The opera is starring countertenor Valer Sabadus - one of opera's most exciting newcomers - now exclusively signed to Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, a division of Sony Classical. Christoph Willibald Gluck, widely known for fundamentally reforming the 'opera seria' wrote some of the greatest and exemplary masterpieces of this great genre before he started his famous reform of the opera. This makes this work a fascinating and enlightening piece in the puzzle for the evolution of opera and the eminent character Gluck. Gluck's setting of La Clemenza was first performed in Naples in 1752, ten years before his first reform opera.
Gluck‘s wonderful but neglected 1774 opera Iphigénie en Tauride, inspired by the Greek legend, is treated with forceful and convincing simplicity in Klaus Guth‘s revolutionary production staged at the Zurich Opera House. The psychological drama in a tense atmosphere of fears and traumas is underlined by Guth‘s use of huge masks and enclosed spaces. Conductor William Christie and his typically transparent but never cold orchestral sound perfectly match the descriptive elements in Gluck’s score, while the Armenian mezzosoprano Juliette Galstian as a fabulously good Iphigénie, the leading American opera baritone Rodney Gilfry as Oreste and the deceased South African tenor Deon van der Walt as Pylade head a superb cast.
"Die Sängerinnen und Sänger haben allesamt sehr intensiv an den Koloraturen gearbeitet und sind den teils horrenden Schwierigkeiten der Arien gut gewachsen … Außerdem sind die Rezitative mit hohem Konversationstempo und fantasievoller Generalbass-Improvisation umgesetzt." ~FonoForum
Opting for the French-language version of Orpheus, David Alagna was faced with the task of achieving an appropriately subtle adaptation. In a plot transposed to the present day, Eurydice dies in a car accident on the day of her wedding and Orpheus's quest for his beloved is a dream beginning and ending at the cemetery. No happy ending in this interpretation, but a new approach to characterisation: Amore, sung by a baritone, becomes a funeral parlour employee and Orpheus' guide. Orpheus, of course, loses his loved one forever by turning to look back. World famous tenor Roberto Alagna throws himself body and soul into this production. His incredible vitality, flawless timbre and diction make him a great Orpheus. His partner, young Italian soprano Serena Gamberoni, is simply stunning as Eurydice, while French baritone Marc Barrard is suitably terrifying as the guide to the Underworld. The orchestra is conducted by Giampaolo Bisanti, who masterfully brings out all Gluck's poetry, romantic melancholy and depth.
This is a full recording of the original Italian version (the “Vienna version” from 1762) of Gluck’s beloved take on the Orpheus myth, Orfeo et Euridice PLUS extra music written by Gluck for later performances of his opera. It includes virtuoso arias for Fagioli and as such represents a brilliant showcase for him and a collectible item for connoisseurs. This is Franco Fagioli’s first ever recording of a complete opera in which he sings the title role and since, the role has become one of Franco’s calling cards in recent seasons. It is known for its absolutely gorgeous music, including one of opera’s most audience-pleasing tunes, the uber-famous aria “Che farò senza Euridice”. This version of the opera (by far the most popular one) appears for the first time ever on period instruments on DG / Archiv, hence filling a major gap in our catalogue and is a substantial project featuring one of our exciting new signings in one of his finest roles.
Alan Curtis, described by the New York Times' as "one of the great scholar-musicians of recent times", conducts a brilliant cast including Sonia Prina, Ann Hallenberg, Max-Emanuel Cencic and Topi Lehtipuu in the original, 1750 version of Gluck's Ezio, described by Curtis as "from a dramatic point of view, perhaps the finest of Gluck's pre-Orfeo operas".
Written to a libretto by the prolific and influential Metastasio, Ezio exemplifies the formal opera seria that Gluck sought to leave behind with his so-called reform operas such as Orfeo and Alceste; but after Orfeo's epoch-making premiere in Vienna in 1762 he revised Ezio for performance at the city's Burgtheater in 1763…
"Once the head conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, and as the principal guest conductor with the Deutschen Staatsoper (German State Opera) in Berlin since 1995, Hartmut Haenchen (originally spelled Hänchen) is noted for the clear, precise phrasing and sumptuously sonorous tones he evokes from his musicians. (…) Since 1980, Haenchen has acted as the artistic director of the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra, which was founded in Berlin and has presented revivals of C.P.E. Bach's music from re-discovered manuscripts. The ensemble has appeared in many television productions, has received awards for several recordings, and regularly tours…"
Frieder Bernius began his career primarily as a conductor of choral music, focusing largely on repertory from the Baroque and early Classical periods. Gradually he took a greater interest in orchestral music while still maintaining a preference for choral works. He has favored authentic performance practices and has become one of the leaders in the historically informed performance (HIP) movement. (…) Bernius began recording with Sony Classical in 1989, and among his most successful early recordings for that label was that of Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice (1992), with Nancy Argenta and Michael Chance. Along with his successes in the recording studio in the 1990s and first decade of the new century, Bernius continued to lead many highly acclaimed concerts at home and abroad with his three Stuttgart ensembles.