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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back from the dead...

As the classical music season winds up here in New York, things have been a little slow around the Superconductor editorial offices. CDs have stood in their cases unwrapped, DVDs unwatched, and concerts--well health issues suffered in April have made your favorite critic take a few weeks off from the concert hall. The combination of a sinus infection and breathing issues in April caused me to miss a couple of operas, but after some R and R and expert medical care, I'm on the mend.

Because the blog demands it, a lithograph of Giacomo Meyerbeer.
So. As New York swelters through its first and worst heat wave of 2008 (so far) I escaped to the air-conditioned basement of Barnes and Noble Lincoln Center, and emerged with three interesting opera recordings. They will be put into my ITunes and written about in due time, all things permitting.

Today I picked up:
Les Huguenots cond. Richard Bonynge. This magnum opus by Giacomo Meyerbeer is one of the longest non-Wagner operas ever written, a near-complete recording featuring the twin talents of Joan Sutherland and Martina Arroyo. La Stupenda takes on the role of Queen Margot, and her hubby conducts the nearly four hours of music.

Die Liebe der Danae cond. Sir Charles Mackerras. Those wacky bargain-basement elves at Gala Records (my second favorite El Cheapo music label along with Brilliant Classics) have released what is (I think) the third or fourth recording of this least-performed Richard Strauss opera. Features English basso Norman Bailey in the key role of Jupiter. This opera was the only one of Strauss' 15 to remain unstaged (except for a dress rehearsal) during the composer's lifetime. Maybe 1944 Austria wasn't the best place to stage a "cheerful mythology in three acts."

Le Roi Arthus Yes, it's King Arthur: the French Romantic Opera from the pen of Ernest Chausson. Telarc has released this Leon Botstein recording (OK, it's three years old but this is the first I've heard of it) with the professor/conductor on the podium exploring another underperformed opera that deserves a place in the repertory.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats