Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International, July 2013

The present live recording delivers sound that is clear and generally well balanced…

The orchestral playing of the Hofkapelle München is lively and colourful, allowing the range of Hasse’s orchestration to make its mark. Moreover the opening sinfonia is splendidly done…Theresa Holzhauser as Dido and the counter-tenor Flavio Ferri-Benedetto as Aeneas emerge with great credit. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, July 2013

Both Flavio Ferri-Benedetti and Valer Barna-Sabadus display great agility as well as voices of real beauty.

As Dido, Theresa Holzhauser reveals a more dramatic voice than her colleagues, appropriate for the less showy music of Dido and quite lovely in itself. The chamber-sized orchestra, conducted by Michael Hofstetter, plays crisply, with lovely solos to accompany some of the arias. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Judith Malafronte
Opera News, July 2013

A live performance…from Munich features the vivid orchestral playing of the Hofkapelle München, led by Michael Hofstetter.

Among the cast are two-rising star countertenors, whose voices and musical personalities contrast effectively. Valer Barna-Sabadus makes theatrical use of his delicate soprano sound, with an especially sweet top, to bring out Iarbas’s petulant and high-strung nature…Barna-Sabadus captures the nobility of “Tu mi disarmi” and the crafty, stalking danger of “Leon, ch’errando vada” with secure top and brings vigor to the repeated notes, leaps and athletic register changes of “Chiamami pur così.”

Flavio Ferri-Benedetti’s rounded, mellow voice, along with his impeccable musical taste, captures Aeneas’s nobility and poise…

Maria Celeng is an effective Araspe, delivering her arias with panache and handsome, dark vocal color. As Osmida, Andreas Burkhart shows off a nice high extension…to his clear, attractive baritone. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

John T. Hughes
International Record Review, May 2013

Holzhauser’s complement of solos covers both the quick and the measured. She does well by the former with her agile delivery, but in slow arias she sings with dignity, laying long lines of flowing sound.

Ferri-Benedetti touches baritonal notes at the bottom of his voice two or three times and he can inject a hard sound when the situation warrants, yet he is fluent in the scalework.

The silken quality of Barna-Sabadus’s voice helps him to ripple through long-breathed roulades…

The Munich Hofkapelle…here offering music-making that is an aural pleasure, painting Hasse’s colourful score with winning combinations of sound…while Michael Hofstetter brings all the elements of the work together with admirable results. © 2013 International Record Review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2013

During the mid-part of the 18th century, Johann Adolf Hasse, was a leading composer working in the Italian style, bringing to the stage over sixty opera seria. Born in 1699 in northern Germany, he was to hold some of the most prestigious appointments available, having started out as a much admired singer, and enhancing his reputation with marriage to one of the leading Italian mezzos of her time. He did not always find himself on the right side of the political divide, and his career was not helped by his lack of support for operatic reformists. Add those two factors together, and Hasse was witnessing the demise of his music long before his death in 1783. But here we return to the height of his popularity in 1742, by which time he had decided to set all of Pietro Metastasio’s libretti to music, including the poet’s most famous work, Didone abbandonata. That story was later to become more widely known as Dido and Aeneas, and set to music by more composers than any other operatic text. On the evidence of this release, Hasse was a very complete composer, with a ready gift for the structure of arias, and for creating lyric melody, the work’s closing pages a deeply dramatic moment. The story recalls that Dido, the widowed Queen of Carthage, had fallen in love with Aeneas, the young man who sees his destiny as the foundation of a new Troy in Italy. To that end he abandons the grief-stricken Dido who resigns herself to death. It was mounted by Bayerische Theaterakademie with soloists at the beginning of their career, though listening to Flavio Ferri-Benedetti’s Aeneas, we have one of the finest young counter-tenors for period opera I have encountered. He has a vocal quality identical to that of a female alto, and performs vocal acrobatics with much ease and with immaculate intonation. More akin to the female soprano timbre, Valer Barna-Sabadus’s Iarbas is also a male voice to watch in future. The remaining singers are never less than satisfying…The recently formed Munich Hofkapelle is among the best period instrument groups I have heard, Michael Hofstetter’s conducting obtaining a crisp and highly responsive accompaniment. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group