Carlos Gomes Opera Overtures and Prelude

This is Volume 14 in our Music of Brazil series that goes from strength to strength. Carlos Gomes (1836–1896) was Brazil’s leading operatic composer, hailed by European critics of the day as the equal of Rossini and Verdi. These recordings of his opera overtures and preludes are the first to be made available for an international audience. They feature conductor Fabio Mechetti and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, who build on the success of their three previous releases in our Music of Brazil series.

‘Carlos Gomes was one of the most original and successful composers in Italy during the second half of the 19th century, whose powerfully dramatic operas caused a sensation at the time. Since then, however, his music, even in his native Brazil, has not received the same kind of enthusiasm and response as he enjoyed during his life in Europe. I believe that this recording will open a new musical horizon for those willing to try something new and immensely beautiful.’

Fabio Mechetti


Carlos GOMES (1836–1896)
Opera Overtures and Preludes

Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra • Fabio Mechetti

Carlos Gomes was not only Brazil’s leading operatic composer, but he also helped pave the way for Italian verismo during the latter part of the 19th century. The preludes and overtures from his operas chart a course from early experimentation with orchestral sonority to a new conception of atmosphere and tension in his historically based dramas. In Alvorada (‘Dawn’) from Lo schiavo his descriptive writing comes close to the status of a symphonic poem. The music from his greatest artistic triumph, Il Guarany, weaves themes into an organic whole, while his final opera, Condor, is reminiscent of French orchestral music in its employment of whole-tone scales.

Listen to an extract from Maria Tudor:
Act I: Prelude
About the Artists
Fabio Mechetti has been artistic director and principal conductor of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra since its foundation. Under his leadership, the orchestra has received numerous awards, recorded nine albums, including several for Naxos, and undertaken a tour of South America. In 2014, he became the first Brazilian music director of an Asian orchestra when he was appointed principal conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. In the US, Mechetti conducted the Jacksonville Symphony for 14 years and is now its conductor emeritus.
Founded in 2008, the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra has become one of Brazil’s most successful cultural organisations. Under the helm of artistic director and principal conductor Fabio Mechetti, the orchestra has received numerous awards and accolades, including CONCERTO magazine’s Grand Prize (2015, 2020) and the Carlos Gomes Award for the best Brazilian orchestra (2012). It was also named classical music ensemble of the year (2010) by the São Paulo Association of Art Critics.
More albums in The Music of Brazil series
Piano Concerto No. 1
Aurora • Concerto Fribourgeois

Rubinsky • Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra • Mechetti
‘This collection of works for piano and orchestra showcases the composer’s startling musical imagination and is performed with mastery and poise by Brazilian pianist Sonia Rubinsky and the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra…’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★
‘Their performance is first class, with excellent discipline. As it’s a large group, the sound is full-bodied and resonant. Maestro Mechetti leads the music with verve and understanding.’
American Record Guide
Chôros, Vol. 1

Kopylova • Silvério • Nascimento • Graton • São Paulo Symphony Orchestra • Karabtchevsky
‘The performances are excellent, from both soloists and orchestra; it is clear that this music genuinely enthuses Isaac Karabtchevsky...’
‘This may be the finest release to date in Naxos’ ongoing Brazilian music series. Kudos to the woodwind soloists of the Goiás Philharmonic, who sound absolutely world-class in each of their turns in the spotlight. Indeed, conductor Neil Thomson galvanizes his forces to deliver performances of all of this music that, in their clarity, vitality and drive, present this splendid music in the best possible light, and the sonics are really vivid too. If you’re looking for a new discovery that you’ll play and enjoy often, then you’ll definitely want to get this terrific disc forthwith.’
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