This year has brought a bumper crop of wonderful recordings of unusual operas — and one unusual recording of a repertory staple: Gounod’s Faust.
One of Donizetti’s strongest and most original works, has finally been reconstructed and recorded by superb forces under the remarkable Mark Elder.
Tarare is simply one of the most important operas of the Classic era, precisely because it challenges so many aspects of Classic-era “normality.” You won’t believe your ears.
Even taking into consideration my several objections, this Faust is one of the most accomplished and intriguing opera releases of recent years.
All is Calm juxtaposes the gravity (some might say the idiocy) of war with the simple human gestures that the opposing sides extended to each other during a remarkable cease fire.
Colorful, characterful, and full of worldly wisdom, The Last Sorcerer—by a skilled and imaginative composer, to a text by the great Russian novelist— receives a superb world-premiere recording, with Met mezzo Jamie Barton and bass-baritone Eric Owens.
Gounod was no mere purveyor of gentle sentiments. This 1881 opera, superbly performed, shows plenty of drama and grit.
What if you took canonical Western works and reimagined them from an African perspective?
There can be little doubt that the urgency of the opera’s message about equality is as relevant as ever.
This is one of the zippiest, most life-affirming opera recordings I have heard in a long time. Well, this puts it a bit too blandly, because the work’s social satire also targets the smug self-satisfaction and careless cruelty of the powerful.