Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

 
Keyword Search
 
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews



 
See latest reviews of other albums...


Joe Cadagin
Opera News, July 2019

BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (NTSC) OA1221D
BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7199D

George Benjamin’s darkly beautiful morality play revisits a familiar story in new ways.

The composer conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a detail-oriented performance that conveys all the subtleties of his finely crafted score. Benjamin sonically paints with the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio—much of the opera dwells in a shadowy space of creeping string counterpoint layered with sniggering, staccato woodwinds.

Rounding off the extraordinary ensemble cast are wide-eyed Samuel Boden, who lends his pure, haute-contretenor to the naïve prince, and actress Ocean Barrington-Cook, who silently communicates the princess’s loss of innocence and festering bitterness. © 2019 Opera News Read complete review




Clive Paget
Limelight, July 2019

BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (NTSC) OA1221D
BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7199D

A potent voiced Stéphane Degout makes much of the King, the portrayal of his emotional downfall pulsing with anguish and disbelief. Barbara Hannigan is no simple “she-wolf”, delivering a three-dimensional portrait of Isabel and singing with grace and power. Gyula Orendt makes a sensual, dangerous Gaveston, with Peter Hoare awkward and ruthless as the hated Mortimer. Samuel Boden’s silky-toned Young King and Ocean Barrington-Cook as his sister, turn chillingly in the denouement, the result of their lessons in love and violence. A must see for lovers of new opera. © 2019 Limelight Read complete review



Opera, July 2019

BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (NTSC) OA1221D
BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7199D

Playing under the intensely concentrated direction of the composer, the ROH orchestra is outstanding. This release is a triumph; it’s not to be missed. © 2019 Opera



Allan Altman
American Record Guide, July 2019

BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (NTSC) OA1221D
BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7199D

The cast is a first-rate ensemble of singing actors, led by Stephane Degout as the conflicted King. Gyula Orendt is a commanding Piers, projecting a frightening intensity that is sometimes menacing, sometimes seductive. Barbara Hannigan pulls off some magnificent vocal acrobatics as Isabel, who, trapped in an untenable marriage to the king, finds a degree of solace in a relationship with his exiled advisor, Mortimer (Peter Hoare). The characterizations are all wonderfully detailed—essential for an opera that is basically a psychological study. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



James H. North
Fanfare, July 2019

Benjamin’s orchestral writing is potent and effective, particularly in interludes between scenes.

The direction, camera work, audio, and video are all first rate.  …Written on Skin drew much of its power from being unique. Lessons in Love and Violence draws on the same ingredients… This production is magnificently constructed… © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review




Dave Billinge
MusicWeb International, April 2019

The cast is absolutely superb. Barbara Hannigan floats many high passages with her usual, but nonetheless remarkable, skill. The three important male protagonists have beautifully clear voices. The chorus, in several different guises, contribute much to the excellence. The orchestra, conducted by the composer, are marvellous; totally at home with this complex score. All this is captured with great clarity of both sound and video. The engineering team have all performed their roles with the highest professionalism. Still more remarkably—this was the world premiere performance! A triumph for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review




BBC Music Magazine, April 2019

[George Benjamin’s] orchestral imagination is prodigious, and both as composer and conductor he conjures up memorable soundscapes full of jittery tension. © 2019 BBC Music Magazine



Richard Fairman
Gramophone, March 2019

BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (NTSC) OA1221D
BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7199D

With Benjamin himself as conductor the orchestral playing is precision tuned. © 2019 Gramophone



Kevin Filipski
The Flip Side, February 2019

The opera Written on Skin made George Benjamin’s name: his spiky music and intense dramatics, coupled with committed collaborators and interpreters, were a satisfying combination. His latest, a static drama based on Christopher Marlowe’s play Edward II, shows Benjamin merely marking musical time, but it does bring out the best of director Katie Mitchell and singers Barbara Hannigan and Stephane Dagout, who elevate the opera whenever it sags. The hi-def image and audio are first-rate; lone extras are short interviews with Benjamin, Crimp and Mitchell. © 2019 The Flip Side



Prostoo Muzyce, January 2019

BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (NTSC) OA1221D 
BENJAMIN, G.: Lessons in Love and Violence [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7199D

Musically phenomenal roles were created by Barbara Hannigan and Stephane Degout. © 2019 Prostoo Muzyce





Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group