Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, March 2018

Musically, the cast and company of this production are first-rate. Gerald Finley has performed the title role both in this production and at the Met; he must be considered the role’s leading interpreter. He sings magnificently, and his acting leaves no doubt as to his authority as Tell. The difficult tenor role of Arnold holds no terrors for John Osborne. All three female roles are well taken. Malin Byström has the coloratura and range for Matilde, and she looks beautiful in the part. The pants role of Jemmy fits Sofia Fomina. Enkelejda Shkosa gives a sympathetic portrayal of Tell’s faithful wife. The veteran bass Eric Halfvarson makes a noble Melcthal, and Nicolas Courjal is an appropriately evil villain. The minor characters, chorus, and orchestra all perform ably under the sure guidance of Antonio Pappano. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Fred Cohn
Opera News, February 2018

The musical performance is very fine. Gerald Finley’s virtues in the title role, on ample display in last season’s Met production, shine through here as well. Tell is a figure of authority and gravity, conveyed through the seriousness of Finley’s physical presence and the dark, bass-baritonal solidity of his tone. …His easy top, accessed without crooning or manipulation, helps him sustain a consistently lyrical line, and his unerring legato in “Sois immobile” makes the aria the emotional crux of the drama.

Wearing a sharply tailored, distinctly first-world business suit, Malin Byström cuts an appealing figure as Mathilde. Her soft-grained but generously produced lyric soprano, flecked with a tight vibrato, is also appealing. Some of the role’s faster passages show that she is not exactly a bel canto singer, but in her vocal and physical manner, she creates a convincing portrait of a noblewoman of conscience.

John Osborn’s voice is larger and rougher than some of his contemporaries in the Rossini tenor repertory, making him well suited to Arnold, a considerably more heroic role than, say, Almaviva or Prince Ramiro. Even the note of strain in Osborn’s singing works well for the conflicted patriot, and it lends the trumpeted high Cs in the cabaletta “Aux armes”—Tell’s eleven-o’clock number—an air of triumph; it’s a thrilling moment of vocalism.

Sofia Fomina, as Jemmy, deploys her clear, focused soprano without leggiero coyness; she’s convincing as the earnest, intelligent young lad. Nicolas Courjal’s voice may not be nimble, but his Gesler is debonair—a monster in dandy’s clothing. Eric Halfvarson’s bass is now gravelly, but it well conveys the authority and wisdom of the elder Melcthal.

Antonio Pappano leads an all-but-uncut performance that balances rhythmic propulsion with spaciousness. Tell is a choral opera every bit as much as Boris Godunov; under the direction of Renato Balsadonna, the Covent Garden chorus’s work is full-throated but precise. The forces onstage and in the pit diligently render Guillaume Tell’s special nature. © 2018 Opera News Read complete review

Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, January 2018

Among world conductors [Pappano] is, perhaps, the most experienced conducting this rarely staged work, a fact that quickly evidenced by the nature of the overture, a regular concert piece which Pappano handled with a blend of spirituality and violence, as befitted its use as the introduction to the opera. It was matched by his support of the singing cast, both soloists and chorus. …In the eponymous role Gerald Finley brought his usual level of professionalism to both his singing and acting… Sofia Fomina’s portrayal of his son, Jemmy, was outstanding in terms of both singing and acting, whether playing toy soldiers or becoming involved in the more serious business of subversion. As his mother, and Tell’s wife, Hedwige, Enkelejda Shkosa acted with conviction and sang well, as did Malin Byström as the Hapsburg Princess who brought humanity to the treatment of the Swiss as well as being loved by Arnold, the patriot son of a brutally murdered father. In the fiendishly high tenor role of Arnold, John Osborne managed the high notes of the notorious act four aria Asile héréditaire taking the highest note in head voice. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Benson, January 2018

The cast is uniformly excellent with Gerald Finley in the title role. John Osborn is brilliant as Arnold; some listeners might even prefer his sound to that of Floréz. © 2018 Read complete review

Hans de Groot
The WholeNote, October 2017

John Osborn has no trouble with the notorious tenor part, while Gerald Finley is magnificent in the title role. A blot on the 1972 performance was the soprano who sang Mathilde, the Habsburg princess. Malin Byström is much better but her high notes are shrill and unpleasant. There are good performances from Eric Halfvarson as the patriarch Melcthal, from Sofia Fomina in the travesti role of Tell’s son and from “our own” Michael Colvin as a very unpleasant army commander. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group