Bergin is joined by members of De Danann, who accompany her through an outstanding display of tunes and talent.
This marks the first release with Robin Ticciati leading the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, and it makes the requisite splash. There's a world premiere: even if you're not on board with the trend of enlarging the repertory through arrangements of works that are perfectly good in their original form, you will likely be seduced by mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená's ravishing reading of Debussy's voice-and-piano Ariettes oubliées, inventively arranged by Brett Dean. There's a little-known work: the opening one, Fauré's Prelude to Pénélope (a sparsely performed opera, with a slightly less sparsely performed prelude) is a lush and beautifully controlled arc. Controlled and detailed are two words that come to mind for Ticciati's interpretation of La mer, the warhorse work on the program; it may seem a bit deliberate, but there are many hues in his performance. The two Debussy works are balanced by two of Fauré's: the fourth work is the suite from Fauré's incidental music to Pélleas et Mélisande (in Charles Koechlin's version), also deliberate and lush. Linn recorded the performance in Berlin's Jesus Christus Kirche, which allows the full spectrum of orchestral colors to come through. Worth the money for Kozená fans for her turn alone, and a fine French program for all.
The Scottish Opera's live concert performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore was given at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival, and the one-night-only show was well received by both the audience and critics. Featuring a charismatic cast including John Mark Ainsley as Sir Joseph Porter, Elizabeth Watts as Josephine, Andrew Foster-Williams as Captain Corcoran, Toby Spence as Ralph Rackstraw, Hilary Summers as Buttercup, and comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor as the Narrator, the production was especially noteworthy for conductor Richard Egarr's historically informed approach to the music.