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  • Recommended recordings: May 2015

Recommended recordings: May 2015

This month the focus falls on our favourite DVD and CD recordings featuring Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera.

By Robert Perry (Retail Manager)

1 May 2015 at 2.49pm | 5 Comments

Il trittico (CD – Warner Classics)

The three disparate musical canvases that make up Puccini’s operatic triptych require the most skilled conducting if they are to work: colours and details have to be found but contained within the arc of the drama; and emotions must be expressed, restrained and let free at key moments. Antonio Pappano is revelatory in all aspects here, leading the London Symphony Orchestra through three magnificent performances. Life at the docks in Il tabarro’s downtrodden Paris is rendered with all of the sordid grime you'd expect; Suor Angelica’s eventual suicide is devastating, never straying into the realms of the sentimental; and the black comedy at the heart of Gianni Schicchi is played to the full without any tendency to rush for comic effect. It’s a masterly work, aided by exceptionally astute casting including Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna that allows these dramas to unfold with real credibility. This is the benchmark recording of these often underrated works and an unalloyed pleasure.

Buy Il trittico on CD from the ROH Shop

Tristan und Isolde (CD – Warner Classics)

In 2005, Antonio Pappano took the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House into the studio to make what was billed at the time as the very last studio recording of an opera. A fitting end to a great tradition if that were the case, enshrining Plácido Domingo’s career-defining Tristan, and the Isolde of the emergent Nina Stemme under Pappano’s persuasive baton. Wagner himself exhorted his singers to sing 'in the Italian style' and with Domingo, this is what we experience in a performance full of musical and textual detail. He is able to rise to the enormous challenges of the role with no loss of beauty in the tone and no broken line. Opposite him, Stemme’s Isolde is alive to every nuance and in fearless voice, announcing herself as our leading Wagnerian soprano. Pappano is their ideal collaborator, the orchestra playing for him with an aching sense of the tragedy that is being played out. Tristan und Isolde has been blessed in the studio with several very fine recordings. We may all have our personal favourite, but this recording need fear no comparisons.

Buy Tristan und Isolde from the ROH Shop

Tosca (DVD – Opus Arte)

Director Benoît Jacquot’s film of Puccini’s Tosca is a fascinating document of collaborative music making, opting to cut between the opera in performance and the opera in rehearsal, and allowing us to watch Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House at work. It’s a gamble that pays off. The opera itself is sumptuously staged and dramatically-lit framing Angela Gheorghiu’s near definitive Tosca. Roberto Alagna offers an impassioned Cavaradossi and veteran bass Ruggero Raimondi offers an object lesson in stagecraft as a chilling Scarpia. All three can act for the screen, and Jacquot’s cut-aways to the orchestra add to the spontaneity of a performance that is always underpinned by Pappano’s instinctive and incisive conducting.

Buy Tosca from the ROH Shop

Which recordings would you recommend?

The Royal Opera House Online Shop stocks a full range of classical recordings, as well as DVDs and merchandise.

By Robert Perry (Retail Manager)

1 May 2015 at 2.49pm

This article has been categorised Music and tagged Antonio Pappano, by Richard Jones, CD, DVD, Gianni Schicchi, Il tabarro, il trittico, Production, Shop, Suor Angelica, Tosca, Tristan und Isolde

This article has 5 comments

  1. Liliana Constantinescu responded on 1 May 2015 at 7:23pm Reply

    TOSCA , of course !

  2. Frank Chalmers responded on 2 May 2015 at 12:21am Reply

    any and all of Pappanos music is inspiring...I will buy them all..

  3. Chris responded on 2 May 2015 at 12:42pm Reply

    Tosca with sublime Angela Gheorghiu.

  4. Janet Girsman responded on 14 May 2015 at 11:21am Reply

    Placido Domingo - Tosca and Carmen

  5. Ann O'Shaughnessy responded on 22 September 2015 at 10:12am Reply

    I already have the Tosca - magnificent. Tristan next on my list while I wait in hope for a DVD of the current production of Orfeo et Eurydice.

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