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Strauss: Ariadne on Naxos
     

Strauss: Ariadne on Naxos

4.0 1
by Christine Brewer
 
Chandos continues its admirable series of operas performed in English with Ariadne on Naxos. In a wordy opera like this it's particularly valuable to be able to understand the wit of the libretto, so for English speakers this recording could open up its humor. Such a venture can only succeed if the translation works, and See more details below

Overview

Chandos continues its admirable series of operas performed in English with Ariadne on Naxos. In a wordy opera like this it's particularly valuable to be able to understand the wit of the libretto, so for English speakers this recording could open up its humor. Such a venture can only succeed if the translation works, and Christopher Cowell's graceful, idiomatic, and singable version, made especially for the recording, is fully up to the challenge. Richard Armstrong leads the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in a vivacious, well-paced performance that beautifully captures the tricky balance between lushness and delicacy the score demands. The vocal performances are solid, if not always spectacular. Christine Brewer is a very strong Ariadne, ardent and strongly characterized, even she if she doesn't quite have the ideal luminosity. Gillian Keith's Zerbinetta has the technical demands fully and effortlessly in hand, but her voice lacks the gleam to make her vocal acrobatics as astonishing as they should be. As Bacchus, Robert Dean Smith seems to be pushing in his upper register and at high volume, and the result often sounds constrained. Alice Coote is a vivid, delightful Composer, and Alan Opie a resonant and authoritative Music Master. Actor Stephen Fry is obviously having a marvelous time as the Major Domo, and he is genuinely funny. Given the number of more vocally consistent recordings, this might not be the only one a listener might want, but for English speakers it could be a fine introduction to the opera. The set is filled out with a crisp and lively performance of the Suite from "Le bourgeois gentilhomme." Chandos sound is clean, full, and well-balanced.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2010
Label:
Chandos
UPC:
0095115316825
catalogNumber:
3168
Rank:
151821

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Ariadne auf Naxos, opera, Op. 60-II (TrV 228a) (revised version)
  2. Der Bürger als Edelmann (Le bourgeois gentilhomme), suite from the ballet for orchestra, Op. 60-IIIa (TrV 228c)

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Strauss: Ariadne on Naxos 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ted_Wilks More than 1 year ago
Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this recording. The 35-minute suite from "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" was played beautifully by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, including the 3 soloists. "Ariadne auf Naxos" sounded fine to me in English rather than in German. All of the singers aquitted themselves nobly. I particularly liked having the English libretto in front of me while I was listening to the opera and found that this convenience, plus the program notes, were very helpful. On the other hand, I have to admit that I prefer to see an opera, rather than to hear it from CDs. In fact, I recently purchased a new DVD of this opera with Deborah Voight and Natalie Dessay. I have also enjoyed my old VHS tape recording with Jessie Norman and Kathleen Battle. As usual, with some performances, one sometimes has to suspend disbelief in order to hear a great voice. Ted Wilks