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Cat. No. CHAN 10572(2) Price: £5 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 10572 - MacMillan: The Sacrifice
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Available From: 01 January 2010
MacMillan: The Sacrifice

Chandos offers the world premiere recording of this theatrically and musically devastating opera commissioned and performed by Welsh National Opera. This is released on CD only, and not available to download. The Sacrifice, described by The Scotsman as ‘a powerful and evocative piece of music’, is a compelling and timeless story of a ruler’s ultimate sacrifice to safeguard the future of his war-torn, faction-ridden country; a story of love, revenge and reconciliation, inspired by the heightened mythical world of the Welsh folk-tales collected in The Mabinogion. With hints of Tippett, Berg, Richard Strauss and the film music of Bernard Herrmann this opera evokes the late-romantic idiom, with a twenty-first-century twist.

The powerful cast of The Sacrifice reunites a number of artists who have received great acclaim for their recent roles with Welsh National Opera – and internationally: Sarah Tynan (who sang the role of Iphis in Jephtha), Christopher Purves, Peter Hoare, Leigh Melrose and Lisa Milne.

Further praise came from Western Mail: ‘There is no mistaking James MacMillan has a popular hit on his hands, with the cries of bravo as the curtain fell on the world premiere of his new opera… MacMillan also creates music of great beauty and the act two love duet between Siân and Evan is mesmerising as are the songs given to Megan, Siân’s childlike sister, sung exquisitely by Sarah Tynan… big, bold and audience pleasing.’

Reviews

“…He [Anthony Negus] steers the combined forces of Welsh National Opera admirably through this near-flawless BBC recording of the performance.”
Peter Palmer

The Telegraph - 30 October 2010

“…Without exception, the singing is outstanding; under the conductor Anthony Negus, this cast has set the benchmark by which future performance will surely be measured.”
Christopher Ballantine
 

Opera - May 2010

“Invest in this bold set and you’ll be rewarded with singing of unflagging stamina from a strong cast (notably Lisa Milne as Sian and Christopher Purves as the General, as well as red-blooded, hugely committed contributions from the WNO Chorus and Orchestra. The audibly spellbound Cardiff audience laps it up – as, indeed, will the composer’s may admirers. Enthusiastically recommended.”
Andrew Achenbach
 

Gramophone - April 2010

“…outstanding central performances from Lisa Milne as Sian… and from Christopher Purves as her father, the General…”
Tim Ashley
     

The Guardian - 12 February 2010

…”The chorus, which plays a major part in the sacrifice, is one of the great glories of this performance. The WNO Chorus, an undoubted treasure on the European opera scene, excels even itself here with a level of collective virtuosity and an adept handling of MacMillan’s challenging but beautifully idiomatically written choral textures which is little short of breathtaking. Impeccable diction, glorious ensemble work and a vivid sense of communal characterization all combine to give great distinction to the entire production.”

…”The Sacrifice is an undoubted classic of our time and a worthy successor to the great British operas of the last century.”
 
Marc Rochester

International Record Review - February 2010

“…Recorded live, this performance has that indefinable frisson of one-off-ness and dramatic immediacy… The stellar cast sings with perfect diction, headed by Lisa Milne on superb form. A new opera recording that is well worth getting to know.”
Charlotte Gardner
 

Classic FM Magazine - March 2010

“MacMillan combines freshness with emotional directness”
"…Christopher Purves’s anguished but dignified General, Lisa Milne’s noble but tragically duty-bound Sian, and Sarah Tynan’s weirdly touching Megan stand out, but there are no weak performances. The chorus, and particularly the orchestra of Welsh National Opera are magnificently on top of the music. This production recorded live in remarkably clear sound with very little distracting noise, has a sustained urgency, which nevertheless allows time for the more inward moments to open out expressively. Recommended."
                            Performance *****   -   Recording ****
Stephen Johnson
 

BBC Music Magazine - February 2010

 

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