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Cat. No. CHAN 3168(2) Price: £18 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 3168 - Strauss: Ariadne on Naxos/ Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
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Available From: 01 September 2010

Richard Strauss: Ariadne on Naxos – Christine Brewer, Gillian Keith, Alice Coote, Roderick Williams, Alan Opie, Stephen Fry, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Sir Richard Armstrong

‘With support from the Peter Moores Foundation, Chandos has assembled an excellent Anglo-American cast for this new recording in English of Strauss’s two-part opera about opera. The dialogue crackles and there’s a palpable sense of drama, notably when Alice Coote, a composer of poise and ardour, is centre stage. With singer-actors of the calibre of Alan Opie and John Graham-Hall, the smaller parts are bracingly characterised, and the casting of Stephen Fry in the speaking role of Major Domo is inspired… The recording value lies in preserving Christine Brewer’s Ariadne – warm, majestic, humane, rising to radiant heights in the finale with Robert Dean Smith’s Bacchus. Armstrong conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra offers clarity and opulence: his experience pays in his immaculate pacing of the climaxes… It comes with Strauss’s Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, which Armstrong handles with a light touch.’

Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 28 August 2010

‘I have nothing but praise for this splendid recording. Sir Richard Armstrong conducts a lucid performance in which every detail is captured by the engineers. It’s sung in English, and the cast is stunning, headed by the American soprano Christine Brewer in glorious voice as Ariadne; the lustrous mezzo Alice Coote tender, impulsive and rapturous as the Composer in the Prologue; Alan Opie, an understanding but exasperated Music Master; Gillian Keith a stratospheric Zerbinetta; and Robert Dean Smith as lyrical a Bacchus as one is likely to find today. There is also a marvellous Major Domo from Stephen Fry, even though one does miss here the character’s untranslatably pompous German.’

Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph, 29 August 2010

Reviews

“…The conductor’s hand is so consistently unerring that this recording becomes a prime recommendation…”
                                                     
William R Braun
   


Opera News (USA) - January 2010

                    BBC Music - Opera Choice
“Christine Brewer joins a line-up of singers without a weak link”
Performance *****      Recording *****
                                                        
David Nice
 

BBC Music Magazine - December 2010

“A strong cast and excellent recording quality make this a must for Straussians.”
                                                                                              
John Steane

Gramophone - November 2010

                CD of the Week
“… the cast has no weak links, and Richard Armstrong and the SCO set the seal of the recording’s success. It’s a treat too, to have the delightful suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme as an entrée.”         ****
                                                              
Hugh Canning

The Sunday Times - 12 September 2010

“…it can’t be recommended enough…”
                                                   
Robert Levine

International Record Review - October 2010

“…Delightful, tuneful and always understandable, this set represents another victory for Chandos’s Opera in English series.” ****
                                                                                    
Geoff Brown   


The Times - 3 September 2010

“…Stephen Fry is delightfully pompous in the short spoken-role of the Major-Domo, too. In the second part, Christine Brewer makes a glorious Ariadne and tenor Robert Dean Smith impresses with his unforced, shining account of the cruelly demanding role of Bacchus.”  “ …An excellent English-language performance …’    ****
                                                              
Warwick Thompson 

Classic FM Magazine - November 2010

            “I have nothing but praise for this splendid recording.”   *****
                                             
Michael Kennedy 
 

The Sunday Telegraph - 29 August 2010

“…this English Ariadne is a welcome modern alternative. It comes with Strauss’s suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, which Armstrong handles with an admirably light touch.” ****
                                                      
Andrew Clark
 

The Financial Times - 29 August 2010

“Hofmannsthal’s fine but word-rich libretto is clear and audible in Christopher Cowell’s translation… Sir Richard Armstrong conducts a voluptuous but brisk performance, with sinewy playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra…”
                                                       
Fiona Maddocks  
 

The Observer - 29 August 2010

 

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