Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, March 2012

I found a lot to admire in the recording of Lurline and the same qualities can be found here as well: beautiful, hummable melodies, at times rhythmically interesting, good orchestration.

The chorus and orchestra are first class and Proinnsias Ó Duinn keeps good pace throughout. The solo singing is also fully worthy of the music with Majella Cullagh is brilliant in the title role. She also has the lion’s share of the solos, taking part in no fewer than 12 numbers. Paul Charles Clarke as Don Caesar does many good things but is quite strained at times. In the trouser role of Lazarillo, the apprentice boy, Lynda Lee sings with fine rounded tone.

There is no dialogue but the synopsis is quite detailed and makes it easy to follow the proceedings—unless one just leaves the story aside and listens to the music. It is good to have this recording available again—and at an affordable price. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, March 2012

Cullagh as usual sings with aplomb, stately grace, and all other good things. Clarke is a tenor delight, as is Caddy. Lee rounds out the cast with mezzo wit and style. The Irish group under O’Duinn are a winning accompaniment. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, March 2012

most of the cast is pretty darn good, especially the marvelous Irish soprano Majella Cullagh in the title role. Cullagh has it all: an extraordinarily pretty and distinctive timbre, great pitch, excellent voice placement from top to bottom, a real trill, and wonder of wonders, good diction…Mezzo Lynda Lee, in the trouser role of Lazzarillo, also has a fine voice. The baritones and basses are interchangeable in sound, a typical midrange-only sort of generic British baritone quality that they all have.

With so much music going to the tenor, attention naturally focuses on Paul Charles Clarke as much as on Cullagh. Clarke has an unusual voice: bright and with decent diction, ringing high notes reminiscent of Pavarotti…He does a nice job…on one of his plum arias, “Yes! Let Me Like a Soldier Fall.”

…this is a recording you will want. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Andrew Lamb
Opera, March 2012

All of this is well served here by the Irish forces.  Singing with sweet tone and clear enunciation, Majella Cullagh is outstanding. © 2012 Opera

Christopher Howell
MusicWeb International, February 2012

There’s some fine conducting from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s long-serving Principal Conductor…Proinnsías Ó Duinn. Well-chosen, highly singable tempi, infectious rhythms, relish of orchestral colour and warm but not over-indulgent handling of the ballad numbers.

Best are the ladies. Majella Cullagh actually has a very beautiful voice, a slightly reedy timbre reminiscent of the young Gwyneth Jones. She certainly has agility in the odd moments where it’s called for and her top notes are easy—right up to a high E flat at the end that might be envied by, well, certain Violettas.

Lynda Lee certainly displays a rich, evenly controlled timbre and a good sense of line.

Of the men, one can say that they are the sort of stalwart singers that can be appreciated in a provincial theatre. They know how to put the music over, though the baritones are a bit croaky in their lower notes, the tenor more husky than ringing in his top ones. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Mark Pullinger
International Record Review, February 2012

The music is effortlessly tuneful…The Overture is a fine piece and evokes the spirit of Weber…

[Majella Cullagh’s] light lyric soprano is just perfect for the role and her diction is as clear as Waterford crystal…There is a lovely prayer duet with Lazarillo, a mezzo trouser role, towards the end of the opera, ‘Sainted Mother, guide his footsteps’, which Cullagh sings with great purity…Lynda Lee [is] reliable. Quentin Hayes…sings with a firm tone.

The finales to Acts 1 and 2 are pleasantly effective…this reissue is worth exploring… © 2012 International Record Review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

The popularity of the opera Maritana was such that it rivalled any of the major operatic composers on the London stage in the second half of the 19th century. It’s Irish-born composer, William Vincent Wallace, could well himself have been an operatic character, as he moved around the world leaving a trail of women and unpaid debts behind him. A gifted pianist, from which he made a insecure living, he completed Maritana in 1845 at the age of 33, and after a successful run in London, it was heard in America the following year and Austria two years later. The libretto was desperately bad and tells the story of the heroine, the gypsy girl, Maritana, and her marriage to Don Caesar who ends up in jail for duelling in Holy Week, and she has to plot to obtain his release. As we expect, the story ends happily, Wallace rescuing the limp story with his gift of writing popular ballads and stringing them together to form a plausible whole. He even throws in a very pleasant waltz in the style of the Strauss family for good measure. That Victorian-style ballads can still conjure-up a certain British nostalgia is evidenced by an occasional revival—usually by British amateur operatic companies—the work hanging on the shirt-tail of the continued popularity of the operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan. The cast for this recording is largely from Ireland, and to hear it performed by top quality opera singers and chorus is an unexpected treat. Majella Cullaugh’s perky soprano voice is ideal for the gypsy, making the most of the show-stopping aria, Scenes that are Brightest, while Paul Charles Clarke strikes a suitably heroic stance as Don Caesar, his big jail scene highly effective. The orchestra, better known for many years as ‘resident’ in the Eurovision Song Competition, offers a neat and tidy backdrop. The recording dates from 1995 and originally appeared on the Marco Polo label’s Irish Music Series. Sound engineering is very good, and of its genre it can be much recommended.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group