This release features a double bill of Massenet's Le Portrait de Manon and Berlioz's song cycle Les nuits d'ete, recorded from live staged performances at the Royal Opera House with artists from the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and the Southbank Sinfonia led by Geoffrey Paterson and Volker Krafft. This is the first time the composers Massenet and Berlioz have appeared as part of the Opera Rara catalogue. The single-disc set comes with a lavishly illustrated book, including a complete libretto for Le Portrait de Manon and song translations for Les nuits d'ete, as well as detailed notes on both pieces written by the eminent musicologist Hugh Macdonald.
One of Italy's best-loved artists, Adriano Celentano has been equally successful in film and music. Whether singing Elvis Presley-inspired rock, as he did as a member of the Rock Boys in 1957, or romantic balladry, Celentano found a dedicated market for his music…
Haydn's student Ignace Joseph Pleyel was nearly as prolific as his Austrian parents (he was one of 38 children), and not all of the various attempts to revive his work have found music worth reviving. His music remains mostly unknown, and instrumentalists and ensembles haven't sorted through it to find the gems. This effort by virtuoso German clarinetist Dieter Klöcker, who also wrote the rather abstract but cogent booklet notes, is one of the best contributions yet. The clarinet was a new instrument in Pleyel's time, and was undergoing rapid change.
Over a decade before Richard Wagner's Valkyries took their celebrated ride, August Bournonville and Johann Peter Emilius Hartmanns Valkyrie danced on the Danish stage. Born in Copenhagen, son of French dancers, Bournonville founded the national Danish ballet with a series of ballets drawing its themes from Nordic mythology and early Danish history. For his first such project, Bournonville turned to his childhood friend Hartmann, who already had established himself as a composer of music on national themes.