Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, February 2020

The reunion of Jane and Rochester at the end is moving and cathartic; slow-building Wagnerian harmonies signal a happy end for the wounded but prevailing couple.

The composer conducts the first-rate Orchestra of the League of Composers in this admirably produced recording. Karchin has a sure hand with the players, and the suitably creepy instrumental interludes are particularly well-played. © 2020 Opera News Read complete review

Opera, February 2020

Skilfully done… The performers are capable too, with Ryan MacPherson a determined Rochester and Jennifer Zetlan a resilient Jane. © 2020 Opera

Allan Altman
American Record Guide, January 2020

A number of full-blown solos for the principals, designed to “help establish their characters and the emotions that motivate them”, are inserted into the first act. Thus, two consecutive and contrasting arias in the very first scene give Jennifer Zetlan the opportunity to display her commanding vocal presence in the title role. Her instrument is a bright and flexible soprano, and she makes every phrase sound natural and artless. It’s no wonder Zetlan is in high demand for new works. …Ryan MacPherson gives a fully committed performance of Mr Rochester, a role that demands the robustness of a verismo tenor. © 2020  American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

James H. North
Fanfare, January 2020

Karchin’s score resembles Beethoven in that it never lets up for a vocalist, forcing Jane and Mr. Rochester to go all out to be heard; within that framework, this performance is excellent. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan displays Nilsson-like stamina through long arias and an almost constant stage presence (this is a compilation of two or three live performances). Tenor Ryan McPherson sounds comfortable with his line and is a convincing Rochester.

Eagerly recommended to all. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

BBC Music Magazine, November 2019

…the score is extremely well-crafted, with intense and detailed orchestral writing… It’s vigorously performed by the Orchestra of the League of Composers in support of impressive principals, Jennifer Zetlan and Ryan MacPherson, under Karchin’s baton © 2019 BBC Music Magazine

Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, November 2019

Jennifer Zetlan as Jane has the greatest music and sings it triumphantly; her biographical aria leading to ‘A governess in this great house’ is simply glorious and charged with chemistry. Ryan MacPherson fills out Rochester’s personality thrillingly, and shows versatility as the creepily insinuating fortune teller.

Karchin’s charming musical candy box includes a broad range of influences from Bruckner to Tchaikovsky, including the highly entertaining use of excerpts from Lucia di Lammermoor. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Scott MacClelland
Performing Arts Monterey Bay, September 2019

…Jennifer Zetlan as Jane and Ryan MacPherson as Rochester, the rest of the cast and Karchin himself conducting the Orchestra of the League of Composers, deliver as intense a performance as anyone could ask for. © 2019 Performing Arts Monterey Bay Read complete review

Records International, September 2019

Charlotte Bronté’s beloved, sprawling novel is skillfully compressed and adapted into operatic narrative in this approachable, tonal, neo-Romantic work (Jane’s childhood is omitted, for instance; she is already a governess in Rochester’s household when this version opens). The work is modeled on the conventions of grand opera, with the characters interacting through arias, monologues, ariosi and a quartet. … Fans of modern American tonal and entirely accessible opera by composers like Carlisle Floyd, Jake Heggie, Mark Adamo, Dominick Argento or Robert Aldridge will find much to enjoy here. © 2019 Records International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2019

With over ninety works in his portfolio of compositions, the three-act opera, Jane Eyre, completed in 2014, has been Louis Karchin’s most ambitious score to date.

To a libretto by Diane Osen, it is based on Charlotte Bronte’s story of the mixed emotions of Jane and her love for her employer, the wealthy Edward Rochester. At the church where they are to be married, there is an objection to the union taking place, as he is already married to a woman who is insane. They part, and years later she learns she is to receive a large inheritance that will place her on the same social level as Rochester. The story continues that he tried to save his wife in a house fire, but she was burnt to death, while in doing so he was to be blinded and maimed. In that state she returns to him, her love as strong as ever. It would have been easy and conventional to use a series of arias and duets in the style of late Romantic Italian operas, but Karchin has taken the alternative route of creating his own style in the form of narrative set to music, the orchestral role mostly colouring the scenario. Taken within this context he is very much in the mainstream group of North American composers who are taking us down an interesting, if sometimes bumpy road, where tonality is still being used. Given its premiere in the Kaye Playhouse in New York’s Manhattan in October 2016, the cast was then reassembled in September 2017, with the composer conducting, for this first recording. That they have all become very much involved in Karchin’s style of composing is very evident. I have previously described Ryan MacPherson as a singer of ‘outstanding potential’, and he gives a very powerful portrayal of Rochester, while the American soprano, Jennifer Zetlan, is a strong-willed Jane. Among the remaining cast I was particularly impressed by Katrina Thurman as Mrs. Fairfax. Formed ten years ago, with the express purpose of performing music by present day American composers, the Orchestra of the League of Composers is obviously an accomplished group of musicians who are very well balanced with the singers in a recording of impressive quality. There is an English libretto printed in the accompanying booklet. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group