I have a personal criterion for judging sopranos in modern recordings of any role that Maria Callas excelled in: If you can beat Callas, you are gold. And despite her achievements in bel canto roles (most of which I find uninteresting, either dramatically or as music), I still think that Callas’s greatest gift to the world of opera, particularly opera in Italy, was to point out to the entire country and the world how much more there was in roles like Elvira in I Vespri Siciliani, Cheribini’s Medea, Iphigénie in this opera, and yes, even Lady Macbeth than had been previously thought.
Glucks Orfeo ed Euridice is one of music history's most important operas. The cast is led by Bejun Mehta, arguably the best countertenor in the world today (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) as Orfeo, Austrian soprano Eva Liebau as Euridice and Regula Mühlemann as Amore. Director Ondej Havelka combines period details with modern psychological interpretation. The baroque specialist Václav Luks leads the Collegium 1704 and Collegium Vocale 1704. This cinematic edition celebrates Glucks 2014 tricentenary!
Christoph Willibald Gluck has a place in the history books for a few big hits and for the idea of reforming the ornate style of opera seria serious opera in the 18th century, replacing it with a more natural ideal of melody. This reputation has rested on a very few pieces, and both bibliographic control and recorded explorations of Gluck's music are perhaps more sparse than for any other major composer.
Paride ed Elena (Paris and Helen) is an opera by Gluck, the third and final of his Italian reformist works, following Orfeo ed Euridice and Alceste. Paride ed Elena encompasses the events between The Judgment of Paris and the flight of Paris and Helen to Troy and, like its predecessors, its libretto was written by Ranieri de' Calzabigi. It was premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 3 November 1770.
Otmar Suitner was archetypical of the type of Central European conductor who comes up through the ranks (i.e., opera house, theater, or if an instrumentalist, house orchestra) and worked his way up to leadership by dint of musicality. Some move on to what is essentially international "stardom," such as the case with Karajan or Klemperer.