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Patrick Dillon
Opera News, November 2016

VERDI, G.: Due Foscari (I) (Royal Opera House, 2015) (NTSC) OA1207D
VERDI, G.: Due Foscari (I) (Royal Opera House, 2015) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7197D

…musically, the performance is good. Agresta’s isn’t quite the right voice for her role, …but it’s an attractive instrument when she’s not overloading it, and she knows the style—and, as a native, the language. So does the handsome, simpatico Meli, and their fervent delivery of the text is a pleasure to hear. He’s a fine Jacopo, …Maurizio Muraro lowers effectively as the vengeful Loredano. Antonio Pappano, in the pit, does nothing to taint his reputation as an expert, committed Verdian, and his Royal Opera forces honor him—and Verdi—with first-rate playing and choristry. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review



Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, September 2016

This production for me is the “Maria Agresta Show”. The Italian soprano sings this early Verdi soprano role as if it were easy. She dominates the ensembles with her clear, strong spinto soprano; and she throws herself into the role of the unhappy wife with all the passion one might associate with Leonore in Fidelio.

The musical performance is excellent, as well as the visual production. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Paul Steinson
MusicWeb International, August 2016

Maria Agresta’s Lucrezia is a fully committed, completely engaged performance. She is capable of some subtlety, though the top of the voice can be strident, and it is a real performance from the start. Her entrance is very exciting, grabbing the attention immediately and also demonstrating that she has good control of the high notes when singing quietly.

Francesco Meli’s Jacopo is another exciting performance. He has a bright, good-sized voice…

…Pappano conducts to the manner born. He brings out as much subtlety as can be found in this less-than-front-rank piece but does not short-change the pulsing excitement which is the essence of early Verdi. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2016

Placido Domingo’s move to the baritone world has not been universally welcomed, but Verdi’s role of the Doge could, visually and vocally, have been intended for him. It is then sad to report that he is here cast in Thaddeus Strassberger’s new production for London’s Royal Opera House, a mishmash that seemingly cannot make up its mind what it wants to be, or what period he wants it to be in. The opening set, for instance, seems to be a Venetian bomb site into which the Doge’s son, Jacopo Foscari, descends in a modern metal cage, surrounded by men in 15th century dress, while the third act carnival scene is pure modernism. For Domingo, the film team have done him no favours in going so close that you see the effort he now employs to sing, though the result is a powerful projection as the character tries to role back the years to the time before his three sons died in the plague. Verdi then relied on the tenor to make the best he can of the cardboard cut-out character of Jacapo, Francesco Meli’s fulsome voice filling out his arias with passion, while you have to be a brave man to upset Maria Agresta as Jacopo’s fiery wife. We never get to know the reason for the hatred between the Foscari clan and the Loredano dynasty, the baritone, Maurizio Muraro, as its head man, seemingly a little upset but nothing more. So we look to Pappano to inject angst into the score, and that he certainly does with the excellent orchestra in outstanding form. The wide range of lighting must have caused the filming team problems, but I think the costume department, who were given the task of creating times long past, were none too happy to allow the close-up moments. Then those who question such things will wonder how the “premiere of this production at the Royal Opera House, 14 October 2015”, was “recorded live on 27 October 2014”? The disc contains the usual translation options for the surtitles, and the DVD also comes in a Blu-ray option on OABD7197D. © 2016 David’s Review Corner




Infodad.com, July 2016

…Antonio Pappano conducts with suitable intensity and attentiveness to detail. …[Plácido Domingo] shows himself as strong-voiced and convincing in this baritone role as he used to be in tenor parts. © 2016 Infodad.com Read complete review



Neil Fisher
Gramophone, July 2016

VERDI, G.: Due Foscari (I) (Royal Opera House, 2015) (NTSC) OA1207D
VERDI, G.: Due Foscari (I) (Royal Opera House, 2015) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7197D

With Muraro muttering opaquely from the sidelines, this is really a three-person gig, and around Domingo there is excitement but also wildness from both Meli and Agresta. The tenor has the mettle for the part and phrases nicely… © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, June 2016

VERDI, G.: Due Foscari (I) (Royal Opera House, 2015) (NTSC) OA1207D
VERDI, G.: Due Foscari (I) (Royal Opera House, 2015) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7197D

The performance of the Covent Garden Orchestra is outstanding directed by Pappano and taking strength from his dramatic vision. The Covent Garden Chorus make their usual competent contribution despite limited opportunities. …With a genuine dramatic baritone in the title role and the likes of Pappano on the rostrum this staging could be a vehicle for the work’s renaissance. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review





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