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In addition to an innovative production of a Shakespeare rarity, there's a feast of four new world-premiere opera videos to choose from this month, recorded at some of the world's finest opera centres in Berlin, Innsbruck, Bergamo and Glyndebourne:
  • Das Wunder der Heliane is Korngold’s most extravagant stage work and one that he considered to be his greatest score.
  • Mercadante's Didone abandonnata fills a genuine gap in the line of works representing the bel canto tradition.
  • Donizetti's Enrico di Borgogna was first performed in Venice in 1818 and marked Donizetti's stage debut.
  • Barber's Vanessa is one of the 20th century's great operas, rarely performed, but magnificently performed in this Glyndebourne production.
  • Troilus and Cressida, a Shakespearean rarity, features input from virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie in this outstanding production from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
KORNGOLD, E.W.: Wunder der Heliane (Das) [Opera] (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2018) (NTSC)
2.110584-85 [DVD]
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897–1957)
Das Wunder der Heliane
(The Miracle of Heliane)
Libretto by Hans Müller-Einigen
after Die Heilige by Hans Kaltneker

Sara Jakubiak, Soprano
Brian Jagde, Tenor
Josef Wagner, Bass-baritone
Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Marc Albrecht, Conductor
Christof Loy, Stage Director

Das Wunder der Heliane is based on Hans Kaltneker’s mystery play Die Heilige concerning an unnamed Ruler, a Stranger, the heroine Heliane and the redemptive power of love. It is Korngold’s most extravagant stage work and one that he considered to be his greatest score. Written for a huge ensemble, masterfully used, the music possesses voluptuous sweep and hyper-Romanticism. Its intensity is emphasised through an intoxicating array of effects, propulsive rhythms and glorious vocal lyricism, its arc of climaxes building from one act to another. This revelatory new Berlin staging in 2018 enjoyed an unprecedented 20-minute ovation at its premiere.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0083V)

MERCADANTE, S.: Didone abbandonata [Opera] (Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, 2018) (NTSC)
2.110630 [DVD]
Saverio MERCADANTE (1795–1870)
Didone abbandonata
Libretto by Andrea Leone Tottola
after Pietro Metastasio

Viktorija Miškūnaitė, Soprano
Katrin Wundsam and Emilie Renard, Mezzo-sopranos
Carlo Vincenzo Allemano and Diego Godoy, Tenors
Pietro Di Bianco, Bass-baritone
Coro Maghini • Academia Montis Regalis
Alessandro De Marchi, Conductor
Jürgen Flimm, Stage Director

Giuseppe Saverio Mercadante was a contemporary of Donizetti and Rossini, and his prolific output of operas proved influential in founding dramatic techniques that were taken on by Verdi. Set in the ancient and besieged city of Carthage, Didone abbandonata is the dramatic and tragic tale of ill-starred lovers whose decisions ultimately place an entire populace in peril. A genuine rarity in the theatre, Didone has strong ties to the 18th century but also points towards the bel canto innovations that were to come. This carefully researched and critically acclaimed production presents the work in the sound and playing style of Mercadante’s time.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (NBD0095V)

DONIZETTI, G.: Enrico di Borgogna [Opera] (Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, 2018) (NTSC)
DYN-37833 [DVD]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848)
Enrico di Borgogna
Melodramma per musica
Libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli
Critical revision by Anders Wiklund (2018)

Anna Bonitatibus • Sonia Ganassi
Levy Sekgapane • Francesco Castoro • Luca Tittoto
Academia Montis Regalis • Coro Donizetti Opera
Alessandro De Marchi, Conductor • Silvia Paoli, Director

Enrico di Borgogna is a melodramma per musica that was premiered in Venice in 1818, marking Donizetti’s stage debut. The plot of this rarely performed opera follows a rather traditional scheme: Enrico wants to defeat the son of the villain who usurped his father’s throne and is about to marry his beloved Elisa. Fortunately, he succeeds in stopping the marriage and regaining his inheritance.

This release is a world première video recording of the 2018 Donizetti Opera Festival performance, which received excellent reviews for its brilliant staging. Director Silvia Paoli uses a ‘theatre within the theatre’ approach which produces moments of sheer humour and amusement and, as the curtain opens, the public is transported back to the time of the opera's première.

Played on period instruments by the Academia Montis Regalis and conducted by repertoire specialist Alessandro De Marchi, this opera features prima donnas Sonia Ganassi and Anna Bonitatibus in the main roles.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (DYN-57833)

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC)
OA1289D [DVD]
Samuel BARBER (1910–1981)

Emma Bell • Virginie Verrez • Edgaras Montvidas
Rosalind Plowright • Donnie Ray Albert
The Glyndebourne Chorus • London Philharmonic Orchestra
Jakub Hrůša, Conductor • Keith Warner, Director

Abandoned by her lover Anatol, Vanessa retreats from the world, waiting and hoping with only her mother and her niece Erika for company. But when, 20 years later, Anatol’s handsome young son arrives unexpectedly, he shatters the calm of this shuttered household of women. Past and present love collides, and the aftershocks threaten to destroy them all.

Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning first opera boasts one of the 20th century’s most beautiful scores. Poised constantly on the edge of song, Vanessa unfolds in generous swathes of melody, rich in filmic strings and soaring brass, with echoes of Puccini, Berg and Strauss. It climaxes in a final quintet of Mozartean poignancy – one of the great ensembles of the contemporary repertoire.

Outstanding performances are a-plenty in this rare opportunity to see one of the 20th century’s great operas. This world première recording from Glyndebourne gives centre stage to Emma Bell who performs the titular role with an amazing intensity, with rising star Viginie Verrez and legendary Rosalind Plowright giving equally engrossing performances in this far too little-known masterpiece, in a new production by award winning director, Keith Warner.

Also available in Blu-ray Video (OABD7258D)

SHAKESPEARE, W.: Troilus and Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2018) (NTSC)
OA1288D [DVD]
William SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616)
Troilus and Cressida

Gavin Fowler • Amber James • Adjoa Andoh
Theo Ogundipe • Ewart James Walters
Andy Apollo • Oliver Ford Davies
Gregory Dolan, Director • Dame Evelyn Glennie, Music

Love, rivalry and war are a-plenty in this new production of a Shakespearean rarity.

Troilus and Cressida swear they will always be true to one another. But in the seventh year of the siege of Troy their innocence is tested and exposed to the savage corrupting influence of war, with tragic consequences.

Virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie collaborates with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran to create a satirical futuristic vision of a world resounding with the rhythm of battle.

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