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Magic Moments Of Opera

Mozart / Wagner / Beethoven / Strauss
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 107515  
Composer:  Georges BizetJohann Strauss Jr.Wolfgang Amadeus MozartLudwig van Beethoven,   ... 
Performer:  Isobel BuchananPlacido DomingoElena ObraztsovaYuri Mazurok,   ... 
Conductor:  Carlos KleiberTheodor GuschlbauerIván FischerNikolaus Harnoncourt,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera ChorusVienna State Opera OrchestraParis National Opera Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 11 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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DVD:  $103.49
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

With »Magic Moments of Opera« Arthaus Musik has launched the opera sensation of the year. Stars like Placido Domingo,, Joyce Didonato, Jonas Kaufmann, Luciano Pavarotti and El?na Garan?a offer a coruscating display of singing from the world’s foremost opera houses. Love and passion; wrath and wit; revenge and regret. Legendary recordings of ten operatic masterpieces offer both cognoscenti and the uninitiated an opportunity to experience truly great stage performances.

R E V I E W S:

"[T]he true value of this set is the elusive Kleiber's leadership. This is a brilliant reading, full of sunlight and very strong rhythms, with quick tempos, no sentimentality, and a string section that slashes away
Read more maniacally during the Gypsy Song and third-act knife fight, but caresses Carmen's Habanera and José's Flower Song. The Quintet is taken so fast that you fear for the ensemble, but there's no need: this show has been impeccably rehearsed and it's as clean as possible... The singing is pretty razzle-dazzle too. Elena Obraztsova...is a splendid Carmen. She offers singing alternately sultry and sarcastic ("Bel officier") and mostly alluring, until she turns gloomy and vicious in Act 3 and unleashes her chest voice... And it's likely that Placido Domingo has never been better. He looks handsome, the voice is absolutely free and intensely expressive, and he gets a three-minute ovation after the Flower Song... This is a remarkable release." -- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com reviewing Carmen, available individually as TDK CLOPCAR

"Edita Gruberova...and Lucia Popp turn in the best vocal performances of the evening, and neither is a slouch in the acting department, either. Falke may be a fairly thankless part, but Walter Berry acts it superbly, both as actor and singer. Helmut Lohner makes a wonderfully deadpan, physically marvelous Frosch, seemingly surfing across the floor (“There’s a lot of black ice on it,” he remarks at one point) as the drunken jailer. Erich Kunz is inimitable as Frank, though his wildly funny silent turn after arriving at the jail, similarly drunk, before briefly falling asleep, contradicts the lines when he wakes up, mostly sober, just a few minutes later to interact with Frosch. Theodor Guschlbauer leads the Vienna State Opera Orchestra (known elsewhere as the Vienna Philharmonic) with more energy and focus than I can ever recall hearing him use since." -- Barry Brenesal, FANFARE reviewing Die Fledermaus, available individually as Arthaus 107153

"Aside from being wonderful to look at, one of the chief strengths here is the conducting of Iván Fischer... [H]is control of tension, of ebb and flow, as well as getting the very best out of his pit band, is glorious to behold... Dorothea Röschmann’s Pamina is wonderfully fresh, light of voice yet beautifully focused... The baby-faced Tamino of Piotr Beczala suits her to perfection, and his ringing tenor is a pleasure to hear, especially ‘Dies Bildnis’, a model of Wunderlich-like head voice and creamy tone. Detlef Roth’s young, energetic Papageno is a comic delight, getting quite a few appropriate laughs but displaying a rich, dark baritone. Gaël le Roi’s Papagena is just as delightful. Désirée Rancacourt’s Queen of the Night pings her two famous coloratura arias out with ringing accuracy... Matti Salminen, a real old hand as Sarastro, adds great depth and genuine authority. All other parts are well cast, making the whole set an aural treat." -- Tony Haywood, MusicWeb International reviewing Die Zauberflöte, available individually as Arthaus 107233

"A taut and tense traversal of a familiar work, very personally conducted... This is by and large a consistent and engrossing experience, especially on the musical side... Rocco – a wonderfully moving, warm and eloquent performance from László Polgár – is kindly, cowed by his surroundings, and alert to every nuance of feeling in those around him. His body language and his eyes tell us everything about the jailer’s torment... Leonore, in the arresting figure of Camilla Nylund, is slim and appealing, truly believable as a young man... In support, the Zurich Opera forces sing and play with well-prepared assurance under Harnoncourt’s concentrated and elevating direction." -- Alan Blyth, Gramophone reviewing Fidelio, available individually as TDK OPFID

"As Werther, Marcello Álvarez cuts an ardent figure both vocally and physically, making him an ideal for Goethe’s imagined character. He is eloquent of voice, too, as his Act I aria, “O Nature, pleine de grâce” vividly illustrates - Charlotte observes him sing from behind the huge tree. He handles the agile Act II “J’aurais sur ma poitrine” with not only technical aplomb, but with a real wave of ardent passion... Elina Garanca has previously impressed me as a superb Cenerentola, and this showing confirms impressions of her as a leading light in the opera houses of today. Her pitching, idiomatic phrasing and acting all combine to make her Charlotte intrinsically believable... Albert, Charlotte’s scheduled intended, is played by the vocally strong Adrian Eröd..." -- Colin Clarke, MusicWeb International reviewing Werther, originally released as TDK OPWER

"Although [Joyce DiDonato] looks a little mature in the close-ups, her singing and acting are the justification for the purchase of this issue... She is the ideal Rossini diva. Her rendering of Una voco poco fa (Ch. 15) was the vocal highlight of the evening and the audience justifiably received it with acclaim. Concentration on that showpiece aria is not to ignore her part in the remainder of the opera. When she is on stage and involved she brings out the best in her colleagues." -- Robert J. Farr, MusicWeb International reviewing Il barbiere di Siviglia, available individually as TDK OPBARB

"Robert Gambill is a workhorse of a Wagnerian singer... There’s an unremitting intensity that clues us into the character’s existential unhappiness. The Rome Narrative here takes on a hallucinatory vividness akin to Tristan’s pain-induced ravings... Predictably, Waltraud Meier is an imperious, in-control Venus—very seductive vocally but still generating sympathy for her plight as Tannhäuser’s spurned lover. At the same time, Camilla Nylund’s Elizabeth is infused with a youthful energy and passion: she’s less chaste-sounding than usual, and her third act prayer is full-throated... Philippe Jordan has the full measure of this music and exerts masterful control over the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, whose winds are especially winning." -- Andrew Quint, FANFARE reviewing Tannhäuser, available individually as Arthaus 101351

"It has always been a matter of some regret that Claudio Abbado has never recorded Elektra commercially. For this is a great performance, one of the finest you will ever hear with a near-perfect cast and playing by the Vienna Philharmonic that is shattering. Very few conductors have matched Abbado's vision and even fewer versions are as emotionally draining as this performance... The triumph is Eva Marton's Elektra. I have never much warmed to Marton as a singer, but here she is staggering... The depth of tone is resplendent. In fact, nothing about her assumption of this role is ordinary - the Recognition Scene with Orestes is profound when most are perfunctory, and her systematic torment of her mother, Klytaemnestra, is as unsettling as it should be. That she has the vocal resources left for her final monologue, and her totentanz, is a tribute to her stamina. The conclusion is just thrilling." -- Marc Bridle, MusicWeb International reviewing Elektra, available individually as Arthaus 100049


Picture format: NTSC 4:3 / 16:9
Sound format: various
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish + Italian (except Aida) + Dutch (Aida only)
Running time: 25 hours
No. of DVDs: 11 (DVD 9)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Carmen by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Isobel Buchanan (Soprano), Placido Domingo (Tenor), Elena Obraztsova (Mezzo Soprano),
Yuri Mazurok (Baritone)
Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 1978 
Venue:  Vienna State Opera 
2.
Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr.
Performer:  Helmut Lohner (Bass), Edita Gruberova (Soprano), Lucia Popp (Soprano),
Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo Soprano), Bernd Weikl (Baritone), Erich Kunz (Baritone),
Walter Berry (Bass Baritone), Anton Wendler (Tenor), Josef Hopferwieser (Tenor),
Karin Göttling (Soprano), Karl Caslavsky (Bass)
Conductor:  Theodor Guschlbauer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1980 
Venue:  Vienna State Opera 
3.
Die Zauberflöte, K 620 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dorothea Röschmann (Soprano), Detlef Roth (Baritone), Désirée Rancatore (Soprano),
Piotr Beczala (Tenor), Uwe Peper (Tenor), Matti Salminen (Bass)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Chorus,  Paris National Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 2001 
Venue:  Opéra National de Paris 
4.
Fidelio, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Camilla Nylund (Soprano), Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor), Alfred Muff (Baritone),
László Polgár (Bass)
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera Chorus,  Zurich Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804/1814; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Opernhaus Zürich 
5.
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Paata Burchuladze (Bass), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Maria Chiara (Soprano),
Ghena Dimitrova (Soprano), Juan Pons (Baritone), Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor),
Francesca Garbi (Mezzo Soprano), Ernesto Gavazzi (Tenor)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1985 
Venue:  Milan, Italy 
6.
Werther by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Adrian Eröd (Baritone), Elina Garanca (Mezzo Soprano), Marcelo Alvarez (Tenor),
Ileana Tonca (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: 2005 
Venue:  Vienna State Opera 
7.
Il barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Nicholas Garrett (Bass Baritone), Carlos Chausson (Bass Baritone), Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano),
Dalibor Jenis (Baritone), Roberto Saccŕ (Tenor), Kristinn Sigmundsson (Bass),
Jeannette Fischer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Bruno Campanella
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Chorus,  Paris National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Venue:  Opéra National de Paris 
8.
Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Camilla Nylund (Soprano), Tom Fox (Baritone), Andreas Hörl (Bass),
Marcel Reijans (Tenor), Roman Trekel (Baritone), Robert Gambill (Tenor),
Waltraud Meier (Mezzo Soprano), Stephen Milling (Bass)
Conductor:  Philippe Jordan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Chorus,  Berlin Deutsches Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 2008 
Venue:  Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden 
9.
Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Marcelo Alvarez (Tenor), Marco Spotti (Bass), Fabio Previati (Baritone),
Giuliano Pelizon (Baritone), Ruggero Raimondi (Bass), Enrico Facini (Tenor),
Fiorenza Cedolins (Soprano)
Conductor:  Daniel Oren
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verona Teatro Arena Orchestra,  Verona Teatro Arena Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2006 
Venue:  Arena di Verona 
10.
Elektra, Op. 58 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Cheryl Studer (Soprano), Eva Martón (Soprano), James King (Tenor),
Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo Soprano), Franz Grundheber (Baritone)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Vienna State Opera 

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