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Berlin Opera Night / Nagano, Berlin Deutsche Opera

Kasarova / Kirchschlager / Bumbry / Nagano / Dob
Release Date: 04/26/2011 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2053589  
Composer:  George Frideric HandelWolfgang Amadeus MozartGiacomo PucciniAntonín Dvorák,   ... 
Performer:  Charles CastronovoJuliane BanseVesselina KasarovaMichele Crider,   ... 
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BERLIN OPERA NIGHT

Juliane Banse, soprano
Grace Bumbry, mezzo-soprano
Michèle Crider, soprano
Vesselina Kasarova, mezzo-soprano
Angelika Kirchschlager, mezzo-soprano
Adrianne Pieczonka, soprano
Anne Schwanewilms, soprano
Charles Castronovo, tenor
Vladimir Galouzine, tenor
Salvatore Licitra, tenor
René Pape, bass

Berlin Deutsche Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Kent Nagano, conductor

Recorded live at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 8 November 2003

Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: German, English,
Read more French, Italian, Spanish
Running time: 73 mins
No. of DVDs: 1

Not every opera-lover finds such concerts appealing. As one who attends singing competitions and the like, I am more open-minded, finding such occasions often permit me to hear international quality singers performing within their fach. Add special Gala Nights, some degree of staging or a spectacular ambience and I am more than happy. The Baden Baden Gala Night featuring Netrebko, Garanca, Vargas and Tezier is an outstanding example of top-class singers strutting their stuff to make a memorable occasion. That’s certainly the case with the Metropolitan Opera special event celebratory nights (all on DG DVDs).
 
The occasion under review here was the tenth anniversary occasion celebrating the first of the Deutschen Oper charity concerts in 1994 raising money for the German AIDS Foundation. That first night featured artists such as Marilyn Horne, Lucia Aliberti and Agnes Baltsa with a star-studded audience of royalty and the stage in all their finery. This concert continues that tradition with well-known names on stage and in the audience, the latter all decked out in their best bib and tucker.
 
In a rather mixed bag, there are a number of class acts. There is a very brief orchestral introduction: a vaguely appropriate bit of Handel under Kent Nagano. That’s before we get to hear any singers. First up, and notable, is the mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager, appropriately in trousers for Cherubino’s two arias from Le Nozze di Figaro. With clear diction and varied dynamics allied to expressive singing she brings the composer’s captivating melodies alive (CHs 2 and 3). The distinguished German bass René Pape is an expressive Leporello in his Catalogue aria (CH 4), but rather lacking in Italianate nuance in his singing, something even truer of the Russian tenor Vladimir Galouzine, whose school of raw can belto mars Vesti la giubba (CH 12). It’s not only Russian tenors who lack vocal grace either; the Swiss-born Sicilian Salvatore Licitra lacked vocal grace in the tenor virility symbol, Nessun dorma (CH 9).
 
The Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka matches something of Angelika Kirchschlager’s class in Dvo?ák’s Song to the Moon (CH 6). This before she joins her colleague and the excellent pure sound of soprano Juliane Banse in Richard Strauss’s memorable trio Marie Theres! - Hab mir's gelobt (CH 8). The American tenor Charles Castronova brings some tenorial vocal grace to the Tauber favourite Dein ist mein ganzes Herz from Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns, albeit he could learn from his great predecessor the virtues of the mezza voce (CH 12). The American Grace Bumbry represents yesteryear. At age 66 and singing back in her mezzo fach she knows exactly what the words mean and what the opera tells in Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix from Samson et Dalila, a long-time favourite of hers. The legato might be lacking but the expressiveness and characterisation are not (CH 10). This precedes the highlight performance of the night in respect of bringing a role alive in a concert such as this. It has the Bulgarian mezzo Vesselina Kasarova singing an expressive and beautifully realised Werther! Qui m'aurait dit ... Des cris joyeux from Massenet’s opera (CH 11). The longest piece of the evening, it has the singer living the words in face and body, bringing the role to life rather than presenting a vocal show-piece. The audience might have been more thrilled by the tenors at full throttle, but this is the highlight for me - a gold nugget in this collection.
 
The whole was brought to a conclusion by the soloists being joined by the chorus of the Deutschen Oper, veteran counter-tenor Jochen Kowalski, the outstanding Orlofsky of his generation, and colleague Markus Brüch in a joyous Brüderlein und Schwesterlein from Johann Strauss’s evergreen Die Fledermaus (CH 14).  

-- Robert J Farr, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351: no 4, Réjouissance by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1749; London, England 
2.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Voi che sapete che cosa è amor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Don Giovanni, K 527: Madamina, il catalogo è questo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
5.
Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
6.
Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203: O moon high up "Song to the moon" by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Bohemia 
7.
Lohengrin: Einsam in trüben Tagen "Elsa's dream" by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
8.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59: Marie Theres'...Hab' mir's gelobt by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; Germany 
9.
Turandot: Nessun dorma! by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
10.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix by Camille Saint-Saëns
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
11.
Werther: Werther! Qui m'aurait dit...Des cris joyeux "Letter scene" by Jules Massenet
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
12.
I Pagliacci: Recitar!...Vesti la giubba by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
13.
Das Land des Lächelns: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz by Franz Lehár
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Die Fledermaus: Brüderlein und Schwesterlein by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
15.
Work(s) by Various
Performer:  Charles Castronovo (Tenor), Juliane Banse (Soprano), Vesselina Kasarova (Mezzo Soprano),
Michele Crider (Soprano), Adrianne Pieczonka (Soprano), Angelika Kirchschlager (Mezzo Soprano),
Grace Bumbry (Mezzo Soprano), Anne Schwanewilms (Soprano), Vladimir Galouzine (Tenor),
Salvatore Licitra (Tenor), René Pape (Bass)
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra

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