Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Charles H. Parsons
American Record Guide, September 2014

BRITTEN, B.: Rape of Lucretia (ENO, Aldeburgh Festival 2001) (NTSC) OA1123D
BRITTEN, B.: Rape of Lucretia (ENO, Aldeburgh Festival 2001) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7135D

David McVicor and Yannis Thavoris present a realistic production in an artificial setting.

The performance is solid, excellent even. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Bruce Surtees
The WholeNote, June 2014

This production is a gripping and successful mounting of this harrowingly painful illumination of the dark side of human nature.

Performed in the ambience of The Maltings in Aldeburgh, Britten’s own theatre, by a superlative cast on a starkly true set, this production will probably never be equalled, let alone surpassed. The 2001 BBC documentation is faultless and the finished DVD puts us in the audience. A unique treasure. © 2014 The Wholenote Read complete review

Tim Pfaff
Bay Area Reporter, May 2014

John Mark Ainsley and Orla Boylan sing vividly as the Choruses, and when Ainsley sings of Tarquinius’ furious horseback chase to despoil Lucretia, the effect is overwhelming. The stripped-down ENO Orchestra…under Paul Daniel, briefly depart from the score’s austerity to make fearful, gut-wrenching music.

In an exalted performance as Lucretia, Sarah Connolly sings unsparingly of the consequences of the sex that ensues, including on Lucretia’s part.

It’s a powerfully, deliberately disturbing work that shows its power is unfading. © 2014 Bay Area Reporter Read complete review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, March 2014

Tarquinius himself is played brilliantly by Christopher Maltman. He gets right into the physicality of the role, projecting himself forward with all the character’s lascivious selfishness. This infects his singing too so that there is an insidious, dark edge to all of his music, for all that Maltman sings it beautifully. Leigh Melrose is a similarly worldly Junius, and his “banter” with Tarquinius gives spur to his plot for the rape.

Sarah Connolly makes a wonderful Lucretia, too. She is dignified and noble throughout, and she uses the lower registers of her voice most effectively to portray, first, the character’s pervasive sense of virtue and later her sense of devastation after the rape; her monosyllabic “confession” before Collatinus is unanswerable, despite his words of compassion. However, she is at her most compelling during the scene of the rape itself, conveying Lucretia’s sense of helplessness and resistance but at the same time conveying some of her fascination with Tarquinius: does she not sing, “In the forest of my dreams, you have always been the Tiger”? Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Mary Nelson make an excellent pair of servants, Lucia’s sweet-voiced naivety contrasting well with the more world-weary depth of Bianca.

In many ways the greatest revelations come from the Male and Female chorus, both excellently sung. McVicar’s big idea is to have them interacting invisibly with the rest of the cast. This turns them into a psychological commentary on the unfolding story and adds an extra layer of depth that you don’t get from a purely audio recording. This, above all, is the DVD’s strength. The indecisiveness of Ainsley, for example, as he narrates Tarquinius’ ride to Rome, or Boylan’s pitiful helplessness as she comments on the scene before and after the rape, really make the performance come alive, and make this a winner over any other audio performance.

Add in the expert playing of the ENO chamber ensemble and Paul Daniel’s intelligent conducting, and you have a winner on your hands. This is probably the best way for a beginner to experience Lucretia; a great work, for all its problems. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Patrick Stearns
Gramophone, February 2014

BRITTEN, B.: Rape of Lucretia (ENO, Aldeburgh Festival 2001) (NTSC) OA1123D
BRITTEN, B.: Rape of Lucretia (ENO, Aldeburgh Festival 2001) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7135D

Lucretia director David McVicar typically finds clarity and purpose amid the opera’s convoluted story-telling. Lucretia’s scenes are bathed in a twilight blue with a wading pond creating ripples that beautifully match the score’s harp-writing.

Connolly’s performance sets a standard that’s perhaps as important to The Rape of Lucretia as Jon Vickers was to Peter Grimes. Daniel makes every note count in this ultra-spare score. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group