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Gavin Dixon
Fanfare, September 2020

The present recording is a co-production with ORF, presumably made for broadcast. The singers come across very well… Thielemann is on top form throughout, clearly engaged with the drama at every stage.

Best of all is Camilla Nylund as the Empress. Hers is a properly Wagnerian soprano, and throughout the opera, you feel that she has so much more in store—a feeling wholly vindicated by her stentorian performance at the end of the third act, cleanly delineating her lines and maintaining a rare clarity of tone, even at the highest dynamics.

Recommended instead for some fine singing from the female leads, especially Camilla Nylund, who is unsurpassed as the Empress. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Limelight, August 2020

Excellently recorded by Orfeo, with voices captured clearly and naturally, this recording is one for the collection.

Stephen Gould’s rock-solid Heldentenor does true justice to the role’s sometimes freakish vocal demands, dispatching the many high notes with an exciting abandon, and there’s a sweet duskiness to his voice that lends him further gravitas. As the Empress, Camilla Nylund’s silvery lyric soprano navigates Strauss’ difficult writing with equal facility, perfectly charting the character’s journey from vulnerable woman to determined heroine. Her voice has lost none of its crystalline, pure quality. © 2020 Limelight Read complete review

Hugo Shirley
Gramophone, August 2020

A second Straussian offering this month, this time from Christian Thielemann and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on, as Hugo Shirley puts it, breathtaking form. © 2020 Gramophone

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, June 2020

…I can’t imagine there are any living conductors who know Die Frau as well as Christian Thielemann. … He knows and loves its every contour, and shapes the opera’s vast ebb and flow with great certainty. He controls the climaxes expertly, knowing when to hold back so that the highlights really crackle, and he’s a master of light and shade.

The cast of singers is as fine as you could imagine for the opera today. Stephen Gould and Camilla Nylund are marvellous as the royal couple. Gould’s amazingly strong Heldentenor is on top of every aspect of the Emperor’s (admittedly one-dimensional) character. Every note is there with complete security, and the slightly dusky colour of his voice give him a particular colour that I found very attractive.

If you want a recording of the opera as a celebratory live event then you can invest in this one with confidence. It’s the finest iteration of the opera that you could imagine today… © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Kevin Filipski
The Flip Side, June 2020

…Too bad that we’re only getting an audio-only recording of this gorgeous-sounding 2019 Vienna State Opera performance starring Stephen Gould and Camila Nyland in two of the most vocally taxing roles in the repertoire. Strauss’ always luscious music is performed by the superlative Vienna State Opera orchestra and chorus, led by conductor Christian Thielemann (who also was in the pit during that 2001 run at the Met). © 2020 The Flip Side Read complete review

Robert Levine, June 2020

New FrOSch From Thielemann And Vienna—The Top Of The List

This performance, though impressively sung/acted, probably will be most lauded for its conducting and the ravishingly beautiful playing of the Vienna forces under the absolute control of Christian Thielemann.

Let’s face it—you need more than one recording of this great, complex, gorgeous work. This new one should be one of them. © 2020 Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, June 2020

Die Frau ohne Schatten has enjoyed a rich performance history and is regarded as a special highlight of Viennese and international music theatre. Christian Thielemann leads a stellar cast including Camilla Nylund, Nina Stemme, Stephen Gould, Sebastian Holecek and Evelyn Herlitzius. © 2020 Classical CD Choice Read complete review

James Manheim, May 2020

Those at this live 2019 production from the Vienna State Opera spoke in awe of conductor Christian Thielemann’s cool, minimal gestures, seemingly at odds with the oversized fairy-tale story, but essential to communicating it musically. Strands of orchestral texture spring into focus and then link up with what is coming next, nor does he let the vocally virtuosic cast take star turns; they work as an ensemble.

…This is a major notch in his baton. © 2020 Read complete review

Andrew Clements
The Guardian, May 2020

Strauss’s fairytale epic is full of magnificent detail in the hands of Christian Thielemann, while Camilla Nylund’s Empress is supple and intense

Thielemann’s handling of the score is unreservedly magnificent; he conveys its teeming detail and dramatic sweep in a way that almost manages to disguise its more prolix moments, while ensuring as far as possible that the singers can cut through the tumultuous scoring (for more than 160 players). Stephen Gould brings a heldentenor’s heft to the role of Emperor, while Camilla Nylund’s Empress combines silvery suppleness in the early scenes with real dramatic intensity in the final act. © 2020 The Guardian Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, April 2020

Christian Thielemann’s conducting is phenomenal, and under his direction the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera blossoms into a top Strauss orchestra. Despite the energetic accentuation and the opulent sound, he also proves to be a master of the most delicate, sensual expression, bringing an immense amount of breath and intensity to the opera. From the finest to the most powerful passages, the orchestra offers a dramatically exciting performance with an impressive transparency and variety of colours. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review

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