Notes and Editorial Reviews
Samuel Barber's 'Vanessa' has long been in need of reconsideration. The Pulitzer Prize-winning opera is a remarkable study of sex, delusion and disillusionment. Enthusiastically received at its start-studded premiere (the director was Gian Carlo Menotti; the designer, Cecil Baeton; the conductor, Dmitri Mitropolous and the tenor part of Anatol was taken by the young Nicolai Gedda), it sparked controversy - some reckoned that the score, undeniably influenced by Puccini and Strauss, was too European to be a model for contemporary American opera. Leonard Slatkin is one of the greatest champions of the works of Samuel Barber. He conducted an all-star concert performance of 'Vanessa' at the Barbican last year - one of the few performances of the work ever to be staged in the UK, and the only one to assemble the calibre of cast worthy of this work. It received extraordinary reviews. It was from this concert that this recording is taken.