Skip to main content

 Coming Soon, Joyce DiDonato's EDEN and other forthcoming vocal and opera highlights

Joyce DiDonatoVocal and operatic highlights for early 2022 include an eclectic programme themed around the ideas of nature and renewal from Joyce DiDonato and Il Pomo d'Oro, rare Italian baroque opera from Ian Bostridge and Cappella Neapolitana, Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin from Iestyn Davies and Joseph Middleton, and an all-Grieg recital from Lise Davidsen and Leif Ove Andsnes. Among the forthcoming releases on DVD/Blu-ray, Davidsen's stage-debut in Fidelio from Covent Garden stands out, as does the English-language premiere of Hans Abrahamsen's The Snow Queen from the Bayerische Staatsoper, starring the composer's regular muse Barbara Hannigan as Gerda and American mezzo Rachael Wilson as Kay.

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo), Il Pomo d'Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev

Exploring 'the power and fragility of Nature', DiDonato's wide-ranging recital includes the world premiere of Rachel Portman's The First Morning of the World (commissioned by the American mezzo and setting texts by Gene Scheer), plus excerpts from Mahler's Rückert-Lieder and Wagner's Wesendonck-Lieder, arias from Handel's Theodora and Mysliveček's Adamo ed Eva, and music by Marini, Gluck, Copland and Ives.

Released 25th February.

Available Format: CD

Lise Davidsen (soprano), Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)

For her first recorded song-recital (made in the Arctic Circle in Bodø), the Norwegian soprano joins forces with her compatriot Leif Ove Andsnes for a programme which includes the song-cycle Haugtussa, the Six Elegiac Poems Op. 59, the Five Poems by Otto Benzon Op. 69, and favourite individual songs such as Våren and Jeg elsker Deg.

Released 7th January.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Ian Bostridge (tenor), Cappella Neapolitana, Antonio Florio

Focusing on Italian opera from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries, Bostridge's programme features arias from works including Cavalli's Eliogabalo, Caresana's Le Avventure di una fede, Stradella's Il Corispero, Vinci's Siroe, re di Persia, and Provenzale's Il Schiavo di sua moglie and La Stellidaira, plus orchestral excerpts from Cesti's L’Argia and Sartorio's Orfeo.

Released 18th February.

Available Format: CD

Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Joseph Middleton (piano)

It's still relatively unusual to hear this voice-type in Schubert's song-cycle: Davies himself recounted meeting with resistance to the idea from concert-promoters when we spoke back in 2017. But over the past couple of years he's been programming the work with great success: reviewing a performance at Middle Temple Hall shortly after that interview, Opera Today observed that 'the clear tone and freshness of Davies’ countertenor bestowed some dramatic advantages' and 'even ‘weaknesses’ could be used to advantage' in his interpretation'.

Released 21st January.

Available Format: CD

Elsa Dreisig (soprano), Basel Chamber Orchestra, Louis Langrée

Following her debut operatic recording Miroir(s) (on which the French-Danish soprano explored different composers' depictions of the same characters), Dreisig presents snapshots of the trios of female-voiced roles in the three Mozart/Da Ponte operas: Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte, Susanna, the Countess and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Also includes arias from Idomeneo, Lucio Silla and La clemenza di Tito.

Released 28th January.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Sandrine Piau (soprano), Les Paladins, Jérôme Correas

Described by the French soprano as 'a portrait of powerful, often wounded women...queens, sorceresses, and sirens', Enchantresses features arias from Alcina, Amadigi di Gaulo, Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo, Lotario and the solo cantata La Lucrezia, interspersed with individual movements from concerti grossi. Piau's previous album of Handelian heroines (released on Naive in 2004) prompted The Gramophone Classical Music Guide to declare that 'this is may be the finest recital of Handel arias ever recorded'.

Released 14th January.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Carolyn Sampson (soprano), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Neal Davies (bass); Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

As well as the cantatas Gott soll allein mein Herze haben and Geist und Seele wird verwirret (which bookend the programme), this recording includes Buxtehude's Klag-Lied (a postlude to Fried- und Freudenreiche Hinfarth, performed at the composer's father’s funeral) and Schütz's Erbarm dich mein, O Herre Gott, written during his time as Kapellmeister at the royal court in Dresden.

Released 4th February.

Available Format: CD

Julien Behr (Pelléas), Vannina Santoni (Mélisande), Alexandre Duhamel (Golaud), Marie-Ange Todorovitch (Geneviève), Jean Teitgen (Arkel); Les Siècles, Chœur de l'Opéra de Lille, François-Xavier Roth

Following acclaimed recordings of La mer, the Première suite pour Orchestre, Nocturnes, Jeux, and Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Roth and his period-instrument ensemble team up with an all-Francophone cast for Debussy's opera, recorded at the empty Opéra de Lille in March; reviewing the live-stream, Le Monde noted that 'the feeling of witnessing something exceptional was due as much to the emotion of a reopening behind closed doors as to the vitality of music played on period instruments'.

Released 28th January.

Available Format: 3 CDs

Barbara Hannigan (Gerda), Rachael Wilson (Kay), Katarina Dalayman (Grandmother / Old Lady / Finn Woman), Peter Rose (Snow Queen / Reindeer / Clock); Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Cornelius Meister, Andreas Kriegenburg

Commissioned by the Royal Danish Opera, Abrahamsen's setting of Hans Christian Andersen's dark winter fairy-tale (the composer's first opera) was premiered in Danish in October 2019; this DVD was filmed during the first run of the English-language version (produced collaboration with the late Amanda Holden) in Munich a few months later. In the wake of a preview, The New York Times observed that 'there is no metaphor more apt to describe Mr. Abrahamsen’s music than a snowflake: pleasantly soft and simple from a distance, mathematically precise and complex under a microscope'.

Read our 2016 interview with Abrahamsen (in which he discusses writing for Hannigan and the opera's genesis) here.

Released 14th January and also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: DVD Video

Corinne Winters (Halka), Tomasz Konieczny (Janusz), Piotr Beczala (Jontek); ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester, Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Łukasz Borowicz, Mariusz Treliński

This production of 'Poland's national opera' was filmed at the Theater an der Wien in late 2019, with The Opera Critic praising the 'compelling realism and credibility' of the central performances and in particular the 'unflinching commitment' of Winters (the only non-Polish singer of the three principals) in the title-role; Salzberg Nachrichten also hailed her 'phenomenal soprano and demonic presence' as the village-girl who is seduced then abandoned by a rich landowner, and gate-crashes his wedding with tragic consequences.

Released 21st January and also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: DVD Video

Lise Davidsen (Leonore), David Butt Philip (Florestan), Georg Zeppenfeld (Rocco), Simon Neal (Don Pizarro, Amanda Forsythe (Marzelline), Robin Tritschler (Jaquino), Egils Siliņš (Don Fernando); Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Antonio Pappano, Tobias Kratzer

Filmed at Covent Garden last March shortly before theatres went dark (British tenor David Butt Philip replaced a COVID-stricken Jonas Kaufmann as Florestan), Kratzer's production was very much a game of two halves, with a broadly traditional first act giving way to something more postmodern in the second. Praise for Davidsen in her stage debut as Leonore was near-unanimous, with The Guardian applauding her 'superbly controlled and beautifully equalised' singing and The Telegraph declaring that her performance alone 'justifie[d] the price of any ticket'.

Released 21st January and also available on Blu-ray.

Available Format: DVD Video