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In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see http://www.naxos.com/newreleases.asp), Naxos also distributes several leading labels in many countries around the world. Here is a choice selection of recent releases from some of these distributed labels.

LABEL OF THE MONTH: Tafelmusik Media

Renowned for its dynamic, engaging, and soulful performances, Tafelmusik is one of the world's leading period-instrument ensembles, performing on instruments and in styles appropriate for the era of the music. They are Canada's most toured orchestra, having performed in over 350 cities in 32 countries, and perform some 80 concerts a year for their loyal and enthusiastic audience in Toronto.

Tafelmusik reaches millions of people through its extensive touring, critically acclaimed recordings, broadcasts, new media, and artistic-community partnerships. Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra recently announced their new music director, Elisa Citterio, who takes over from the inspired leadership of Jeanne Lamon.

Buy now
SAINT-GEORGES, J.B.C. de: Le Mozart Noir (Documentary, 2016)
Gilardeau, Melsted, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Lamon
Tafelmusik Media TMK1031DVDCD [DVD + CD set] | TMK1032CD [CD]

This award-winning film uncloaks the mystery of Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a Black musician from the 18th century. The film portrays Saint-Georges’ rise to become one of France’s most popular heroes, and his tragic fall from history through dramatic recreations and interviews with expert musicians and musicologists. Le Mozart Noir employs the music of Saint-Georges, as interpreted by Jeanne Lamon and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, as a window into the spirit of this remarkable historical figure.

Selected CDs

Accentus Music

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, "Pathétique", 14, "Moonlight" and 23, "Appassionata"
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BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, "Pathétique", 14,
"Moonlight" and 23, "Appassionata"

Sunwook Kim
Accentus Music ACC-30409

After his first album with Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Nos. 21 and 29, Sunwook Kim's third solo release with Accentus Music presents an impressive interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven's three most well-known piano sonatas: Pathetique, Moonlight Sonata, and Appassionata. Sunwook Kim won the first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006. He has matured to become a subtle and accomplished Beethoven specialist, not least thanks to his partnership with the Beethoven House in Bonn, whose unique collection he often consults in his preparation of Beethoven's works. Kim stays close to the original score, yet nevertheless provides a very personal interpretation, which reveals a new and exceptional reading that stands out from the abundance of existing recordings of these three piano sonatas.

BR-Klassik

MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 9
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MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 9
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jansons
BR-Klassik 900151

Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony was composed between 1909 and 1920 in Toblach, in a kind of creative frenzy. It was first performed in Vienna on June 26, 1912 by the Vienna Philharmonic, under the baton of Bruno Walter. Mahler had already died on May 18, 1911, and was no longer able to experience the première of his last completed work. Willem Mengelberg, the first ardent conductor of the composer's works, wrote in his score: "Mahler's soul sings its farewell!"

The Ninth Symphony represents the culmination of a development process. Its progressive chromaticism and maximum utilization of the tonal are here taken to their limits, and for the first time, beyond them. Indeed, the two movements that frame the work depart from the tonal entirely, pointing clearly to the dawn of a new musical epoch. Alban Berg even called this symphony "the first work of New Music".

Capriccio

LEVINA, Z.A.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
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LEVINA, Z.A.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Lettberg, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Matiakh
Capriccio C5269

Born in Ukraine, Zara Alexandrovna Levina (1906-76) witnessed two world wars and the Russian Revolution, as well as the collapse and totalitarian reconstruction of her homeland. She lived under the constant pressure of state censorship, particularly in the 1920s and 30s. Remarkably, she succeeded in maintaining her unmistakable musical voice in the face of such overwhelming difficulties. Thirty years separate the composition of her two piano concertos.

The first carries echoes of the grand Romantic piano concerto tradition, with its virtuosity and orchestration respectively calling to mind Rachmaninov and Rimsky- Korsakov. The second was written a year before Levina's death from chronic heart disease and is consequently more introspective and enigmatic. She died in Moscow in 1976, a well-respected and much-performed composer, beloved of professional musicians and the public alike.

Other Exciting New Releases:

CD Accord

MIELCZEWSKI, M.: Vocal Music
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MIELCZEWSKI, M.: Vocal Music
Bartnik, Brown, Butryn, Gocman, Kozlowski, Král, Lajtkep, Łykowski, Makal, Olech, Ryman, Turalska, Venner, Wroclaw Baroque Ensemble, Kosendiak
CD Accord CDAccordACD227

Andrzej Kosendiak found himself experiencing a renewed fascination with repertoire from 17th and 18th century composers with whom he'd been acquainted with at the beginning of his musical path. During his preparation for this release, he was torn between the availability of knowledge about the works in question and the sensibilities of a performer living in the second decade of the 21st century. The idea of performing Mielczewski's vespers in the way they were performed in larger and richer centers like Gdansk or Wroclaw in the second half of the 17th century seemed highly appealing.

In the double choir works, Kosendiak was particularly mindful of the ensembles' spatial arrangement (placed opposite each other) and that it be reflected in the sound of the recording. For space plays an exceptionally vital role in Mielczewski's works written in the spirit of the Benetian polychoral tradition. The acoustics of the NFM offer fantastic opportunities of realizing the composer's spatial concepts.

Cedille

SAMPSON, D. / NEWMAN, J. / BRYANT, S. / WINSLOW, C.: The John Corigliano Effect (Chamber Music)
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SAMPSON, D. / NEWMAN, J. / BRYANT, S. /
WINSLOW, C.: The John Corigliano Effect (Chamber Music)

Gaudete Brass
Cedille CDR90000-169

Gaudete Brass, a quintet devoted to presenting serious brass chamber music and commissioning new works, brings a fresh perspective to music of John Corigliano with an inventive album of brass works by the prolific American composer and his protégés. “The excellent Gaudete Brass” (Gramophone) honors Corigliano. He was a winner of Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and a Pulitzer Prize, with world-première recordings of his groundbreaking Fanfares to Music for on- and off-stage brass choirs, his stately Antiphon for double brass quintet, and a new arrangement of the Rossini-esque Overture from his popular Gazebo Dances.

Gaudete commissioned the title track, Steven Bryant’s sevenfive, in honor of Corigliano’s 75th birthday, and the numbers seven and five figure prominently in its musical architecture. David Sampson’s boisterous Entrance opens the program, while his surprisingly restrained Still is luxuriously lyrical. Jonathan Newman’s Prayers of Steel evokes the Midwest landscapes in Carl Sandburg’s poetry. Jeremy Howard Beck’s Roar exploits the brasses’ ability to do just that. Conrad Winslow’s The Records of a Lost Tribe summons an imaginary, bygone civilization. All works except Entrance receive their world-première recordings on this album.

Delos

GRIEG, E.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 and 3
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GRIEG, E.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 and 3
Kazazyan, Kopachevsky
Delos DE3523

On Haik Kazazyan's first album for Delos, Opera Fantasies, the brilliant American violin virtuoso demonstrated the fiery, passionate, and technically astonishing sides of his artistry. And the same musical virtues are certainly on display here, in his glowing rendition of the three violin sonatas by the Norwegian master Edvard Grieg. In this new album–with dazzling and soulful collaboration from the rising young Russian piano wizard Philipp Kopachevsky–he also applies the sensitivity, subtlety, and interpretive insight needed to bring these three chamber masterpieces to vibrant life. Composed across a period ranging from Grieg's early twenties through middle age, these comparatively unfamiliar pieces not only confirm the composer's winning ways with melodic invention and nationalistic impulse, but also serve as a revealing guide to Grieg's evolution as a composer.

Grand Piano

KAPRÁLOVÁ, V.: Complete Piano Music
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KAPRÁLOVÁ, V.: Complete Piano Music
Giorgio Koukl
Grand Piano GP708

Despite her tragically brief life, Vítězslava Kaprálová is now considered the most important female Czech composer of the 20th century, her prolific output, abundant with fresh and bold ideas, passion, tenderness and youthful energy. This in-depth exploration, representing some of the very best of her music, includes early gems such as the April Preludes, the exquisite and sophisticated Variations, the remarkable Sonata appassionata and her final Dance for piano, reconstructed by Giorgio Koukl from its only surviving sketch.

Other Exciting New Releases:

OehmsClassics

BRAHMS, J.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3
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BRAHMS, J.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3
Seidel-Hell, Turban
OehmsClassics OC1867

Ingolf Turban has recorded the violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms to celebrate his 30th performing jubilee in April 2016. This artist is proud to offer his listeners something special to stand out from the significant competition in this field. Each sonata receives its own instrument in order to develop the special tone for the particular voice with which Brahms, as the lover, speaks to his secret beloved with different “voices”, as it were, all from the same mouth. Ingolf Turban has performed as a soloist in the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin and Munich, the Kennedy Center in Washington, New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Zurich’s Tonhalle, and La Scala in Milan. He became known worldwide after recording Paganini’s violin concertos in the television documentary Paganini’s Secret (2006).

Ondine

LEIFS, S. / SHOSTAKOVICH, D. / HANSON, H.: Earquake - The Loudest Classical Music of All Time (Orchestral Music)
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LEIFS, S. / SHOSTAKOVICH, D. / HANSON, H.: Earquake - The Loudest Classical Music of All Time (Orchestral Music)
Finnish Philharmonic Choir, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Segerstam
Ondine ODE1210-2

This album brings together some of the loudest, most exciting music ever written which has been arranged for continuous listening. With that in mind, three quiet "valleys" have been programmed to provide contrast with the very loud music that follows them. You may find that the contrast actually adds to the excitement. The 140-piece Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Leif Segerstram includes, among others, a 22-person percussion section, four sets of rocks hit with hammers, two heavy metal chains, anvils, steel plates, sirens, and several dozen cannon shots. The final track, Hekla, is probably the loudest single piece of music ever written. It describes, in very graphic terms, the eruption of Hekla, Iceland's largest active volcano.

Other Exciting New Releases:

Orfeo

Stoyanova, Krassimira - PUCCINI, G. / MASCAGNI, P. / CILEA, F. / CATALANI, A.: Opera Arias (Soprano)
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Stoyanova, Krassimira - PUCCINI, G. / MASCAGNI, P. / CILEA, F. / CATALANI, A.: Opera Arias (Soprano)
Stoyanova, Munich Radio Orchestra, Baleff
Orfeo C899171A

After her debut CD I palpiti d’amour (2008), followed by Slavic Opera Arias (2011) and a Verdi album (2014), the Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova now turns her attention to verismo – in the broadest sense of the word. Again and again she lends those roles by Puccini, Mascagni, Cilea (Adriana Lecouvreur), Giordano (Andrea Chénier) and Catalani (La Wally) her inimitably nuanced and finely resonant lirico spinto soprano, a voice which is both flexible and capable of the highest notes while possessing an enchanting sonority and profound middle range.

Other Minds

AMIRKHANIAN, C.: Mugic / Seatbelt Seatbelt / Dutiful Ducks / Muchrooms / Mahogany Ballpark (Lexical Music)
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AMIRKHANIAN, C.: Mugic / Seatbelt Seatbelt / Dutiful Ducks / Muchrooms / Mahogany Ballpark (Lexical Music)
Amirkhanian, Antheil, Duykers, Giteck, Goldstein, Koremans, Law, Lubberhuisen, Napper, Reiziger, Shumaker, Vervoorn
Other Minds OM1023-2

When Charles Amirkhanian’s Lexical Music was released on pioneering Bay Area record label 1750 Arch Records in 1980, it was heralded as a masterpiece of the then-nascent text-sound poetry scene. The New York Times called Amirkhanian “expert at the sort of things his imitators do not do half so well as he.” Lexical Music is a sort of high water mark for American text-sound poetry, an album with many imitators but few equals. It sounds like nothing before or since. The style developed in electronic music studios across Europe primarily in Scandinavia, but was slow to develop similarly in the United States. The Bay Area proved to be fertile ground for the movement, due in part to Amirkhanian’s work and support through his position as Music Director at Berkeley’s KPFA-FM Radio.

Paladino Music

GENZMER, H.: Trautonium Music
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GENZMER, H.: Trautonium Music
M. and S. Bauer, Brüllmann, Kahlert, Krenn, Pichler, Seßler, Veihelmann, Manhart
Paladino Music PMR0081

It’s hard to believe, but the Trautonium is back! Developed in 1930, the death of his only interpreter Oskar Sala in 2002 marked the end of the Trautonium’s history. Thanks to German composer Peter Pichler because there is a new artist playing this wonderful instrument in concerts. He also records albums like the present release. The Trautonium was originally invented by Friedrich Trautwein at the Musikhochschule’s music and radio lab, the Rundfunkversuchstelle. The monophonic electronic instrument utilizes a manual made of resistor wire over a metal plate, which is then pressed to create a sound. Gliding on this wire creates vibrato and expressive playing. Munich-based musician Peter Pichler heard the instrument as a young man and was fascinated by its sound and emotional impact. He met Oskar Sala in 1996 and thus much of Sala’s knowledge has been preserved.

Other Exciting New Releases:

Sono Luminus

BURHANS, C. / SHAW, C. / ANDRES, T. / ADAM, J.L.: Thrive on Routine (Chamber Music)
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BURHANS, C. / SHAW, C. / ANDRES, T. /
ADAM, J.L.: Thrive on Routine (Chamber Music)

Andres, Jensen, American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Sono Luminus DSL-92211

This album represents the debut recording of ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble) in many ways. The collection of pieces here was chosen for very pure and simple reasons; each work is a piece we love and to which we feel quite intimately connected. The performance of this music is an expression of affection and closeness, not just to each other as performers, but also to the composer who wrote it. Three of the four composers featured are also performers in ACME.

“This curated selection of pieces comes from different but rhyming sonic worlds and is some of the music we have grown to love the most in this varied and fast-changing world.” – Clarice Jensen, ACME Cellist & Artistic Director

Other Exciting New Releases:

SWR Classic

Wunderlich, Fritz - ANDERS, H. / MEISEL, W. / GROTHE, F. / INCZÉDY, T. / KAISER, E.: Hits from the 50s (Tenor Vocal Recital) (1953-1965)
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Wunderlich, Fritz - ANDERS, H. / MEISEL, W. / GROTHE, F. /
INCZÉDY, T. / KAISER, E.: Hits from the 50s (Tenor Vocal Recital)
(1953-1965)

Stingl, Wunderlich, Kleines Orchester des Sudwestfunks,
Rundfunkorchester des SWF, Sinfonieorchester des Südwestrundfunks, Mattes, Smola, Stech

SWR Classic SWR19029CD

This release is the 10th in a unique collection of popular German songs, performed by Fritz Wunderlich, featuring recordings from the 1950's and 60's. It is well known that Wunderlich was an exceptional singer, yet it never fails to surprise when hearing him singing works from different genres and discovering how he developed from his early performances to later in his career. This album focuses on the recordings which began his career and the same repertoire which he later returned to with a more mature sound and approach. Both this release and all future volumes contain recordings that Wunderlich made for the company from which SWR grew.

Other Exciting New Releases:

Tactus

LEGNANI, L.: Guitar Music
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LEGNANI, L.: Guitar Music
Raffaele Carpino
Tactus TC791201

Versatile musician, singer, violinist, luthier and guitarist, Luigi Legnani is a figure characterized by many different aspects. Born in Ferrara towards the end of the 18th century, he was a prolific and acclaimed composer and performer. He also designed interesting solutions – finally taken also by famous Viennese instrument makers – who perfected both the guitar structure and its tonal capacity. Appreciated in 1841 as “The Paganini of the guitar” Legnani leaves us a repertoire of over 250 works, most of them unknown, ranging from purely didactic compositions to those dedicated to the general public concerts. Raffaele Carpino, after a thorough investigation over the life and works of Legnani, finally proposes and interprets his works for the first time with absolute fidelity to the original 19th-century scores, approaching the author’s thought with the correct philological attitude.

Other Exciting New Releases:
Selected DVDs

Arthaus Musik

Buy now
WAGNER, R.: Der Ring des Nibelungen [Operas] (Deutsches Nationaltheater, Weimar, 2008)
Various Artists
Arthaus Musik 109320 [4-Blu-ray Disc Box Set, Full-HD] |
109319 [7-DVD Box Set]

In 2008 the Nationaltheater Weimar started a new production of Richard Wagner’s unique tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen. The conductor is Carl St. Clair, a former student of Leonard Bernstein. With Michael Schulz’s fine and highly intelligent staging, this new Ring production becomes an outstanding document of contemporary opera theater. Outside Germany, the name Weimar tends to evoke mixed feelings and pictures of German history of the last hundred years. Within Germany, Weimar means a town in the state of Thuringia arguably saturated with the “Deutsche Kultur” of the “Weimarer Klassik”, the legendary Bauhaus, and finally the life and work of Franz Liszt and his son-in-law Richard Wagner. In Weimar Richard Wagner began composing the first part of his Ring cycle, Das Rheingold.

Other Exciting New Releases:

Bel Air Classiques

GRIGOROVICH, Yuri: The Golden Age (Dance Documentary, 2016)
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GRIGOROVICH, Yuri: The Golden Age (Dance Documentary, 2016)
Various Artists
Bel Air Classiques BAC137 [DVD]

Adored by some, vilified by others, Yuri Grigorovich was nicknamed the “Tsar of the Bolshoi”. The choreographer created several of the iconic ballets which were to bring his troupe fame in the Soviet Union and also internationally. Spectacular productions like Ivan the Terrible and Spartacus, which combined ancient epics with great national frescos, were discovered by western audiences for the first time. His 31-year tenure at the helm of one of the world’s most prestigious companies coincides with “the golden age” of soviet ballet. Sneguirev's film addresses Yuri Grigorovitch directly, in the form of a letter: Interspersing interviews with artists and colleagues of Grigorovitch, we look back over the career of this dancer and choreographer, which from its origins in Leningrad, and later in Moscow, would bring him international renown. The director also includes several extracts of Grigorovitch's ballets, set in context with the history of Soviet Ballet and with history in general.

BR-Klassik

Buy now
BACH, J.S.: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
Landshamer, Schmitt, Vondung, Wolf, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Concerto Köln, Dijkstra
BR-Klassik 900516 [DVD] | 900910 [CD]

For Bach, the Mass in B minor marked the culmination and also the end point of his life’s work as a composer. This "great Catholic Mass," the only mass he composed, and in which he set to music the complete Ordinary of the Latin Mass, was his last great vocal work. The Mass, completed in 1748/49, is a musical masterpiece in which the Baroque musical splendor is always to the fore, though reflective moments and intense, heartfelt chorales are also very important elements.

The Latin Ordinarium constitutes the silk thread along which all these musical pearls are strung. Even after almost three hundred years, the music of Bach's Mass in B minor is still animated, fresh, and a true Baroque delight – whether heard live in concert or recorded. What makes this concert version of April 2016 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz so special that it should definitely be added to any audio collection? The fresh voices of the young but excellent vocal soloists: the regularly praised "astonishing three-dimensionality" and "crystalline clarity" of the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of Peter Dijkstra and of course of the renowned period instrument ensemble Concerto Köln; and last but not least, the exciting live atmosphere of a concert event that delighted the audiences, and even managed to coax the word “magical” from Munich’s music critics – rare praise, but in this case, richly deserved!

C Major

OPERN GALA - Highlights of the Opera
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OPERN GALA - Highlights of the Opera
Biasio, Gillebo, Johannsen, Kermes, Luciano, Novikova, Prudenskaya, Skerath, Chor des Theater Bonn, Bonn Beethoven Orchestra, Blunier
C Major 739908 [DVD]

The fifth Opera Gala for the German AIDS Foundation took place on May 21, 2016 at the Bonn Opera House in Germany. At this performance, some of the world’s most illustrious vocalists performed, such as Simone Kermes, Roberto De Biasio, Marina Prudenskaya, and Robin Johannsen. This release features all of the very best highlights of that outstanding evening. Conducted by Stefan Blunier, music from Mozart, Gounod, Beethoven, Verdi, Delibes, Donizetti, Offenbach, and Rossini is included. This production was filmed in high definition and mastered from an HD source, and includes over an hour of music. This is the next best thing to being present at the fantastic concert.

Other Exciting New Releases:

Dynamic

Buy now
MERCADANTE, S.: Francesca da Rimini [Opera]
(Festival della Valle d'Itria, 2016)

Bonilla, Martinez, Matteo, Rivas, Sungu, Wakizono,
Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir, Cluj-Napoca Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia, Luisi

Dynamic DYN-57753 [Blu-ray, HD] | DYN-37753 [DVD] |
CDS7753.03 [CD]

Although written almost two centuries ago by Saverio Mercadante, and eagerly anticipated by many theaters of the day, Francesca da Rimini was, in fact, never staged. A long series of incidents prevented it from reaching production until 185 years after its composition. The long forgotten manuscript, remembered only for its history of bad luck, suddenly re-emerged five years ago in Madrid, the city where it was to have been premièred in 1831.

The soprano Leonor Bonilla (Francesca) is most impressive in the title role: she portrays the character's psychological frailty as well as her determination, drawing on a solid vocal technique and delivering incredible inflections and confident, dazzling vocal lines that easily soar into her high register. She maintains a stage presence that’s both casual and poignant, even venturing some dance steps with the corps de ballet.

Aya Wakizono is an admirable Paolo. Endowed with a superb mezzo voice, she delivers consistently throughout her range, fluently delivering the virtuoso coloratura lines. No less demanding is the tenor role of Lanciotto, with its daunting leaps and ornamentation worthy of the Neapolitan Rossini. Mert Süngü will no doubt in time improve on his occasional touches of harshness, but he tackles all the difficulties of the part with an impressive vocal assurance and expressivity.

Other Exciting New Releases:

Opus Arte

Buy now
LIEBERMANN, L.: Frankenstein [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2016)
Bonelli, McRae, Morera, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House Orchestra, Kessels
Opus Arte OABD7182D [Blu-ray, HD] | OA1231D [DVD]

Opulent and intimate, this enchanting chamber piece combines dance, text and music in a fascinating exploration of the life and loves of Queen Elizabeth I. Choreographer Will Tuckett and playwright and librettist Alasdair Middleton co-direct this special performance, which brings together Royal Ballet Principals Zenaida Yanowsky and Carlos Acosta with actors Laura Caldow, Sonya Cullingford and Julia Righton in an atmospheric and nuanced tribute to the remarkable nature of this extraordinary woman. Martin Yates’ original score recalls the structures and harmonies of Elizabethan music, in a modern reimagining of a typical Tudor-period ensemble, deftly performed by world-renowned cellist Raphael Wallfisch and acclaimed baritone David Kempster.

Other Exciting New Releases:



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