This is an auspicious beginning to what one hopes will be a series of recordings of French opera made with the forces of the Bastille under Chung. Without doubt this is the most subtly and expertly conducted performance of this work to appear on CD, excellent as others have been in this respect, and also the best played and sung. Chung's achievement is to have welded the elements of pagan ruthlessness, erotic stimulation and Wagnerian harmony that comprise Saint-Saens's masterpiece into a convincing whole.
Myung-Whun Chung is one of the leading conductors of his generation. Also a prize-winning pianist, he is particularly noted for his interpretations of the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen. There has rarely been as talented a group of siblings as Myung-Whun and his two older sisters, cellist Myung-Wha Chung (born 1944) and violinist Kyung-Wha Chung (born 1948). Myung-Whun made his performing debut as a pianist in Seoul at the age of 7. At 8, he flew to Seattle, WA, to begin his American musical studies.
Kathleen Battle ended her operatic career on a sour note when she was fired from the MET, and this album somehow reflects that–it lacks her usual vivacity and joy. This is the only recital I've heard form her that's routine, and things aren't helped by the fact that her voice, a light colorature, isn't substantial enough for many of these arias, which are for a lyric soprano.By Santa Fe Listener
Rarely has a production of Verdi's "Otello" taken place in such a prestigious location, the courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. Directed by Francesco Micheli, this special outdoor "event production" of the Gran Teatro La Fenice supports the claim that "Venice is asserting itself more than ever on a global scale as one of the great capitals of music" (GB Opera).