Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, June 2014

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Iolanta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Persephone (Teatro Real, 2012) (NTSC) TR97011DVD
TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Iolanta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Persephone (Teatro Real, 2012) (Blu-ray, HD) TR97010BD

The Specialist’s Guide To…Operas in one act # 3

Iolanta…is about a princess kept in ignorance of her blindness. Her only chance—rejected by her father—of gaining her sight is if she learns of her condition and agrees to treatment by a Moorish physician. She falls in love with a stranger, who tries to explain light and colour. All ends happily. Peter Sellars’s direction is as striking as ever, with beautiful lighting effects. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Peter J. Rabinowitz
Fanfare, May 2013

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Iolanta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Persephone (Teatro Real, 2012) (NTSC) TR97011DVD
TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Iolanta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Persephone (Teatro Real, 2012) (Blu-ray, HD) TR97010BD

…the production [of the Iolanta] is visually impressive, and leaves the singers at the center—and they will melt your heart. Ekaterina Scherbachenk…has a luminous voice…she captures Iolanta’s emotional trajectory with magnetic force. As her lover, Pavel Černoch…[has] got a winning tone and the dexterity to sing his high notes without forcing them. Dmitry Ulianov is appropriately steady as Iolanta’s clueless father…he manages to convey the paradoxes of the part well…Willard White, sings the pivotal part of the doctor…with tremendous authority; and the supporting cast is impressive…Throughout, the more conversational passages have an impressive degree of naturalness.

Perséphone[’s]…production is excellent…matching Iolanta in its colors and its use of the stage, and employing dancers from the Amrita Performing Arts of Cambodia to excellent effect. Dominique Blanc manages to read André Gide’s lines without falling into histrionic excess (no easy feat)…Currentzis manages to bring out the score’s variety and imagination, giving a good sense of its textures and providing a dance impetus it doesn’t always have. Sight and sound are first-rate. All in all…well worth your attention. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, February 2013

…splendid singing in the Tchaikovsky and excellent dancing and choreography, as well as fine singing, in the Stravinsky.

The Tchaikovsky features the ravishing singing of…Ekaterina Scherbachenko as Iolanta. There is so much to admire in the singing and dramatic skills of Scherbachenko, and for that matter, the whole cast. Right from the beginning your eyes are glued to the screen and your ears are enchanted by Scherbachenko’s voice. The lovely trio Spi, pust’ ang’ely krylami is beautifully sung by Ekaterina Semenchuk, Irina Churilova and Letitia Singleton. The male singers are strong throughout: to cite just one highlight, try Dmitry Ulianov’s brilliant and passionately committed Chto skazhet on?

I could go on with more lavish praise, but let me just say that this production features some of the finest singing in this opera that you’re likely to hear…Teodor Currentzis draws a spirited performance from the orchestra and chorus. Camera work and sound reproduction are excellent.

As for the Stravinsky, the two singers are just fine, but it is the dancing and choreography that will catch your eye. The dancers are from Amrita Performing Arts…Maestro Currentzis leads the orchestra with a knowing hand. The sound and camera work are splendid.

While it is certainly true that some who like Tchaikovsky won’t look fondly on the Stravinsky work, and some who admire Stravinsky won’t care a whit for Tchaikovsky, fans of either composer will find something here to rave about because this Blu-ray video offers totally convincing performances of each work. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, January 2013

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Iolanta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Persephone (Teatro Real, 2012) (NTSC) TR97011DVD
TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Iolanta / STRAVINSKY, I.: Persephone (Teatro Real, 2012) (Blu-ray, HD) TR97010BD

Like many other operas, Iolanta is concerned with the transition from darkness to light…Its chromaticism, which sets the scene, is offset by beautiful diatonic writing for an onstage string quartet. The setting is simple…The cast is led by Ekaterina Scherbachenko as a touching Iolanta, with Pavel Černoch as her ardent suitor. Dmitry Ulianov, Willard White and Alexej Markov deliver their set pieces admirably…

Perséphone, also about light and dark, is staged with the same set. Sam Sathya and her fellow artists from Cambodia…are models of grace…Paul Groves sings cleanly and heroically as Eumolpe. Teodor Currentzis conducts both pieces impeccably: don’t miss. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Lawrence Devoe, November 2012

Teatro Real Madrid gives us… [a] coupling of two Russian works: Tchaikovsky’s little known one-act opera, Iolanta, and Stravinsky’s vocal/dance recreation of the myth, Persephone. The unifying force behind these performances is the direction of stage legend Peter Sellars who brings his unique concepts to the proceedings. Young maestro Teodor Currentzis brings out the essence effectively in both scores.

Camera work is generally quite satisfying.

Peter Sellars delivers a perceptive explanation of how he conceived of these works as studies in light and darkness. Maestro Currentzis provides the musical perspective that shapes these pieces. You should consider watching this 21-minute feature as preparation to viewing these works.

The basis for recommending this BD is the superb presentation of Iolanta…There are many moments of ineffable beauty, concluding in the ethereal final chorus. The singers are up to the task, extremely photogenic, and, barebones sets aside, you will get an hour and a half that will literally take your breath awaya Peter Sellars production always demands your attention, and this BD is no exception. An opportunity to see two unusual works, given compelling performances. © 2012 Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group