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This month sees the release of new audiovisual recordings of three stage works, respectively from the Baroque, early Classical and Romantic periods: Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour, Rameau's first exploration of the world of Egyptian mythology; Orphée et Euridice, Gluck's best known work; and Verdi's unjustly neglected opera Stiffelio (in Graham Vick's ground-breaking staging).

RAMEAU, J.-P.: Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour, ou Les dieux d'Egypte (Les) [Opera] (Opera Lafayette, 2014) (NTSC)
2.110393 [DVD]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683–1764)
Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour,
ou Les Dieux d’Égypte
Libretto by Louis de Cahusac

Claire Debono and Ingrid Perruche, Sopranos
Jeffrey Thompson, Tenor • François Lis, Bass
The New York Baroque Dance Company
Kalanidhi Dance • The Seán Curran Company
Opera Lafayette • Ryan Brown, Conductor
Catherine Turocy, Anuradha Nehru and Seán Curran, Stage Directors

Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour was Rameau’s first exploration of the world of Egyptian mythology. Its libretto called for magic, gods and extraordinary natural effects to which he responded with one of his most comprehensively brilliant scores, blending a gallant and pastoral inspiration of extreme refinement with powerful vocal and orchestral writing. In his use of a fluid and continuous flow of music, in the theatrical deployment of choruses, and in the blurring of the distinction between recitatives and airs, Rameau entered a new and pioneering stage of development. The score heard in this performance is the authoritative version.

VERDI, G.: Stiffelio [Opera] (Teatro Regio di Parma, 2017) (NTSC)
2.110590 [DVD]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
Stiffelio
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
after Le Pasteur, ou l’Évangile et le Foyer
by Émile Souvestre and Eugène Bourgeois

Maria Katzarava, Soprano • Luciano Ganci and Giovanni Sala, Tenors
Francesco Landolfi, Baritone
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Guillermo García Calvo, Conductor
Graham Vick, Stage Director

Verdi’s Stiffelio is a tense moral drama in which a Protestant minister learns of his wife’s betrayal and is torn between a thirst for revenge and his religious duty of forgiveness. These themes of adultery and divorce were social taboos in 1850, and Stiffelio was met with such censorship and disapproval that it was soon withdrawn. Today we can appreciate both the title character’s significance as the first true Verdi tenor, and the many wonderful moments in this ‘most unjustly neglected of Verdi’s operas’. This unique and dynamic production from Parma was acclaimed for taking us to ‘a whole new theatrical world’ (Huffington Post), and as ‘nothing short of a coup’ (bachtrack.com).

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0084V)

GLUCK, C.W.: Orphée et Euridice [Opera] (La Scala, 2018) (NTSC)
BVE08052 [DVD]
Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714–1787)
Orphée et Euridice

Juan Diego Flórez, Tenor
Christiane Karg and Fatma Said, Sopranos
Milan La Scala Chorus
Bruno Casoni, Chorus Master
Milan La Scala Orchestra
Michele Mariotti, Conductor
Hofesh Shechter, Stage Director and Choreographer
John Fulljames, Stage Director

Juan Diego Flórez dazzled audiences and critics alike when he played the virtuoso role of Orphée in La Scala’s first ever staging of Gluck’s opera in its French version: “Juan Diego Flórez delivered a lesson in style. His tone is darker and his projection more self-effacing than in the past, but class is permanent. His agility and legato are utterly thrilling. The ovations were never-ending.” (Corriere de/la seru)

Also available in Blu-ray (BVE08053)


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