Naxos Audiovisual Division July 2022

July sees the release of four outstanding audiovisual productions representing three eras of opera and a showcase of the career of one of the Royal Ballet's most illustrious recent stars.

The incomparable John Eliot Gardiner applies his notable skills as musical director to two operatic masterpieces, by Monteverdi and Verdi, while Oper Graz's production of Mieczysław Weinberg’s powerful Holocaust drama Die Passagierin does sterling service to “one of the most important and most brilliantly composed operas of the 20th century.” (Online Merker) Finally, the Royal Ballet presents five outstanding performances by Lauren Cuthbertson, one of the world’s leading ballerinas.

2.110713 (DVD)

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919–1996)
Die Passagierin
(‘The Passenger’)
Opera in two acts
Libretto by Alexander Medvedev
based on the novel of the same name by Zofia Posmysz

Nadja Stefanoff, Soprano • Dshamilja Kaiser, Mezzo-soprano
Will Hartmann, Tenor • Markus Butter, Baritone
Chor der Oper Graz • Grazer Philharmoniker
Roland Kluttig, Conductor • Nadja Loschky, Stage director

Mieczysław Weinberg’s powerful Holocaust drama Die Passagierin channels his and his family’s ordeals of wartime and Soviet persecution, applying them musically to Zofia Posmysz’s autobiographical novel. The score was praised by Shostakovich for its ‘beauty and greatness’, with a narrative that unfolds on an ocean liner bound for Brazil on which a former Auschwitz guard and one of her Polish prisoners confront impossible moral conflict and harrowing flashbacks in music that is sparse, dark, sardonic and intermittently tender. This acclaimed Oper Graz production draws us movingly into the raw unimaginable madness of this imperishable moment in history.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0144V)

DYN-37951 (DVD)

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
Commedia lirica in three acts – Libretto by Arrigo Boito

Nicola Alaimo
Simone Piazzola • Matthew Swensen • Aylin Pérez
Francesca Boncompagni • Sara Mingardo • Caterina Piva
Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor • Sven-Eric Beehtolf, Director

Falstaff was composed to a libretto fashioned by Arrigo Boito largely from Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor. Superficially the work is an opera buffa in its depiction of the travails of the penniless knight, Sir John Falstaff, but goes beyond the operatic tradition of the time. The vocal line is integrated into the orchestral texture, and with self-quotations and parodic elements, the opera is saturated with as much irony as comedy, forming the fitting culmination of Verdi’s entire operatic life. Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts this acclaimed staging of Verdi’s final masterpiece.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (57951),
Disc and Streaming (7951)

OA1346D (DVD)
[Opus Arte]

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643)
The Monteverdi Trilogy – L’incoronazione di Poppea

Monteverdi Choir • English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor
John Eliot Gardiner and Elsa Rooke, Co-Directors

Claudio Monteverdi developed the principles of opera with L’Orfeo in the first decade of the 17th century. At the very end of his life, he wrote L’incoronazione di Poppea. The opera marked a decisive move from allegorical and mythic elements towards a historical subject – the love affair between the Roman Emperor Nero and his mistress Poppea. Monteverdi’s final masterpiece, where the beauty of the arias vanquished the decadence of the storyline, was first performed in the year of his death. For decades John Eliot Gardiner has been at the forefront of Monteverdi performance and scholarship, and for the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth in 2017 he conducted all three of the composer’s surviving full-length operas. This semi-staged production, recorded in Venice’s historical Teatro La Fenice is part of that acclaimed cycle.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7297D)

OA1360BD (DVD)
[Opus Arte]

The Art of Lauren Cuthbertson

The Royal Ballet

Joby TALBOT (b. 1971)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lauren Cuthbertson • Sergei Polunin • Edward Watson
Zenaida Yanowsky • Steven Macrae
Barry Wordsworth, Conductor • Christopher Wheeldon, Director

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Romeo and Juliet

Federico Bonelli • Lauren Cuthbertson
Barry Wordsworth, Conductor • Kenneth MacMillan, Director

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
The Nutcracker

Lauren Cuthbertson • Federico Bonelli
Francesca Hayward • Alexander Campbell
Peter Wright • Boris Gruzin, Conductor

The Cellist / The Two Pigeons

Lauren Cuthbertson • Marcelino Sambé
Matthew Ball • Vadim Muntagirov
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House • Hetty Snell
Andre Molino, Conductor (The Cellist) • Barry Wordsworth, Conductor (The Two Pigeons)

Since joining The Royal Ballet in 2002, Lauren Cuthbertson has become a much-loved member of the Company and this special boxed set showcases why – combining five outstanding performances by one of the world’s leading ballerinas.

This collection includes two iconic roles she created for The Royal Ballet: the fun-filled, eponymous Alice (“the part she was born to play.” The Daily Telegraph) in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; and Jacqueline du Pré in the biographical work The Cellist by Cathy Marston. The latter is paired with Frederick Ashton’s delightful The Two Pigeons in a new collection created especially for this box. Finally, two all-time classics feature Cuthbertson as the Sugar-Plum Fairy in Peter Wright’s magical production of The Nutcracker, and then as a heart-breaking Juliet in Kenneth MacMillan’s signature work, Romeo and Juliet.

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