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In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see, 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: Bel Air Classiques

Founded in 2004 by the producer François Duplat and managed by Jacques-François Suzzoni, Bel Air Classiques specializes in audiovisual productions of classical music programmes (operas, ballets, concerts and theatre) on DVD and Blu-ray. The label strives to achieve a very high artistic and production standard in association with many of the great opera houses, such as the Opéra de Paris, The Bolshoi Theatre, The Berlin Staatsoper, The Mariinsky Theatre, La Scala Milan, The Grand Théâtre de Genève and The Munich Staatsoper; it also collaborates with leading festivals such as the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Working with renowned directors such as Andy Sommer, Vincent Bataillon and Don Kent, as well as artists of the highest calibre that include Simon Rattle, Roberto Alagna and William Christie, Bel Air Classiques' growing catalogue of over 130 titles has been recognized by prestigious awards from the international music press.

BALANCHINE, G.: Walpurgisnacht Ballet / Sonatine / La Valse / Symphony in C [Ballets] (New York City Ballet, 2016)
New York City Ballet, Orchestre Prométhée, Capps
Bel Air Classiques BAC439 [Blu-ray, HD] | BAC139 [DVD]

The New York City Ballet, with its collection of extraordinary dancers and its unique repertoire, is one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world. This exceptional production, performed in Paris after eight years of absence, revolves around three great French composers who inspired NYCB founder George Balanchine: Charles Gounod, Maurice Ravel and Georges Bizet. The four ballets performed, choreographed from 1925 to 1980, perfectly encapsulate Balanchine's genius and his very own neo-classical style.

What is known today as Walpurgisnacht Ballet was a ballet choreographed for the opera Faust (Gounod) at the Paris Opera in 1975. It premièred as an independent piece in New York in 1980. Sonatine, set to a music by Maurice Ravel, was created by two New York City French principals, the recently departed Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. La Valse was originally composed by Ravel for the Ballets Russes and Serge Diaghilev, then exiled in France, shortly before Balanchine entered the company. Symphony in C (Bizet), better known as Le Palais de Cristal, premièred at the Paris Opera. A spectacular tribute to Balanchine, beautifully served by the breath-taking technique of these American dancers, who rank today among the best in the world.

Other Exciting New Releases:
Selected CDs and LPs


PÄRT, A.: Collage über B-A-C-H / 7 Magnificat Antiphons / Cecilia, vergine romana
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PÄRT, A.: Collage über B-A-C-H / 7 Magnificat Antiphons /
Cecilia, vergine romana

Covey-Crump, Hanft, James, Jones, Potter, Yeon-Hee Kwak,
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Hilliard Ensemble, Munich Radio Orchestra, Dijkstra, King, Schirmer

BR-Klassik 900319

Arvo Pärt has succeeded in bringing sacred music back to a broader audience, and away from the confines of the church service, more than almost any other contemporary composer. Even before his emigration from the Soviet Union to Austria and then to Germany, Pärt had already invented what he termed the tintinnabuli style of composition. He produced an early and important example of this style in 1977 with the Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, scored for string orchestra and bell which is also a key feature of the three great choral works that form the greater part of this new release, namely the Seven Magnificat Antiphons for mixed choir a capella, the large-scale oratorio Cecilia, vergine romana for mixed choir and orchestra, and the vocal work Litany – Prayers of St John Chrysostom for Each Hour of the Day and Night for soloists, mixed choir and orchestra. Also included on this album is the Collage on B-A-C-H for strings, oboe, harpsichord and piano. Composed in 1964, before Pärt's aesthetic reorientation, it is one of his most famous works. Despite its radical reduction of means of expression, Pärt's music demands the greatest care in execution from those performing it, masterfully realized in the present recording by the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester.

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ULLMANN, V.: Piano Concerto / Piano Sonata No. 7 /
Variations and Double Fugue

Ernst, Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra, Feltz
Capriccio C5294

With the biography of Viktor Ullmann, a prominent individual fate in musical history stands out drastically from the anonymity of the millions of victims the Nazi regime exacted in the course of its attempted obliteration of individual minorities and particularly the mass extermination of the Jewish population in its sphere of influence. It can be only roughly surmised what striking musical movement was thus practically completely destroyed and was hence unable to continue its thrilling development into the second half of the 20th century. It was during these consistently difficult periods that the Piano Concerto and Piano Sonata No. 7 have been composed, which demonstrates how clearly Ullmann was able to separate external circumstances and his musical imagination.

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CD Accord

Markowicz, Marcin - KORNGOLD, E.W. / ROTA, N. / SCHNITTKE, A. / GLASS, P.: Different Things (Violin Recital)
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Markowicz, Marcin - KORNGOLD, E.W. / ROTA, N. / SCHNITTKE, A. / GLASS, P.: Different Things (Violin Recital)
Markowicz, Skrobiński
CD Accord CDAccordACD235

Korngold, Rota, Schnittke, Glass – four different artistic personalities. Each of these composers was active in totally different conditions; and therefore their life circumstances and consequently their artistic choices are incomparable. What may connect Korngold and Nino Rota are their early debuts as composers – both were prodigies. Seeking analogies in the lives of Alfred Schnittke and Philip Glass would come to naught. There is, however, another common denominator for their work – all of them were hugely successful in writing film music. Korngold codified its modern canons ruling to this day. Without Nino Rota, it would be difficult to imagine Federico Fellini's masterpieces. Alfred Schnittke found in the realm of cinema a domain of relative artistic freedom; Philip Glass a platform for his ambitiously non-clichéd art, opposing the musical mainstream of the last decades of the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st century. Is this a sufficient reason to compare their non-cinematographic compositions for violin and piano? If not, one could find another one, as each of the four pieces in its unique way runs a dialogue with the past.

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Osorio, Jorge Federico - SCHUBERT, F. / BRAHMS, J.: Final Thoughts - The Last Piano Works of Schubert and Brahms (Piano Recital)
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Osorio, Jorge Federico - SCHUBERT, F. /
BRAHMS, J.: Final Thoughts - The Last Piano Works of Schubert and Brahms (Piano Recital)

Jorge Federico Osorio
Cedille CDR90000-171

Jorge Federico Osorio, "an imaginative interpreter with a powerful technique" (The New York Times), deftly pairs Brahms' final solo piano works with those by Schubert for an inventive program of richly satisfying works that capture the essence of each composer’s towering individuality. Here, Osorio records Brahms' Three Intermezzos, Op. 117, and Six Piano Pieces, Op 118, which he last recorded nearly two decades ago, to great acclaim: "Quite marvelous," said BBC Music Magazine. “It's clear that Jorge Federico Osorio is an important Brahmsian," proclaimed the Chicago Tribune.

On his new album, Osorio's penchant for color accentuates the individual character of these concentrated miniatures. Osorio has also chosen to record Schubert’s final two Piano Sonatas, D. 959 and D. 960, epic in scale and brimming with melodic invention. His insights into the music's architecture yield eloquent performances of these spacious, ambitious masterworks.


LANGGAARD, R.: Piano Works, Vol. 3
Berit Johansen Tange
Dacapo 6.220631

Apocalyptic and paradisiac visions of good and evil meet aphoristic miniatures of nine small, mainly malignant insects. The rousing graphic imagery of Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) is on full display in this third volume of piano works by the deeply original Danish composer. Including three world première recordings, Berit Johansen Tange captures the mysterious forces, poetic gracefulness and absurd hysteria that are all part of Langgaard's both dark and wondrous expression.


DEBUSSY, C.: 12 Etudes
Paulina Zamora
Delos DE3530

Debussy's Twelve Études have long been regarded as being among the most enigmatic of his piano works – and have thus been among the least often performed. Chilean-American virtuoso Pualina Zamora, however, is one of today's more adventurous leading pianists championing these keyboard masterpieces. In this second Delos album featuring her artistry, Paulina's brilliant performances of Debussy's seldom-heard etudes attest to both her technical powers and interpretive acumen. And she continues to prove to her audiences that – beneath these studies' outer veneers of finger-twisting technical difficulty – lie marvels of rare atmosphere, tone color and sheer beauty.


PROKOFIEV: Piano Sonatas Nos. 6, 9 / Pieces from Cinderella / Piano Pieces (Musical Friendship) (Richter Live in Japan, 1980-1981)
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PROKOFIEV: Piano Sonatas Nos. 6, 9 / Pieces from Cinderella /
Piano Pieces (Musical Friendship) (Richter Live in Japan, 1980-1981)

Sviatoslav Richter
Divox CDX-25252-32

DIVOX proudly presents a re-release of these quite spectacular recordings of Sviatoslav Richter's live performances in Tokyo in 1981, which were unavailable for several years. The young Sviatoslav Richter first became acquainted with Prokofiev's Sonata No. 6 in A major in a private circle of musicians, where the 49-year-old composer presented it to his colleagues. Richter was so thrilled by ''the uncommon clarity of the style and the constructional perfection of the music'' that he studied it during the summer and gave the first concert performance on October 14 at a recital which also featured his teacher Heinrich Neuhaus. Prokofiev thanked Richter for his commitment in 1947 by dedicating the Sonata No. 9, Op. 103 to him. However, the world première was delayed for several years, and it was only on the occasion of the composer's 60th birthday, April 23, 1951 when Richter first performed it.

The recording featured here, was first released on the Memoria label 25 years ago. The recordings were made by representatives of Yamaha, who had won permission from Richter to record the concerts at Tokyo's Bunka Kaikan Hall, using merely a single cassette tape-recorder. The resulting distortions and many of the background noises have been eliminated in a painstaking process of reconstruction and restoration.

Grand Piano

SATIE, E.: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 (New Salabert Edition)
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SATIE, E.: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 (New Salabert Edition)
Nicolas Horvath
Grand Piano GP761

Always inventive and innovation-seeking, Erik Satie's earliest works show traces of Chopin as an influence but he soon came to reject virtuosity and tradition, choosing instead to remain with the quintessentially French traits of simplicity, clarity, precision, elegance and economy. Satie's hauntingly beautiful floating melodies and modal tonalities are unforgettably compelling, combining bygone classical ages with Parisian sophistication.

This landmark recording uses both a new and corrected edition of Satie's music and Cosima Wagner's own 1881 Erard piano, his instrument maker of choice. Recognized as a leading interpreter of Liszt's music, Nicola Horvath has in recent years become one of the most sought-after pianists of his generation. Holder of a number of awards, including First Prize of the Scriabin and the Luigi Nono International Competitions, he frequently organizes events and concerts of unusual length, sometimes over twelve hours, such as Philip Glass' complete piano music or Erik Satie's Vexations, and composers from a number of countries have written for him.

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BILLONE, P.: ITI KE MI / Equilibrio. Cerchio
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BILLONE, P.: ITI KE MI / Equilibrio. Cerchio
Marco Fusi
Kairos 0015019KAI

With these two compositions, Pierluigi Billone adds new phonic resources to the possibilities of bowed instruments, new technical capacities, and new perspectives of inquiry. He even composed works which are not completely comfortable, because they take the performers far from their well-known territory. This reminds us of the importance of researching without compromise, in unexplored territories, with curiosity and confidence.

Born in 1960 in Italy, Pierluigi Billone now lives in Vienna. He studied composition with Salvatore Sciarrino and Helmut Lachenmann. His music has been performed by relevant interpreters in festivals such as Wien Modern, Festival d'Automne Paris, Donaueschinger Musiktagen, and Wittener Tagen fur neue Kammermusik, and regularly broadcasted from the most important radio stations in and beyond Europe. His works have received international awards such as the Kompositionspreis der Stadt Stuttgart, the Wiener Internationaler Kompositionspreis, and the Kompositionspreis der Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikstiftung.

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SUK, J.: Asrael
Essen Philharmonic Orchestra, Netopil
OehmsClassics OC1865

This is one of the few recordings of Josef Suk's rarely performed Symphony, with which the composer came to terms with personal blows of fate, captured in this recording with sensitivity and meticulous detail. This production marks the beginning of a highly promising collaboration between the Essen Philharmonic and OehmsClassics. Meyerbeer's Le prophete has already been planned for 2018.

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BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 5
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BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 5
Vogt, Royal Northern Sinfonia
Ondine ODE1292-2

Lars Vogt continues his Ondine recordings with a new cycle of Beethoven's Piano Concertos. Conducting the Royal Northern Sinfonia from the keyboard, Lars Vogt shows the brilliance and the beauty of these two-majestic works of the classic piano concerto literature. Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 5 feature two opposite sides in Beethoven's career. Concerto No. 1 is a masterpiece by a young composer in his 20s, who is already looking into new dimensions of musical expression. Concerto No. 5, commonly known as the Emperor concerto, was written between his 6th and 7th Symphonies when Vienna was under Napoleon's occupation. Despite of its joyful, optimistic, and hopeful character, occasionally echoes of war disrupt the work creating a strong impact. The work was premiered in November 1811.


MENDELSSOHN, F.: Symphony No. 5, "Reformation" / WIDMANN, J.: Versuch über die Fuge
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MENDELSSOHN, F.: Symphony No. 5, "Reformation" /
WIDMANN, J.: Versuch über die Fuge

Erdmann, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Widmann
Orfeo C921171A

The second installment of Jörg Widmann's involvement with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and their recordings of Felix Mendelssohn's symphonies is devoted to what is known as the composer's Fifth, in keeping with the upcoming celebrations to mark 500 years since the "Reformation." It was not published until 1868, more than 20 years after his death, by his son Paul under the posthumous opus number 107.

Mendelssohn's complex and (not merely) aesthetic experiment undertaken at a time poised between revolution and restoration is truly fascinating – especially when one adds in the extra dimension of the historical allusion to the Reformation. The daring and abundantly formal characteristics of the work offer more than ample material for such analysis, from the confrontation of the artistic, canonically-elaborated Catholic intonation of the Psalms employing a Reformational wind chorale over the Dresden Amen that both Wagner and Bruckner were to use, through to the superimposition of the sonata writing and chorale variation in the final movement.

For someone like Jörg Widmann, so intimately familiar with the technical and aesthetic dimensions of the art of composition, it was an appealing challenge to contrast the historically fraught and consciously complex experiment by the mature prodigy Mendelssohn with the young Mozart's highly emotional, compositionally concentrated answer to his encounter with Bach’s Fugues, which Baron von Swieten had introduced him to in the 1780s in Vienna: the Fugue in C Minor for two pianos, expanded here by a passionate Adagio and arranged here for string orchestra.

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Orlando Records

Lamb, Eric - DEBUSSY, C. / HONEGGER, A. / IBERT, J. / BACH, J.S.: Icons (Flute Recital)
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Lamb, Eric - DEBUSSY, C. / HONEGGER, A. / IBERT, J. /
BACH, J.S.: Icons (Flute Recital)

Eric Lamb
Orlando Records OR0030

Flutist Eric Lamb exhibits his incredible dynamism with this collection of iconic works from the repertoire. Exploring the depth of his musical interests, Lamb takes us on a journey from the 18th century, with JS Bach's seminal Partita in A minor for solo flute, straight through to the 21st, with Austrian composer Roland Freisitzer's hypnotic Music for Eric Lamb. Along the way, Eric picks up his dear friend, the versatile soprano Anu Komsi, as he explores all of the different characters that can be portrayed by the flute.

Eric Lamb is in demand internationally as a soloist, recitalist, concert curator and chamber musician. Eric performed extensively as a core member of the New York based International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and has been a guest with ensembles, orchestras and at major festivals throughout the US, South America, Germany, Holland, and the UK. He continues to work closely with leading composers and conductors of our time while exploring performance techniques and practices throughout the entire scope of the repertoire. On this recording, Eric performs on a wooden flute by Sankyo Handmade Flutes.

OUR Recordings

HICKEY, S.: A Pacifying Weapon
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HICKEY, S.: A Pacifying Weapon
Petri, Lapland Chamber Orchestra,
Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band, Schuldt, Thorel

OUR Recordings OUR-LP001 [LP]

The featured work on this vinyl maiden voyage is American composer Sean Hickey's three-movement concerto for recorders, winds, brass and percussion, A Pacifying Weapon. Composed as a response to recent, turbulent events, Hickey sought to convey the idea of a "tool or instrument that was capable of providing an instant and irreversible peace." In turning to the recorder, an ancient instrument passed down unchanged through the years, Hickey invoked many aspects of the ancient instrument's personality, from the bucolic, the melancholic and even the militant. An extensive percussion battery enjoys second-billing in Hickey's score, adding both drama and providing an effective foil for the recorder's solo displays.

Sharing honors with both the composer and the soloist are the phenomenally talented ensemble of young musicians from 11 nations, attending the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, who appear for their very first professional recording under the direction of Jean Thorel. Filling out the program is Thomas Clausen's charming Neo-Baroque Concertino for recorder and strings, originally released on Nordic Sound - Tribute to Axel Borup-Jørgensen.

SWR Classic

BARTÓK, B.: The Wooden Prince Suite / Concerto for Orchestra / STRAVINSKY, I.: Pulcinella (Michael Gielen Edition Vol. 5)
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BARTÓK, B.: The Wooden Prince Suite / Concerto for Orchestra / STRAVINSKY, I.: Pulcinella (Michael Gielen Edition Vol. 5)
Elsner, Hollweg, Leonardy, McDaniel, Moser, Ostertag, Rosen,
Anton Webern Choir of Freiburg, Stuttgart Southwest Radio Vocal Ensemble, West German Radio Chorus, Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester des Südwestrundfunks Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Gielen

SWR Classic SWR19023CD

This fifth installment of the Michel Gielen Edition contains works by Bela Bartók and Igor Stravinsky. Gielen greatly admired these composers, whose works he frequently performed. We thus continue the editorial play for the Michael Gielen Edition with Volume 5, which includes many of his first releases or recordings from the 1960s and 1970s. The album also contains a spoken section from Michael Gielen's last concert with his SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg in 2014. Gielen is celebrating his 90th birthday in July 2017.

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SANTUCCI, P.C.: Sacred Music
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SANTUCCI, P.C.: Sacred Music
Bocedi, Boschi, Giuliani, Hernandez, Monari, Nuzzoli, Quero, Schola Cantorium, I Solisti Laudensi, Guglielmetti
Tactus TC921980

Padre Pellegrino Santucci, Friar of the Servants of Mary, was a central figure of the Bolognese musical scene from the 60s until shortly before his death in 2010. Composer, teacher and volcanic divulger, as part of the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi in Bologna created a very active cultural center focused on competitions, conferences, publications and concert seasons involving many of the major international performers of the moment. The armature developed around such a fertile environment quickly crossed the borders of the region, becoming fertile ground for many young scholars, musicians, and passionate audience. Prolific composer, he produced mainly sacred and liturgy music, yet without ignoring the needs of a high-level concert scene.

This world première album offers a panoramic of his works where the organ, both as soloist or together with voices and other instruments, serves as the center of gravity of a musical poetics focused on his great love for the Madonna and for the great traditions of the past, the Gregorian chant and Johann Sebastian Bach. The performances are by passionate young musicians and Tactus' art director Giuseppe Monari at the organ.

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Selected DVDs

Arthaus Musik

VERDI, G.: Il Trovatore [Opera] (Vienna State Opera, 1978) (NTSC)
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VERDI, G.: Il Trovatore [Opera] (Vienna State Opera, 1978) (NTSC)
Aichberger, Cappuccilli, Caslavsky, Cossotto, Domingo, Kabaivanska, Van Dam, Venuti, Zednik, Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Karajan
Arthaus Musik 109334 [DVD]

Il Trovatore was always one of Herbert von Karajan's favorite operas. He conducted it at the very beginning of his career and his first studio recording in 1956 was made in Milan with Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano, but "his" Trovatore really made its mark in the legendary performances given at the Salzburg Festival in 1962, which formed the basis for this successful revival in Vienna. He once declared in an interview that what he loved about this opera was its archetypal human passions, its compression of highly dramatic situations into the smallest conceivable space and Verdi's genius for translating such situations into music.

This 1978 performance is steeped in scandal. Franco Bonisolli was originally cast in the lead role but abandoned the cast during a rehearsal where the public had been admitted entry, and, after throwing his sword at the conductor, left the stage in fury, to be later replaced by Plácido Domingo.

C Major

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BRAHMS, J.: Complete Symphonies
North German Radio Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Hengelbrock
C Major 741104 [Blu-ray. HD] | 741008 [DVD]

Before moving into the Elbphilharmonie, chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and his NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester performed a "Brahms Marathon" with all four symphonies of the Hamburg-born composer in the historic Laeiszhalle. Brahms' music has always played an important role in the history of the orchestra, whose defining interpretations of the symphonies by Brahms and Bruckner have become the ensemble's artistic hallmark. The orchestra, founded in 1945, was led by outstanding conductors such as Günter Wand, Christoph Eschenbach and Christoph von Dohnanyi. Since 2011, chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock is in charge of continuing the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester's history. In the bonus program ''Discovering Brahms'', Thomas Hengelbrock offers interesting background information on all four symphonies. "The evening was more than worth it" (Hamburger Abendblatt).

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DONIZETTI, G.: Rosmonda d'Inghilterra [Opera]
(Fondazione Donizetti, 2016)

Lupinacci, Mei, Pratt, Schmunck, Ulivieri, Donizetti Opera Choir and Orchestra, Rolli
Dynamic DYN-57757 [Blu-ray, HD] | DYN-37757 [DVD] | CDS7757.02 [CD]

Revived after 171 years in oblivion, the staging of Rosmonda d'Inghilterra at Bergamo's Teatro Donizetti proved fascinating for the Italian public. From the excellent cast of singers, Jessica Pratt and Eva Mei gave standout performances. The opera revolves around a tale of love and intrigue surrounding the main protagonists – the famous Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, her husband Henry II of England, and the fair Rosamund de Clifford. Rosmonda is the quintessential innocent, unaware that the man she loves is the King of England and that she has unwittingly become a rival to the much-feared Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor, having already had her first marriage annulled for reasons of consanguinity, is unwilling to see her second marriage also fail. Only the faithful page Arturo, secretly in love with Rosmonda, knows that the Queen is aware of her husband's betrayal; but he too is embroiled in this game of deceit hoping that he will end up winning the girl.

The emotional and dramatic development is very effective. There is not a page in this score without some example of brilliant writing, a captivating theme, a moving passage. It all goes to prove how deeply original Donizetti was and how much there is still to be discovered about this underappreciated composer.

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Opus Arte

DONIZETTI, G.: Lucrezia Borgia [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 1980)
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DONIZETTI, G.: Lucrezia Borgia [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 1980)
Dean, Gelling, Goldthorpe, Howells, Hudson, Jenkins, Kennedy, Kraus, Leggate, Price, Sutherland, Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra, Covent Garden, Bonynge
Opus Arte OA1237D [DVD]

Donizetti's operatic portrayal of Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most demanding roles for a soprano, and only such accomplished stars as Joan Sutherland have risen to the challenge. Lucrezia was notorious in Renaissance Ferrara as much for her beauty as for the political intrigue and suspicious deaths that surrounded her and her family. Here, Sutherland deftly captures the complexity of a powerful, vengeful woman, who is at the same time a loving mother – in the final scenes she chillingly shows her unsuspecting victims the coffins in which they will be buried, but cannot bear the heartbreaking revelations that follow. Richard Bonynge conducts a cast including Alfredo Kraus as Gennaro, supported by the Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra, in John Copley's production for The Royal Opera.

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