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BBC Music Magazine, May 2020

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

Marking the opera’s 60th anniversary, Glyndebourne staged Vanessa in the summer of 2018. With Keith Warner in the director’s chair, Ashley Martin Davies in charge of design and a supremely talented cast, it proved a major success, and an atmospheric production that is particularly effective on screen. © 2020 BBC Music Magazine

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 Hru°ša. Virginie Verrez’s Erika is the star of the show, her voice clear and strong, her acting well-modulated. © 2019 Limelight Read complete review

Allan Altman
American Record Guide, November 2019

Soprano Emma Bell brings an authoritative dramatic and vocal presence to the title role; her plaintive timbre is even and secure, with lovely pianissimo high notes in the aria ‘Do Not Utter a Word’ (made famous by Leontyne Price’s classic 1966 recording). She is ably matched by the charismatic mezzosoprano Virginie Verrez as an emotionally complex Erika and the veteran soprano Rosalind Plowright as a smoldering Baroness. Donnie Ray Albert makes the most of the Old Doctor’s virtues and foibles, singing with exemplary clarity of tone and diction. … Jakub Hrusa, leading the forces of the London Philharmonic, gets to revel in the sumptuous preludes and interludes assigned to the orchestra. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

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

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

Kevin Filipski
The Flip Side, July 2019

Samuel Barber’s volcanically romantic opera—with a distinctively Hitchockian atmosphere of lost and new loves—has some of the composer’s most achingly melodic music, perfectly encapsulating how the women at the opera’s center (Vanessa, her niece Erika and the Old Baroness) react to the men in (and out of) their lives. Keith Warner’s superb 2018 Glyndebourne, England production is buoyed by Jakub Hrůša’s precise conducting of the London Philharmonic, and further illuminated by the emotionally riveting performances by Emma Bell (Vanessa), Virginie Verrez (Erika) and Rosalind Plowright (Old Baroness). There’s first-rate hi-def video and audio. © 2019 The Flip Side

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