Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, November 2013

From the dramatic musical opening, tight and tense under Carella, with the powerful men’s chorus, the listener feels this is going to be a fine performance. And it is.

This is some of the most exciting bel canto I’ve heard in a while. Carella really knows his business and ignites his singers and orchestra to white-hot pitch! It’s wild! Hendricks is a savage in character with vocalism that is thrilling. Put him together with Osborn’s throat-defying, no-holds-barred, fearless singing and it’s magic. Then throw in Cantarero’s hefty-voiced Elvira soaring with Brillenbourg mining the female vocal depths, not to be outdone by the vocal grandeur of Zanellato and Gualtiero and it adds up to a hit of the highest caliber. © 2013 American Record Guide

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, March 2013

BELLINI, V.: Puritani (I) (DNO, 2009) (NTSC) OA1091D
BELLINI, V.: Puritani (I) (DNO, 2009) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7111D

…Negrin gets some excellent performances from his cast…Scott Hendricks as the rejected lover sings nobly…John Osborn manages a stupendous top F, non-falsetto, and his singing in the trio…is even more wonderful.

Mariola Cantarero…impresses both in legato and in coloratura…Giuliano Carella conducts more than capably. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

Bellini’s final opera. I Puritani, was set within the familiar 18th century theme of a triangular love story in which the woman is the one who suffers. For its opening night in Paris in 1835 it had a cast described by one critic ‘as fine an ensemble as has ever been assembled in an opera house’, though the repeated demand for encores persuaded Bellini to make cuts so as to keep future performances within a reasonable length. By the turn of the century its style and content had dropped from fashion, and it was only with the arrival of virtuoso singer-actresses, such as Maria Callas, that it has came back into the standard repertoire. The story surrounds the love of Elvira by two men on opposing sides in the civil war raging in England, she being among those known the ‘Puritans’, hence the name of the opera. With her father’s blessing she is betrothed to Arturo, a Royalist; his rival, Riccardo, hoping to persuade her to love him. When Arturo flees with the Queen to save her life, Elvira believes he has deserted her and loses her sanity. The end of the opera sees Arturo shot and killed by Riccardo, though there is another version where a general amnesty between the two factions leaves nothing to stand in the way of happiness apart from the return of Elvira’s madness. The programme note writer was not aware that in the version we see—which is the original uncut score—Arturo dies, and we are left with the thought that the amnesty is just in Elvira’s troubled mind. To a degree the production from Francisco Negrin is ‘traditional’ and is within a set that must have cost a fortune, as it moves sideways, up and down and divides into modules in the cause of continuity. Maybe the inside of a iron-clad ship, with it’s multi-riveted iron sheets that formed its hull, has inspired the set design from Es Devlin. In Mariola Cantarero we have a more loving Elvira than we hear from Callas and many who have followed in her tracks. Her flexible voice makes little of the technical demands of her big arias, and one wishes the designers had left her natural hair in place of the ugly wig. John Osborn gets to Bellini’s high F in his final aria, and throughout he is a vocally resilient Arturo, and more than a match for Scott Hendrick’s forceful Riccardo. Riccardo Zanellato, who keeps his eyes firmly on the conductor, Giuliano Carella, is a powerful bass in the part of Elvira’s father, though it is beautiful voice of Fredrika Brillembourg, in the small role of the Queen, who captures my attention. Picture quality and the coverage of this production in Amsterdam’s Muziektheatre in 2009, is outstanding in every way, and comes with multilingual subtitles…immensely enjoyable. The standard DVD  has the number OA1091D © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group