Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, January 2014

Die Liebe der Danae is a beautiful, very eventful and musically rich opera that reaches sublime heights in its last scene (Strauss was always good at endings), the music soars and soars and when it finally reaches ff, leaves the audience silent in awe of its heavenly power. This production by Deutsche Oper, presented on two DVDs, makes us feel exactly that. Stunningly realized with sets of gold and azure, directed with know-how and dignity by Kirsten Harms, conducted by great Straussian Andrew Litton, the title role is sung by Manuela Uhl, who is as good a singer as she is ravishingly beautiful, paired with tenor Matthias Klink (Midas) singing with “emotional radiance.” The real hero however is the baritone, Mark Delavan (Jupiter) with his tremendous pathos, sensitivity and of course power, the power of a God. © 2014 The WholeNote Read complete review

Patrick Dillon
Opera News, May 2012

STRAUSS, R.: Liebe der Danae (Die) (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2011) (NTSC) 101580
STRAUSS, R.: Liebe der Danae (Die) (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2011) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 108032

Conductor Andrew Litton demonstrates both an ear for detail and the requisite Straussian sweep, deftly steering the score through its occasional longueurs. And the cast, if not the last word on the matter at hand, does uniformly good work, with the character roles—Pollux, Mercury and Jupiter’s four superannuated ex-lovers—all neatly turned. The central triangle is well inhabited, too, though all three tire a bit (and the men need some warming up) in their long, high-flying roles. Matthias Klink is a handsome, ardent Midas; and it’s good to have the underdocumented Mark Delavan as Jupiter, a typically hearty, warm-voiced performance. Manuela Uhl is familiar to Danae-lovers from the 2003 CD-set on CPO; her voice—very German, with its Goltz-like tartness and its dentist’s-drill penetration on top—won’t please everyone, but she shapes the music admirably, with impressive dynamic control. When, in the Act II climax, Jupiter releases her from the gilded petrifaction inflicted by Midas’s kiss, she couldn’t look more alluringly Klimtian. 

The sound is excellent and the picture mostly so, too, though the stage lighting, with its enticing golds and blues, once or twice resists the HD cameras. Like the flawed but lovable opera itself, this Danae radiates enough golden glow to entice any serious Straussian. © 2012 Opera News Read complete review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, April 2012

it’s exhilarating that the Deutsche Oper have paid the work the immense compliment of giving it a serious and worthy staging. In one of the additional bonus Behind-the-Scenes films the theatre’s Dramatic Adviser, when asked what the opera is about, remarks “you could say that the vultures are circling the Aegean”. The opening scene concerns a Greek ruler in massive debt who is having his belonging repossessed. Does any of this sound familiar?! It’s a neat touch that most of King Pollux’s artefacts which are being removed by the bailiffs are famous statues or paintings of Jupiter, often in the act of seducing a lover. The sets for the production aren’t especially spectacular and are often very plain, especially the bridal chamber of Act 2, but Kirsten Harms shows a great ability to direct singers as actors and to create convincing interaction out of Strauss’s sometimes unwieldy drama. The one constant image of the production, also visible on the DVD cover, is of an upside-down grand piano which hangs suspended over the action almost from start to finish. The reasons for this weren’t entirely clear to me, but it’s an arresting image nonetheless.

The singers treat this work very seriously and give it their all. Manuela Uhl’s soprano is dramatic and slightly brittle, missing some of the voluptuous nature of Danae’s music, but she holds nothing back and her identification with the role is very convincing. Even more so is the heroic tenor of Matthias Klink whose Midas achieves the feat of seeming vulnerable while remaining heroic. Mark Delavan is an outstanding Jupiter, rich and commanding yet with an air of faded glory and managing successfully to suggest that this god’s best days are behind him. Thomas Blondelle as Mercury and Burkhard Ulrich as Pollux both make the most of their smallish tenor roles and the quartet of mistresses sounds ravishing. The playing of the large orchestra is sensational from start to finish. I can’t imagine this score being given a better treatment, and it helps immeasurably that they are captured in surround sound so that the glories of Strauss’s orchestration come at you from all angles. Andrew Litton directs this score with the assurance of someone who has taken the time to get to know it well. Orchestra and singers respond to him with confidence and the result is outstanding.

the Deutsche Oper has done a fantastic job of resurrecting a neglected work by a great composer and doing so triumphantly. Staging and musical values work on almost every front and they make this set well worth exploring. The work itself may not be perfect, but this DVD is the best argument for it that I could imagine. Fans of Strauss need not hesitate. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group