Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi is the only opera Woody Allen has ever staged. The 2015 version on this release is a revival of Woody Allen’s 2008 production for L.A. Opera, a hilarious parody of classical Italian cinema stereotypes. Features Plácido Domingo in the leading role as Gianni Schicchi.
The Waldbühne in Berlin, one of the most appealing outdoor amphitheatres on the European continent, is the home of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s summer concerts. With over 20.000 in attendance, they are some of the most popular classical music concerts in the world. In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker surrounded themselves with plenty of celebrities, including not only conductor Sir Simon Rattle, but also many figures from film history: Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Ben Hur and many more. They were all brought to life musically when the orchestra performed some of Hollywood’s most famous film music. With film music from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T. composed by John Williams. Live from the Waldbühne Berlin, 2015.
Continuing his award-winning cycle of works by Felix Mendelssohn, Sir John Eliot Gardiner leads the LSO, his Monteverdi Choir and three talented young actors from the Guildhall in a landmark performance of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream', which was performed as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. To mark the celebrations, Gardiner produced a special version of the work featuring some cuts to the original movements that, in his words, "remove all of the music relating to the Mechanicals and thus focus on the world of the fairies and the human lovers". Mendelssohn, who adored Shakespeare’s writings, composed his concert overture based on 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' in 1827 aged 17, after having read a German translation of the play. The overture was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece and quickly became a popular favourite throughout Europe. Years later in 1843 he was asked by the King of Prussia to provide a score for an entire production: 14 short works based on themes and moods from the original overture, with a broadly romantic sound although classical in style and structure.
Verdi's brilliant final masterpiece Falstaff, in its first new Met production in 50 years – and conducted by Met Music Director James Levine in his first new production since his return to his podium at the Met. When it comes to theatrical flair, captivating costumes, stage antics and imagination, there are not many shows on Broadway to rival the Met s new Falstaff. “Ambrogio Maestri is made for the title role, with the apt physique, nimble acting and superb vocal presence that make him the leading Falstaff of the day. There is no weak link in a finely balanced, comically-attuned cast (the women are especially impressive) and Levine’s conducting is pitch-perfect. The show fizzles from start to finish and is tremendous fun” (Classical Music).
Dvorak’s enchanting fairytale of the water-nymph Rusalka has been a signature role for Renée Fleming for the past 25 years. The Gramophone Classical Music Guide writes: “Renée Fleming's tender and heartwarming account of Rusalka's Song to the Moon reflects the fact that the role of the lovelorn water nymph, taken by her in a highly successful production at the MET in New York, has become one of her favourites”.
Paramax Films captured the concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at its resident venue of Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv in July 2015 conducted by Zubin Mehta and starring Georgian concert pianist Khatia Buniatishvili. The film showcases a performance of the piano’s most famous orchestral repertoire; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Liszt’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No 2 with its waves of sound.
It is one of the highlights in the calendar of every classical music fan in Berlin - and beyond: On New Year‘s Eve, the Berliner Philharmoniker invite an exceptional soloist for a festive gala. Together the musicians bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new. In 2015, the orchestra has invited German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Together, they performed works by Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Ravel, Poulenc and Chabrier.
Although I Puritani was performed during the Metropolitan Opera's first season in 1883, it had not been seen there for decades until this production by Sandro Sequi was unveiled in 1976. It was one of the greatest triumphs for the partnership of Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti, and it is to the credit of all concerned in this recent revival that one soon forgets names from the past and enjoys what is a spirited attempt to evoke mid-19th-century style.