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NIELSEN, C.: Maskarade (Masquerade) [Opera] (Dahl, Riis, Danish National Symphony, Schønwandt)


Dacapo 6.220641-42

   Australian Hi-Fi, May 2017
   Ballet Review, March 2016
   Opera News, February 2016
   American Record Guide, January 2016
   MusicWeb International, December 2015
   Audiophile Audition, November 2015
   ConcertoNet.com, October 2015
   Gramophone, October 2015
   Opera Now, October 2015
   The Guardian, September 2015
   MusicWeb International, September 2015
   BBC Music Magazine, September 2015
   MusicWeb International, August 2015
   Pizzicato, August 2015
   Infodad.com, August 2015
   Gramophone, August 2015
   SA-CD.net, July 2015
   Classical CD Choice, July 2015
   David's Review Corner, July 2015

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Australian Hi-Fi, May 2017

This is the second SACD release of the opera and the excellence of the cast, all of whom are completely delightful and engaging, plus the radiant playing of the DNSO under Michael Schonwandt, along with sound quality that is both state-of-the-art and wonderfully balanced, mean that this recording, spread over two discs, is the one to own… © 2017 Australian Hi-Fi



George Dorris
Ballet Review, March 2016

The many pleasures of this very Danish score (with touches of Verdi’s Falstaff) seem to come naturally to Johan Reuter as Henrik, Niels Jørgen Riis and Dénise Beck as the lovers, and Anne Margrethe Dahl and Stephen Billing as Leander’s parents. © 2016 Ballet Review




David Shengold
Opera News, February 2016

…the fine bass-baritone Johan Reuter musters a fine sound, a tad muscle-bound for the youthful part. …Anne Margrethe Dahl, one of Copenhagen’s veteran leading sopranos, takes on Magdelone with spirit. In the younger roles, Dénise Beck (Leonora) and Ditte Højgaard Andersen (Pernille) give fresh, musical, invested performances. A pleasant discovery awaits many listeners. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review




John W Barker
American Record Guide, January 2016

…jaded opera lovers, who think there are no new discoveries to be had, should rush to secure this recording while it lasts. It, and the work itself, are irresistible! © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




John Quinn
MusicWeb International, December 2015

Dacapo’s recording of Maskarade must rank very highly indeed among the Nielsen 150th anniversary issues. The singing by the entire cast is superb and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra plays marvellously. Michael Schønwandt’s terrific conducting clearly energised everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed this set which is surely the happiest celebration on disc of the Nielsen anniversary. © 2015 MusicWeb International




Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, November 2015

Nielsen’s seminal operatic masterpiece gets the recording it deserves, excellent on all fronts. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review




Christie Grimstad
ConcertoNet.com, October 2015

…Maskarade…breathes a Nielsen genius in this uniquely one-of-a kind work.

While John Frandsen’s…recording is a personal favorite…one can’t beat the overall amenities and musical detailing this recording has to offer. Highly recommended. © 2015 ConcertoNet.com Read complete review



Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, October 2015

GRAMOPHONE SPECIALIST’S GUIDE TO… Nielsen beyond the symphonies

Few works underscore Nielsen’s desire to overturn the old order better than this, a snapshot from 1906 of a changing Denmark that advocates art for all and freedom in youth. It’s full of marvellous tunes and orchestral joie de vivre, particularly in this new recording. Not many composers can tread the line between profundity and froth, but Nielsen does so deliciously even when the opera collapses into a cavalcade of partying. © 2015 Gramophone




Francis Muzzu
Opera Now, October 2015

Nielsen’s Maskarade is Denmark’s national opera and conductor Michael Schønwandt says it’s the first score he knew by heart. It shows in this new recording for Dacapo Records, where he leads a masterful interpretation and paces the mercurial changes of mood with alacrity. interesting, enjoyable and worth investigating. © 2015 Opera Now Read complete review




Andrew Clements
The Guardian, September 2015

When played and sung like this, by a cast, conductor and orchestra who clearly relish every bar, it is hard not to be swept along by the warmth and generosity of spirit of the music… © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review



Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, September 2015

It’s been quite a party, Carl Nielsen’s 150th, and Michael Schønwandt’s new recording of Maskarade is the perfect culmination to the year’s celebrations.

The singing on this Dacapo set is just fabulous; it’s consistently accurate and imaginative… Ensemble pieces are much tidier too, with competing singers precisely located in the soundstage.

Paradoxical as it may sound Schønwandt’s is the most operatic performance here; there’s no harm in slumming it, if you like that sort of thing, but if you’re looking for a truly complete and compelling account of Maskarade this newcomer is the one to have.

This gorgeous set confirms Michael Schønwandt as a Nielsen conductor of rare distinction; a Maskarade for the ages. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

This latest CD boasts probably the strongest cast on record so far. The mighty bass Stephen Milling catches the ageing paterfamilias Jeronimus’s comically fallible humanity likeably. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine




John Quinn
MusicWeb International, August 2015

Inspired by Michael Schønwandt’s terrific conducting, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra produces a fantastic performance of this score.

The singing is superb; there isn’t a weak link in the cast. The choral singing is splendid and full of life.

This is a wonderful set, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Offhand it’s hard to imagine a happier celebration of Nielsen’s 150th anniversary. © 2015 Musicweb International Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, August 2015

A more than adequate, lovely recording of Nielsen’s sparkling comedy which, thanks to a committed cast and an intelligently humorous conductor, is here as close as one can wish to get to this music. © 2015 Pizzicato



Infodad.com, August 2015

…Schønwandt wisely uses the entire opera as Nielsen originally conceived it, with the third act being the longest. Anyone regarding Nielsen as exclusively a serious Danish composer really ought to hear this Maskarade: it is as Danish as can be, yes, but also as warm, free-spirited and filled with joy. © 2015 Infodad.com Read complete review




Mike Ashman
Gramophone, August 2015

As with Scriabin, Nielsen’s anniversary invites us to reassess the composer with new recordings, in this case a fourth—and successful—outing on disc for Maskarade. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




John Miller
SA-CD.net, July 2015

Throughout, Michael Schønwandt keeps an iron grip, particularly on the pacing of the sometimes quite complex interactions of soloists and choir. He also ensures that the many dances have rhythmic spring and lilt, and that there are plenty of major contrasts in both speed and dynamics as Nielsen’s score demands.

The soloists are in top voice…and all are clearly flooded with enthusiasm about performing specially for Nielsen’s Anniversary. Their comical mocking voices and sneering descriptions of character friends are well done and amusing. It is immediately obvious that the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Choir are also fired up, keeping the listener in thrall throughout the three acts. © 2015 SA-CD.net Read complete review



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, July 2015

Nielsen’s signature opera Maskarade has been relatively lucky on disc, and this latest performance is one of the most exuberant and life-affirming that the piece has ever received. Dacapo Records present this millennium’s first complete studio recording of Carl Nielsen’s 3 act opera with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra led by Nielsen expert Michael Schønwandt. The cast has been selected from The Royal Danish Opera’s finest soloists, including Johan Reuter, Stephen Milling and Dénise Beck. © 2015 Classical CD Choice



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2015

This elegant comedy, set in Copenhagen in 1723, comes from Nielsen’s early period as a composer, its libretto taking its inspiration from the commedia dell’arte. Its plot relates the masquerades that had become popular among the liberally minded in the 18th century, but was frowned upon by the puritanical, Jeronimus, who has promised his best friend, Leonard, that his son will marry his daughter. But Leander has already fallen in love with an unknown masked girl at the masquerade, and has even exchanged rings. Well now you might have guessed the happy outcome, but that is not until everyone around him, including his wife, has taught Jeronimus that masquerades are just good fun. Nielsen’s score opens with a sparkling overture, often played as a concert piece, and is not, in the outgoing sense, comic, but underlines the unfolding events. Yet he certainly knew how to slowly build up the fun on stage, and by the time we reach the end of act one, the score sizzles in vitality, and the foot-tapping third act masquerade is a masterpiece of comedy that had its roots in Verdi’s Falstaff, and would, four years later be taken up by Richard Strauss in Der Rosenkavalier. Why do we not hear it more often in opera houses outside of Denmark? Well there is the question, for it is undoubtedly a masterpiece. There was certainly an excellent case made for it in a recording made some many years ago, headed by Skovhus, Haugland and Resmark, but it now needed this remake in modern sound to celebrate Nielsen’s 150th anniversary. The Danish cast is headed by the weighty voiced Stephen Milling as Jeronimus, though it is Johan Reuter, as the Figero-esque Henrik, servant to Leander, and Ditte Højgaard Andersen in the cameo role of Pernille, who almost ‘steal the show’, from Niels Jørgen Riis and Stig Fogh Andersen as Leander and Leonard. The Danish orchestra is outstanding for conductor, Michael Schønwandt, who has the opera in his lifeblood, allowing the work to flow with lyric beauty. The sound is excellent with ideal balance between soloists and orchestra which also reveals every small orchestral detail. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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