This year's system-busting sonic showcase. Neschling brings an extra measure of grandeur to the Trevi fountain climax of Fountains of Rome, and the final march in Pines is as spectacular as anyone could ask.
Eric Whitacre's choral works have been generously surveyed on disc, but only a handful of choirs have yet devoted an entire recording to his music. He couldn't have more luminous or illuminating interpreters than here.
The opera unfolds with dignity and grandeur, and the closing pages are beautiful beyond words. The superlatively good playing of the Mariinsky Orchestra, along with Pape's gloriously sung Gurnemanz, makes this new set essential listening for Wagnerians. (4 CDs)
Critical consensus has long considered this 1963 cycle, released this year for the first time complete on CD in the U.S., as a benchmark. Even considering today's high standards, these performances withstand the test of time. (3 CDs)
Latvian mezzo Elina Garanca took the Metropolitan Opera by storm in this new production recorded in January of this year. Her Carmen is a sensation, and the camera loves her. (2 DVDs)
Before hearing this young ensemble, it seemed impossible for the perfection of the Tallis Scholars to be matched by another group. Perhaps it's a miracle. Puer Natus Est and Stile Antico's earlier release this year, Media Vita, are simply divine.