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Fred Cohn
Opera News, January 2020

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

Ready for Its Closeup – A noirish production of Vanessa makes a strong case for this unloved opera.

Jakub Hrůša draws incisive, full-bodied playing from the London Philharmonic. The conductor is as thoroughly immersed in the drama as his singers, giving the action its full theatrical charge. When everything finally stills for the last-act quintet, the permeating, deep-drenched sadness comes through with cathartic intensity. Hru˚ša clearly believes in Vanessa, and this video will turn the viewer into a believer as well. 2020 Opera News Read complete review

James A. Altena
Fanfare, January 2020

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

Veteran Rosalind Plowright, moving down from soprano to mezzo repertoire, is an effective Baroness; Edgaras Montvidas is a fine Anatol with a handsome presence, if not quite in Nicolai Gedda’s league; Donnie Rae Albert is engaging as the Doctor. Jakub Hrůša is efficient on the podium, if not on the exalted plane of Mitropoulos, and the London Philharmonic plays with its accustomed excellence… © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Clive Paget
Limelight, November 2019

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

Overthought at times, but Barber’s forgotten gem shows much promise.

Emma Bell’s Vanessa is well sung, her powerful soprano soaring over the fine orchestral playing of the London Philharmonic under the excellent guidance of Jakub Hrůša. Virginie Verrez’s Erika is the star of the show, her voice clear and strong, her acting well-modulated. © 2019 Limelight Read complete review

William Kreindler
MusicWeb International, October 2019

Emma Bell is in fine voice as the title character, but even better is the deftness of her characterization—so self-centered as to miss most of the drama happening around her—especially in “Erika, I am so happy” in Act I and later in Act III’s “Why must the greatest sorrows”.

Jakub Hrůša leads the London Philharmonic in a very idiomatic performance. He emphasizes the frequently overlooked ominousness in the music, and brings a metallic sheen to the orchestra that combines well with Warner’s overall conception. Of special note is his handling of the ensemble sections, especially the intensity he brings to the characters’ final leave-taking in Act III. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Emmanuel Dupuy
Diapason, October 2019

Barber’s lyrical masterpiece had not yet had the honours for video. It’s now done—and well done—thanks to this production from Glyndebourne, shrouded in an atmosphere of American film noir. © 2019 Diapason

Opera, October 2019

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

Leading a splendidly responsive London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hrůša stays alert to the many ways in which Barber’s score subverts the conventional expectations it seems to embrace. © 2019 Opera

Edward Seckerson
Gramophone, August 2019

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

A strongly recommended staging of Barber’s Vanessa from Glyndebourne which has challenged perceptions of the opera.

…Thanks to Warner’s perception and motivation this excellent cast really deliver. As do Glyndebourne’s resident London Philharmonic under the dynamic young Czech Jakub Hrůša. Shadowy, opulent, effulgent—Barber’s Vanessa is the opera that bridges Hollywood and the Broadway stage. © 2019 Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2019

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

Completed in 1957, the four act opera, Vanessa, by the American composer, Samuel Barber, follows directly in the footsteps of Italian opera from the era of Puccini.

Having the benefit of a libretto by the opera composer, Gian Carlo Menotti, the story opens with Vanessa awaiting the arrival of Anatol, her lover twenty years earlier, and whom she has not seen since. It comes as a painful shock when the man who arrives is a person she does not recognise. It is his son, also call Anatol, who always heard his father, who is now dead, recalling her name, and became so fascinated with her that he needed to meet her. He now finds her living a lonely life with her niece, Erika, and her ageing mother who refuses to speak to her, Vanessa living the dream that one day he will return. But on his arrival in this magnificent house, it is Erika to who Anatol is drawn. With the others in bed, she invites him to her room and they spend the night together where he confesses he is much attracted to her. His infatuation soon withers, and he turns his attention to the wealthy Vanessa, and at a splendid ball Erika hears them formally pledge their love. Running out into the snow she is eventually found in a ravine having lost his unborn child. Time passes and Anatol and Vanessa have left to live in Paris, Erika, just like Vanessa before her, awaiting with the old Baroness for her ‘Anatol’ to return to her. So there are the ingredients for a scenario of elegance tinged with drama and sadness, the opera, first staged at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, enjoying a somewhat mixed reception. This new production, from Keith Warner, is largely ‘traditional’ with the action set somewhere in the early Twentieth century, but when he tries to explain, graphically, what has probably happened before the opera began, he only tends to confuse. Yet, take the elegant dress that comes close to those originally conceived by Cecil Beaton, and visually this staging is a great success. If there is a drawback, it is musically, Barber’s lack of memorable arias is a fact that becomes increasingly true as the story unfolds. Turn to the vocal aspects of this performance, and the cast, assembled for Glyndebourne Opera in 2018, is well-neigh ideal, with the every changing fortunes of Vanessa captured with an emotionally wide range of moods by Emma Bell, and they counter Virginie Verrez’s rather naive Erika. Just a mite too smooth for a characterful Anatol, Edgaras Montvidas is a most attractive lyric tenor, while Donnie Ray Albert is excellent as The Old Doctor. Little to do, other than look forbidding, it is good to see Rosalind Plowright back on stage again. Good orchestral contribution from the London Philharmonic, the conductor, Jakub Hrusa, keeping the action moving forward at admirable tempos. Very good filming, the release here reviewed as a standard DVD, it is also available on Blu-ray OABD 7258D. Both include multi-lingual sub-title translations. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

Records International, August 2019

Poised constantly on the edge of song, Vanessa unfolds in generous swathes of melody, rich in filmic strings and soaring brass, with echoes of Puccini, Berg and Strauss. It climaxes in a final quintet of Mozartean poignancy—one of the great ensembles of the contemporary repertoire. © 2019 Records International

Opera Now, August 2019

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

The acting is naturalistic and detailed and it all combines to make a satisfying emotional whole. Jakub Hrůša’s conducting adds to the Romantic sweep of the performance, and the cast is excellent. © 2019 Opera Now

Freya Parr
BBC Music Magazine, August 2019

BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (NTSC) OA1289D
BARBER, S.: Vanessa [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7258D

Vanessa is a great American masterpiece. Here now is the production and cast that Vanessa has been waiting for. © 2019 BBC Music Magazine

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