pamyra are charming.

Pamyra…is sung in this performance by Irish soprano Majella Cullagh…Ms Cullagh allows the listener to appreciate the often extraordinary quality of Rossini’s invention.

This is among the handful of recordings of Rossini operas that leave absolutely nothing to be desired. © 2013 Voix des Arts Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2013

In 1824 Rossini was contracted to work in Paris, hopefully to breath new life into the city’s ailing operatic life, Le Siege de Corinthe being his first offering. Many reasons have been put forward why, for such an important event, he should have recycled a previously composed opera with a new libretto, the most likely being that he was, in modern terminology, ‘burnt out’ as an opera composer at an early age. Whatever the explanation, the opera never found a lasting place in public approbation, and though it was staged in many opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic soon after its Paris premiere, today it is a rarity. Yet it contains a fine part for an heroic tenor; a dazzling and virtuoso role for a dramatic soprano, and a highly rewarding bass part at the centre of the story. On disc it has been singularly unfortunate, its only star-studded performance, released many years ago on EMI, totally compromised by the use of a questionable performing edition that contained music that did not come from Rossini, and was sung not in the original French, but in an Italian translation. Here the conductor, Jean-Luc Tinguad, has returned to the original score to create the parts for this performance given at the ‘Rossini in Wildbad’ festival of 2010. I do not want to make overstated claims, but it is by a long way the most satisfying recording we have had to date. The much travelled American tenor, Michael Spyres, with his wide vibrato, strikes an imposing character as the young Neocles, while the love of his life, Pamyra, is taken by the Irish soprano, Majella Cullagh, a singer whose career I have followed with much interest. She is technically very fine and exciting, her vocal acrobatics performed with admirable ease. Ever reliable, as in his previous roles in this Rossini series, Lorenzo Regazzo’s light bass voice is ideal for the ‘villain’ of the plot, Mahomet. Yet many of the honours go to Tingaud, who has always impressed me in the theatre, his tempi and shaping of the score being ideal, while he obtains very neat and detailed playing from his Czech musicians. The disc does not make clear, but the absence of stage noises would indicate that it comes from concert performances admirably recorded by Southwest German Radio. Synopsis is included, and there is a French libretto on the Naxos website, but no translation. © David’s Review Corner




Michel Parouty
Diapason

With a firm sense of architecture, Jean-Luc Tingaud shows no lack of energy and panache, and does not forget to let the music breath. The vocal casting is worthy of the festival of Bad Wildbad of which the reputation grows every year: well-balanced, well-trained, without any link to the star-system © Diapason






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