The Great Classics series from Naxos is the perfect introduction to myriad genres of classical music. Comprising both complete and compiled selections from the greatest works in the repertoire, the boxes are bursting with wonderful pieces of music, both recognizable and unfamiliar. The boxes take the listener on a thrilling tour of some of the worlds most dramatic musical media, encompassing music from six centuries and featuring sensational performers.
The Scottish Opera's live concert performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore was given at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival, and the one-night-only show was well received by both the audience and critics. Featuring a charismatic cast including John Mark Ainsley as Sir Joseph Porter, Elizabeth Watts as Josephine, Andrew Foster-Williams as Captain Corcoran, Toby Spence as Ralph Rackstraw, Hilary Summers as Buttercup, and comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor as the Narrator, the production was especially noteworthy for conductor Richard Egarr's historically informed approach to the music.
André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry was the greatest French composer of opéra-comique in the eighteenth century. His librettist for Le Magnifique, Jean-Michel Sedaine, took a tale by La Fontaine and fashioned it into a compelling libretto. Grétry responded with an outstanding score, including one of the first programmatic overtures in musical history. His expressive love music, and extended preludes and postludes, add to the theatrical variety of this important and varied opera.
This famous production of Donizetti’s Mary Stuart was one of English National Opera’s most memorable from the 1980’s. Dame Janet Baker chose the title role of Donizetti’s Scottish queen for her farewell to the London operatic stage in 1982. It was a triumph for Dame Janet, in one of the most rewarding of operatic roles. As Mary, she displays her full range as a great singing actress, at times imperious and confrontational, yet during the quieter reflective moments intensely moving. Her adversary Elizabeth is sung by Rosalind Plowright, in one of the best performances of her career, both intense and passionate in this demanding role. The famous, though entirely fictional, encounter scene between the two Queens is extremely powerful. The cast also includes John Tomlinson I commanding voice as Talbot, and David Randall as an ardent Leicester. The Performance is gloriously conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.
Angela Gheorghiu stars as Marguerite alongside a divine cast of operatic superstars, including Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside and Sophie Koch, in David McVicar's spectacular 2004 production of Gounod's best known opera, Faust, for the Royal Opera House in London. This production was the Royal Opera Company's first performance of Gounod's Faust in 18 years. Gounod's Faust is the story of a scholar who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly indulgences. McVicar's innovative production sets this story around the time of the Franco-Prussian War (1870) in the gothic, seamy underbelly of Paris. He characterizes Faust, performed by Roberto Alagna, as a man both torn between the theater and religion, and grappling with his own sexuality.
Tra la fine dell’Ottocento e l’inizio del Novecento il progresso scientifico e tecnologico modificò radicalmente la vita quotidiana dei popoli occidentali. L’arte, naturalmente, non poteva non essere coinvolta in simile cambiamento.