Russian State Chorus named after Sveshnikov with 70th years history is a national property of Russian Federation, real legend of world choral singing. It is hard to overestimate creative contribution of famous collective to the saving age-old singing traditions of motherland. The Russian State Chorus Celebrates Christmas includes Schubert's Ave Maria, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, Amazing Grace.
CPO follows its stellar releases of Conradi's Ariadne and Lully's Thésée by the Boston Early Music Festival with an equally extraordinary performance of Lully's Psyché. These are works that have had limited exposure and are known far better by reputation than by performances or recordings.
This vastly entertaining comic work centers around Kate, a talkative, shrewish woman who is avoided by everyone at the village dance. Angry, she announces that she would dance with the devil himself, and voila!, the Devil Marbuel–not-quite-Lucifer, but a “junior” devil–enters and carries her off to Hell. The clever shepherd Jirka offers to rescue her. In Hell, all the devils sit around playing cards, and Kate and Marbuel enter.
Antwerp's Opera Vlaanderen continues its Rossini opera cycle with this production of his rarely performed Armida, conducted by Alberto Zedda. The work features no less than four tenors in the leading roles, taken here by the commanding voices of Enea Scala, Robert McPherson, Dario Schmunck and the young rising star, Adam Smith.
Stage director Mariame Clément teams up once more for Opera Vlaanderen with set designer Julia Hansen, building on their successful production of Cavalli's Il Giasone. Here they take a critical look at the world of the Crusades. Clément sees Armida as the incarnation of the magical concept of ‘love’, for which noble and heroic knightly ideals are cast aside, turning love into a destructive frenzy.
Carl Orff's Stravinskian rabble-rouser retains its appeal. The pagan high-jinks, driving rhythms, and dips into semi-hysteria can be irresistible given the right performance. And, of course, with its dynamic range, from delicately colored quiet passages to heaven-storming climaxes, it's tailor-made for showing off hi-fi systems. Telarc is known for its outstanding sound, and this one's well up to the house standards.