Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, September 2017

This riotous production from Madrid is a treat to the eye and ear. Manuela Uhl, best known to me in German roles, is for that reason well cast as Isabella, despite some unsteadiness in her opening duet. She is adept at creating comedy with her facial expressions and just walking in high dudgeon across the stage. British baritone Christopher Maltman’s Friedrich is at once serious and funny. With his rich, dark tone he seems ready for Wagner’s Germanic side. Also outstanding is Croatian bass Ante Jerkunica, Friedrich’s police muscle (Brighella), who busts the casino and then tries to play judge. Brighella’s transformation at the end is better seen than described. Soprano Maria Hinojosa Montenegro (listed as Maria Hinojosa) does a nice turn as a casino entertainer, working her wiles on Brighella while he plays judge, and as an intoxicated jilted lover.

The production is an update (neon signs, Smartphones, etc), but it works very well. Kasper Holten’s staging is funny, clever, and engaging. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Richard S. Ginell
Classical Voice North America, May 2017

Christopher Maltman sings Friedrich sonorously, and Manuela Uhl, despite a vibrato that nearly wavers out of control early on, has enough weight in her voice to credibly negotiate Isabella’s demanding part. The others meld into an ensemble cast of consistently lively acting and variable vocal quality. © 2017 Classical Voice North America Read complete review

Janos Gardonyi
The WholeNote, April 2017

Brilliantly directed by Kasper Holten with an ingenious multilevel set lit with neon lights, stairs, hidden corridors and cavernous spaces that can become a noisy bar in one moment and a nunnery or a prison the next, a young, wholesome, talented cast propelled by conductor Ivor Bolton who, like an energized bunny, moves the whole rip-roaring show like a steamroller. I am gratified by seeing leading lady Manuela Uhl again with her gorgeous and powerful high soprano towering above the cast, but Christopher Maltman as Friedrich the hypocritical tyrant, principal baritone (Cardiff’s Singer of the Year), is a worthy foil. Even the lesser roles are all excellent: Peter Lodahl, Ilker Arcayürek—two strong and sensitive tenors who end up winning the girls—plus the hilarious police constable Ante Jerkunica pining after the luscious subretta Maria Hinojosa. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, April 2017

Musically, the cast is led by the ever-dependable Christopher Maltman, who gives a touch of magic to the rather archetypal figure of the wicked duke. Manuela Uhl struggles to settle into the ungrateful tessitura, but does a very good job once she does. Peter Lodahl, as the love interest, is a little screechy at the outset, but my ear became attuned to him as the film went on. …The smaller soprano roles are well taken too, …The finest heroes, however, are the orchestra, who play the score as though it were Meistersinger, sounding like gods right from the sparkling overture to the jolly resolution. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, April 2017

WAGNER, R.: Liebesverbot (Das) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (NTSC) OA1191D
WAGNER, R.: Liebesverbot (Das) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7213D

Manuela Uhl assumes the role of Isabella. This lead bears a lot of responsibility; she’s the definitive novice with amazing projection, steely at times on the edges. As she amusingly plays up her piousness, she attempts to rescue her brother, Claudio (Ilker Arcayürek.) Their iPhone (“Telephone Duet”) conversation while Claudio is in prison is clever and feigned with sobriety. Adding to the zaniness, María Hinojosa plays up her character, Dorella, with buoyant sassiness as she attempts to seduce lieutenant Brighella (Ante Jerkunica.) Kasper Holten wonderfully exercises the job of character blocking with nuances of delightful facial expressions. It’s nonstop joy.

There’s much to like in this Das Liebesverbot. Even if one isn’t particularly keen on glancing at Richard Wagner’s comic side, consider a rethink. Here’s an amiable twist of fun. © 2017 Read complete review

Mike Ashman
Gramophone, April 2017

WAGNER, R.: Liebesverbot (Das) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (NTSC) OA1191D
WAGNER, R.: Liebesverbot (Das) [Opera] (Teatro Real, 2016) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7213D

Bolton conducts with enthusiasm. Like Downes he plays the ruling influence of each musical section for all its worth—the chorus music and the scenes with Luzio, Brighella and Dorella are unapologetically Italian, the nunnery duet for Isabella/Mariana wholly Weberlike; whereas the Sawallisch and Weigle recordings boil down Wagner’s borrowings into a kind of pre-mature Wagner style which lessens the score’s eccentricity and colour. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group