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Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2016

Szymanowski’s operatic masterpiece has been lucky on disc, no more so than this DVD of the highly praised Covent Garden production. Once one gets used to the updated staging, the realization of the work from both a musical and directorial aspect leaves little to be desired. All the singing is superb as are the orchestra and Antonio Pappano in the pit. © 2016 MusicWeb International

Adrian Corleonis
Fanfare, November 2016

Anyone who cares for Szymanowski will want this for its loving, best-yet go at King Roger. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Adrian Corleonis
Fanfare, July 2016

…there’s no denying this production’s visceral impact. The principals deliver strong performances of the writhing, violent nonsense Holten set out for them. …The chorus is superb, and the Royal Opera House Orchestra shimmers in Szymanowski’s scintillance. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, March 2016

From the very beginning where the stage is draped in complete darkness and the liturgical singing of the chorus emerges gradually from the distance before reaching its glorious climax, the effect is overwhelming—more so than in Rattle’s recording where the microphones are placed closer.

Antonio Pappano and the superb orchestra establish the darkness and even terror at the start of Act Two before Roger expresses his anxiety and anguish to Edrisi as he awaits the arrival of the Shepherd. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, March 2016

Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, considerably experienced in the demanding role of Roger, has a kingly, dominating timbre, and he magnificently inflates Roger’s internal conflicts to an epic scale. He traverses a broad spectrum of powerful emotions, and his desperate, thunderous cries of “Roxana” in Act III reverberate. Jarman sings with radiant allure, caressing the intervals of Roxana’s chromatically sinuous vocalises, some of the most memorable music in the opera.

Saimir Pirgu, a bright, blazing Albanian tenor with an impeccable upper range, certainly has enough vocal charisma to make the whole kingdom pay attention to his Shepherd. …Kim Begley provides a weighty yet expressive tenor and full dramatic involvement as Edrisi, the King’s advisor. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, March 2016

[Kwiecien] is a formidable Roger, with his excellent baritone and his fine acting. From the opening moments one can see that all is not well with this king. His conflicted reactions to the shepherd and to his own wife show his inner turmoil, only relieved in the final moments of the opera.

Kwiecien is ably supported by tenor Saimir Pirgu as the shepherd and American soprano Georgia Jarman as Roxana. Both embody their rather mysterious characters and have no trouble with the very demanding music. Veteran Kim Begley makes an excellent Edrisi (a sort of advisor to the king), and the Covent Garden chorus and orchestra sing and play the complex score expertly under Pappano, who obviously loves this music.

This is another excellent production of the Royal Opera and its musical director. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Tim Pfaff
Bay Area Reporter, February 2016

…tenor Saimir Pirgu lets it rip vocally. Georgia Jarman is a searing Queen Roxana, singing blisteringly difficult music as if it were Mozart. In the pit, Antonio Pappano is a pagan god. © 2016 Bay Area Reporter Read complete review

BBC Music Magazine, February 2016

SZYMANOWSKI, K.: Król Roger (Royal Opera House, 2015) (NTSC) OA1161D
SZYMANOWSKI, K.: Król Roger (Royal Opera House, 2015) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7162D

An extremely lucid performance that somehow manages to be taut and lush at the same time. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Robert Levine, January 2016

Georgia Jarman’s Roxana, extravagantly acted, with a sexual push-pull that is almost alarming, is sung with style and precision. Kim Begley, as Edrisi, advises the King with strong tone. The others in the cast are thoroughly involved and meet every expectation. The Covent Garden chorus, with some of the most gorgeous hymn-like music as well as frenzied outbursts, is startling in its accuracy and passion. Holding it all together is conductor Antonio Pappano, who leads the post-Romantic score with what actually seems like love. © 2016 Read complete review

Neil Fisher
Gramophone, January 2016

The performances are all first-rate, Kwiecien and Pirgu matching each other in endurance and vocal beauty, Georgia Jarman’s Queen Roxana tender and supple in her Act 2 siren song and Kim Begley’s Edrisi as firm a voice of reason as Szymanowski permits in an opera that’s always heated to boiling point. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Richard Landau, January 2016

Król Roger is richly scored and commands attention from start to finish…

With his considerable experience of performing the title role, Mariusz Kwiecień (singing in his native tongue) depicts Roger’s tormented soul with conviction, both dramatically and vocally. Georgia Jarman, not least in her short aria in Act Two, sings superbly, offering a touching portrayal of a woman who is distressed by the frigidity of her marriage. And Saimir Pirgu, of lyrical voice and handsome presence, makes the Shepherd’s power over the royal couple easy to comprehend, although his vivid formal attire hardly chimes with the designation Shepherd. Kim Begley cuts a dignified figure as Roger’s advisor Edrisi, and Alan Ewing and Agnes Zwierko respectively present an intimidating Archbishop and Deaconess. Furthermore, the sonorous contribution of the Royal Opera Chorus is truly impressive, especially in Act One.

I cannot recommend Król Roger highly enough. Ian Russell’s direction for the screen is extremely satisfying, the DVD sound and picture quality is first-rate, and I have it on good authority that the Blu-ray version is even more stunning. © 2016 Read complete review

Porgy Amor
Parterre Box, December 2015

Pappano and his players bring compelling pace and ravishing detail to Szymanowski’s alluring, often decadent score, and they make a strong case for it as great music. © 2015 Parterre Box Read complete review

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