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Alan Wagner
Opera News, December 2001

"In this 1998 Stuttgart performance of Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, director Hans Neuenfels strains for obvious symbolism (a child presenting Constanze with a serpent and apple to signify temptation?) and often pushes annoyingly over the top, but his central concept forces attention. His text adaptation utilizes both anachronistic jokes and vivid emotional perplexity; his production juxtaposes broad gags against harrowing images such as skewered babies and dismembered bodies. All the roles except the non-singing Pasha Selim are doubled with actors who speak for their characters, even though the singers are reasonably accomplished dramatically. The alter egos also interact with their singing personae and with each other, break down the fourth wall, twist the fabric of reality. After the finale, Johannes Terne, the Selim, delivers a speech about his fury at not being allowed to sing until, backstage, he learned compassion from a Morike poem - which he proceeds to quote. It's not your mama's Mozart, but it is fascinating.

American soprano Catherine especially moving in 'Welch' ein Geschick,' her last duet with Belmonte, tenor Matthias Klink, where Neuenfels lets the music speak for itself Klink is a passable light German tenor, reminiscent of a mid-career Peter Schreier. Roland Bracht manages the middle of Osmin's basso range but has trouble at the extremes. Kate Ladner and Heinz Gohrig pipe along pleasantly as the comic-relief couple, Blonde and Pedrillo, while Terne acts up a storm as Selim. The capable conductor is Lothar Zagrosek.

But the star here is Neuenfels, which may not be entirely accidental."

Robert Croan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2001

"This is one of the most extreme of the unconventional stagings among the DVD series. Each of the characters (except for the Pasha, a speaking role), is performed by a singer and an actor simultaneously. The actors do not merely articulate the spoken dialogue, but take on the role of a Doppelganger to the singer, conversing -- occasionally even arguing -- with each other about the situation at hand and the character's inner thoughts. As a theatrical premise, it doesn't quite work, but it is a concept and a provocative one at that.

As for the musical performance, it's pretty good. Catherine Naglestad, a San Francisco-born soprano who has been making a name for herself in Europe, does well with Constanze's fiendish roulades, and she has strong vocal support in the lyrical Belmonte of tenor Matthias Klink. For the comic characters, Roland Bracht has to fake Osmin's lowest notes, and the servant couple of Kate Ladner and Heinz Gorhrig are barely adequate."

Michael Scott Rohan
Gramophone, October 2001

"Well recorded and musically excellent, with Zagrosek conducting a fresh, theatrically paced performance, which emphasizes the score­Ýs warm lyricism and favours his singers. An excellent cast they are, appropriately young and stylish, even to the occasional appoggiatura. Naglestad is an ideal Konstanze, clear-voiced yet passionate, with tautly controlled coloratura. Klink's Belmonte is equally fine, mellifluous and hardly stressed even by the runs of 'Ich baue ganz'. Ladner's Blonde is an archetypal bright-voiced soubrette, Gohrig an adequate Pedrillo and Bracht a splendidly bluff Osmin"

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