Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

George Hall
BBC Music Magazine, March 2018


Christof Loy’s Zurich staging of Bellini’s Romeo and Juliet opera pays the work the compliment of taking it seriously. In a central work of the bel canto canon, it is crucial that vocal values are scrupulously maintained—and here they certainly are, with an even and technically excellent cast, who understand the need for librettist Felice Romani’s text to be given its due as so expressively set by Bellini. Fabio Luisi’s conducting, too, is dynamic and dramatically conceived. © 2018 BBC Music Magazine  Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, January 2017

Christof Loy’s staging transfers Shakespeare’s plot from the Renaissance to the 20th Century, more specifically the Mafia war in New York. He develops strong characters well in harmony with Fabio Luisi’s energetic conducting. © 2017 Pizzicato

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, January 2017

Musically it is quite good. Joyce Di Donato is the complete mistress of all things bel canto, and she demonstrates her mastery in this role. She is well matched by Olga Kulchynska, who sings Bellini’s elegant music superbly. Benjamin Bernheim makes an excellent Tebaldo, and Roberto Lorenzi impresses us as Lorenzo. The chorus and orchestra of the Zurich Opera perform well under the sure hand of Fabio Luisi. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, December 2016

Superstar mezzo Joyce DiDonato is marvellous as Romeo, shading her voice with masterful nuance and showing total versatility in the coloratura. Olga Kulchynska is well contrasted next to her, making a limpid, beautiful Giulietta, full of feminine poignancy and very beautiful tone. Almost finer, however, is the standout Tebaldo of Benjamin Bernheim, who has a fair claim to be the finest Tebaldo on disc. His tone, agility and purity are outstanding, meaning that his arias and ensembles are the highlights of the set for me.

Fabio Luisi has a great time in the pit. He clearly loves this music, and writes as much in the booklet notes. This means he energises the orchestra so that they never “merely” provide the accompaniment but are instrumental to the piece’s success. The standard is set high in the overture, and the characteristic bel canto “chuckle” is very well done throughout. The instrumental obbligati are uniformly excellent, too. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Neil Fisher
Gramophone, December 2016

BELLINI, V.: Capuleti e i Montecchi (I) (Zürich Opera, 2015) (NTSC) ACC-20353
BELLINI, V.: Capuleti e i Montecchi (I) (Zürich Opera, 2015) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10353

Zurich Opera’s cast and conductor jump on board with admirable commitment. Fabio Luisi boldly sculpts the cantabile phrases without getting bogged down, and the orchestral playing is evocative, with pungent contributions from the winds. Of the bit-parts—in this opera, they really are—Alexei Botnarciuc’s Capellio fulminates effectively, Bernheim brings conflicted ardour to Tebaldo, and Roberto Lorenzi offers compassionate mercy as Lorenzo, if via a slightly muffled bass.

Yet Zurich really strikes gold with the triumphant pairing of Joyce DiDonato as Romeo and Olga Kulchynska as Giulietta. DiDonato’s clothes and wig give her an unfortunate resemblance to Barbra.

Streisand’s Yentl, but the American mezzo is ferociously ardent and her attention to textual detail superb. Her denouement is tremendously affecting. Kulchynska’s youth is only part of the reason why the talented Ukrainian is so moving here. She jumped into this show late but the production looks like it was mounted around her portrait of a lost, wounded soul, and she sings with silvery vulnerability. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Hans de Groot
The WholeNote, November 2016

Joyce DiDonato is spectacular as Romeo and there are fine performances from the young Ukrainian soprano Olga Kulchynska as Giulietta and the French tenor Benjamin Bernheim as Tebaldo. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review

Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, November 2016

The two female singers carry the day in respect of Bellini’s music as well as acted portrayal. Olga Kulchynska, a twenty-four year old Ukrainian soprano, has more than a touch of steel in her expressive voice, sometimes where softness is called for. Nonetheless her vocal and acted interpretation shows significant future promise as well as good quality. As Romeo Joyce DiDonato, as might be expected, is superb. She looks a little small next to her lover and in a tightly fitted formal jacket and trousers. Whatever her appearance, her singing and acted interpretation are outstanding. This can be seen in the love duet with Giulietta and her despair at her seeming death. Hers is a veritable histrionic tour de force and further enhances her formidable reputation as the singing actress of today in the bel canto repertoire. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group