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Latest News: Classical

 Recording of the Week, Arne: Artaxerxes

by Chris O'Reilly

Ian Page and the Classical Opera Company resurrect the British composer’s ornate depiction of skulduggery in Ancient Persia, premiered in London in 1762, with Christopher Ainslie in the title-role and Elizabeth Watts as his firebrand sister.

 Recording of the Week, Handel and Strauss from Dessay and Damrau

by Chris O'Reilly

Dessay trails her imminent performances of Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare in Paris by recording all of the Egyptian queen’s arias with Le Concert d’Astrée and Emmanuelle Haïm, whilst Damrau is sensual in Strauss Lieder with Christian Thielemann.

 Recording of the Week, Nielsen Symphonies from Colin Davis and the LSO

by Chris O'Reilly

At the grand old age of 83, the British conductor ventures into new territory by embarking on a complete cycle of symphonies by the Danish, whose music he has only rarely conducted in the course of his long and illustrious career.

 Recording of the Week, Robert Schumann

by Chris O'Reilly

Piotr Anderszewski pays homage to the composer’s 200th birthday with three relatively rare piano works, whilst Mark Padmore and Kristian Bezuidenhout (performing on an 1837 Érard) bring clarity and crispness to Dichterliebe.

 Recording of the Week, Vivaldi Operas - Ottone in Villa and Ercole

by Chris O'Reilly

Ercole sul Termodonte (starring Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau and Rolando Villazón) from Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, and Ottone in Villa (with Sonia Prina in the title-role) from Il Giardino Armonico and Giovanni Antonini.

 Recording of the Week, Christmas Releases

by Chris O'Reilly

Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas from Stile Antico, Russian Orthodox Vespers from the Don Cossacks Choir, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio from Riccardo Chailly, and a new collection of carols by John Rutter.

 Obituary, Henryk Mikolaj Górecki

by Chris O'Reilly

 Recording of the Week, Schubert: Piano Duets

by Chris O'Reilly

Both eminent Schubertians in their own right, Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne join forces for the great Fantasie in F minor D940 and a handful of small-scale works for piano four hands in this captivating contender for my Disc of the Year.

 Recording of the Week, Verdi's Otello from the LSO and Colin Davis

by Chris O'Reilly

Simon O’Neill is the jealousy-wracked general, Gerald Finley his nemesis, and Anne Schwanewilms his ill-fated wife in this edge-of-the-seat live recording, made at the Barbican last year and full of ‘savage and terrifying playing’ from the LSO.

 Recording of the Week, The Three Baroque Tenors

by Chris O'Reilly

Ian Bostridge explores music which was tailor-made for John Beard, Francesco Borosini and Annibale Po Fabri, including arias by Handel, Arne, Boyce, Caldara and Alessandro Scarlatti and accompanied by The English Concert.

 Obituary, Dame Joan Sutherland

by Chris O'Reilly

 Recording of the Week, Bach's Violin Concertos from Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque

by Chris O'Reilly

Following her widely acclaimed recordings of the solo sonatas and sonatas for violin and harpsichord, the British violinist and her hand-picked ensemble bring clarity and imagination to the concertos.

 Awards, Gramophone Awards announced last Friday

by Chris O'Reilly

 Recording of the Week, Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias

by Chris O'Reilly

The star tenor branches out from his usual French and German repertoire with an idiomatically Italianate recital of arias by Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Cilea and Boito, accompanied by Antonio Pappano and his Roman orchestra.

 Recording of the Week, Wagner's Parsifal from the Mariinsky and Gergiev

by Chris O'Reilly

Taken from live performances in St Petersburg last June, Gergiev’s vividly theatrical reading of Wagner’s Bühnenweihfestspiel stars Gary Lehman as the titular ‘holy fool’, Violeta Urmana as Kundry, and René Pape as Gurnemanz.

 Recording of the Week, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte from René Jacobs

by Chris O'Reilly

Following his excellent series of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas, Jacobs presents a vibrant new recording of the late mystical singspiel, with a uniformly excellent cast headed by the young German lyric tenor Daniel Behle as Tamino.

 Recording of the Week, Puccini's forgotten masterpiece - La Rondine

by Chris O'Reilly

Angela Gheorghiu sings the role of the eponymous swallow with Roberto Alagna as her naïve lover on a new DVD of Puccini’s unfairly neglected opera, filmed at the Metropolitan Opera last year with Marco Armiliato conducting.

 Recording of the Week, Santiago a cappella

by Chris O'Reilly

Sir John Eliot Gardiner takes us on a journey through medieval and Renaissance Spain as he and the Monteverdi Choir follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims who travelled to the shrine of Saint James the Great.

 Recording of the Week, Elīna Garanča goes Spanish

by Chris O'Reilly

The Latvian mezzo sings the title-role in Bizet’s Carmen from the Metropolitan Opera on DVD, and explores gypsy music still further on her new recital Habanera, which includes music from zarzuela, operetta and musical theatre.

 Recording of the Week, Rued Langgaard - Music of the Spheres

by Chris O'Reilly

Composed during World War One when the Danish composer was just 26, this experimental and forward-looking work received its UK premiere only last week – Thomas Dausgaard does it proud in this new recording with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.