- Ghosts of Versailles, opera
PentaTone's live recording of John Corigliano's "The Ghosts of Versailles" is billed as the world premiere recording, though it was preceded by the 1991 video recording of the Metropolitan Opera's production, which was conducted by James Levine and starred Teresa Stratas. Even so, this 2016 audiophile presentation of the LA Opera production, conducted by James Conlon, is a major event for opera lovers, especially since the Met's recording is difficult to find and performances of "The Ghosts of Versailles" are rare. Corigliano's only opera has become one of his best-known works, and its mix of spectacular theatrical elements, kaleidoscopic musical styles, and accessible melodies have made it quite popular. Even so, it helps to have some familiarity with Mozart's operas, particularly "The Marriage of Figaro," the plays of Beaumarchais, and the history of the French Revolution, which led to the executions of the two central characters, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, sung respectively by Kristinn Sigmundsson and Patricia Racette. Corigliano's virtuosic eclecticism keeps the music full of surprises, and William M. Hoffman's witty libretto, based on Beaumarchais' third Figaro play, La Mère coupable, gives the work its pedigree in the comic opera tradition. PentaTone's trimline box set contains two hybrid SACDs and a thick booklet, so this is decidedly the recording for longtime fans of the work and newcomers to hear.