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Barber: Vanessa / Slatkin, Graham, Brewer, Et Al


Release Date: 11/09/2004 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5032   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel Barber
Performer:  Susan GrahamCatherine Wyn-RogersWilliam BurdenSimon Birchall,   ... 
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony OrchestraBBC Singers
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


This new Vanessa replaces both the 1958 recording of the original four-act version of the opera and the recent Naxos release of the 1964 three-act revision (which is used here as well) as the recording of choice for this opera. (For a review of the Naxos, please type Q7191 in Search Reviews). In brief, Susan Graham is the finest Erika on disc, inhabiting the role with impeccable diction, beautiful tone, and great feeling, reaching deep into the character's complexities. Tenor William Burden out-performs even Nicolai Gedda as Anatol, singing with such elegance, melting tone, and scrupulousness to
Read more Barber's dynamic markings that it is easy to see why both women would fall for him. Eleanor Steber (on RCA, 1958) remains the supreme Vanessa, her voice somewhat lighter than the competition, and also more lovely, but big-toned Christine Brewer here is remarkable, expressing true anxiety before and true horror after her first meeting with Anatol. And the way she thaws into loving him is truly vivid. Catherine Wyn-Rogers as the Old Baroness is properly imperious, and the rest of the cast is excellent.


It's all too easy for this opera to turn maudlin, like a daytime soap opera, but the artists here sing with such poise, dignity, and natural exclamation that we follow them in real time, and the somewhat stilted language of Menotti's libretto never gets in the way. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, in this studio recording that followed a concert performance in London, finds all the glamour in Barber's ripe score while allowing the climaxes and eventual fade-out their true tragic proportions. The recording is perfect, and almost every word--and plenty of orchestral detail--is audible. Sensational! [1/5/2005]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Vanessa, Op. 32 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Susan Graham (Mezzo Soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mezzo Soprano), William Burden (Tenor),
Simon Birchall (Bass Baritone), Neal Davies (Bass Baritone), Stephen Charlesworth (Bass),
Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 

Sound Samples

Vanessa, Op. 32: Introduction
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: Potage creme aux perles (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: No, I cannot understand why... (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: Must the winter come so soon? (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: Listen!... they are here (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: Do not utter a word, Anatol (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: Yes, I believe I shall love you (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 1: Who are you? (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: And then? (Baroness)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: No, you are not as good a skater... (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: Under the willow tree (Doctor)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: Erika, I am so happy (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: Did you hear her? (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: Help, help! Save me from their talk (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: Outside this house the world has changed (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: Hurry now! (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act I Scene 2: In Morning light let us rejoice (Chorus)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act II: The Count and Countess d'Albany (Major-domo)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act II: I should never have been a doctor (Doctor)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act II: Here you are! (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act II: At last I've found you (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act II: Love has a bitter core, Vanessa (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act II: Nothing to worry about (Doctor)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 1: Why did no one warn me? (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 1: Why must the greatest sorrows come (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 1: There, look! (Doctor)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 1: On the path to the lake (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 1: Anatol, tell me the truth! (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 1: Grandmother! (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III: Intermezzo
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: By the time we arrive in Paris (Anatol)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: For every love there is a last farewell (Doctor)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: And you, my friend (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: Erika, before I leave, you must tell me (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: To leave, to break, to find, to keep (Vanessa)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: Goodbye, be happy, Aunt Vanessa (Erika)
Vanessa, Op. 32: Act III Scene 2: No, I must never say that name again (Erika)

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