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Opera Overtures, Choruses & Duets

By Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin

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By Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin, Peter Schreier, Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden, and Theo Adam. By Albert Lortzing, Charles Genoud, Frederich von Flotow, Sohn Johann Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), Otto Nicolai (1810-1849), Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884), Georges Bizet (1838-1875), Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857-1919), Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek (1860-1945), and Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945). Classical. Listening CD. Brilliant Classics #BRI95414. Published by Brilliant Classics (NX.BRI95414).

Item Number: NX.BRI95414

Conducted by Bernhard Klee; Otmar Suitner.

From Mozart to Leoncavallo: three hours of opera's greatest hits in rhythmically buoyant, highly enjoyable East-German recordings. Taped between 1959 (Wagner's Der fliegende Hollander) and 1993 (Die Fledermaus), a collection of overtures gets this operatic compilation off to a (literally) flying start. Suitner in particular directs deliciously sprung performances of Humperdinck (Hansel und Gretel), Smetana (The Bartered Bride) and Suppe (Dichter und Bauer / Poet and Peasant and Leichte Kavallerie / Light Cavalry). The Austro-Germanic angle of the first half of the release is widened on the second half by a selection of opera choruses that represents some of the most powerful moments of 19th-century Italian opera. There is the triumphant hymn in praise of Egypt from the second act of Aida as well as the sublime song of pride and defiance, 'Va pensiero', that crowns Nabucco and became before long the unofficial anthem of the Risorgimento and the struggle for Italian unification. Verismo choruses are here too, taken from that evergreen pairing of Pagliacci and Cavelleria rusticana. Favourite German operatic choruses include the Chorus of Guests in Wagner's Tannhauser as well as the hymn of the priests in Mozart's Die Zauberflote. Suitner directs all these: a compilation album made in Berlin in 1978. He also exercises a subtle guiding hand over the Staatskapelle Dresden for a compilation of tenor/baritone opera duets recorded in 1972 with the two foremost East-German male singers of their generation, Peter Schreier and Theo Adam. 'Expectably' commented Fanfare, 'the results are echt Deutsch' - even if the repertoire itself again covers Smetana, Gounod and Verdi as well as Mozart and Lortzing, with all the numbers sung in German and 'performed with zest'.

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