‘Muti can suggest a sensibility driven to the edge of sanity by its nightmare,’ wrote Gramophone of this intense interpretation of Berlioz’s visionary Symphonie fantastique, judging it among the finest recordings of the work and praising the conductor’s mastery at ‘holding the thread of argument together firmly, while never minimizing the incidental excitement’.
Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, men of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and bass soloist Alexey Tikhomirov in this poignant performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Op. 113 (Babi Yar), recorded live in September 2018.
The staging is fascinating. Vast panelled video screens provide the scenic backdrops. Videos of nature in all its glory are projected onto these. It makes for breathtaking effect, and the good news is that one does not tire of it.
Muti conducts with real assurance. Pacing the drama magnificently, it is on performances like these that the controversial Maestro has made his well-deserved musical reputation. Tell emerges as a masterpiece from first to last. Rossini's compositional confidence in his craft is never once in doubt, and there is no trace of any longueur anywhere… (Musicweb International)
In many ways this is a magnificent achievement… Muti conducts with real assurance. Pacing the drama magnificently, it is on performances like these that the controversial Maestro has made his well-deserved musical reputation. Tell emerges as a masterpiece from first to last. Rossini's compositional confidence in his craft is never once in doubt, and there is no trace of any longueur anywhere.
For his production of “ Don Giovanni“ at the Vienna International Festival (Wiener Festwochen), Roberto de Simone does not want to follow in the footsteps of other directors who modernise the design and add something that did not exist in Mozart’s original. He sends Don Giovanni on a journey through time to revisit the centuries that the character lived through starting with the original costume of the 16th century and ending in the 19th century. Don Giovanni changes garments but is still the same legend and archetype. Something similar can be said for his accompanying antagonist, Donna Elvira.
As a more consistently light-hearted version, with delightful La Scala sets and colourful costumes, the 1994 TDK Don Pasquale will also be hard to beat. Visually it is a joy, and with three outstanding principals the performance sparkles from start to finish. By not seeming too old, Ferruccio Furlanetto’s portrayal of Don Pasquale is the more convincing, but he has no chance against Nuccia Focille’s minx of a Norina and one certainly feels sorry for him at his discomfiture. Gregory Kunde is an appropriately ardent Ernesto; his voice isn’t creamy but the sings passionately and has good comic timing, and Lucio Gallo enters into the spirit of the story as a wily Dottore Malatesta.
TDK presents an impressive staging of one of Rossini’s opera masterpieces. This production, staged by La Scala Milan is conducted by Riccardo Muti. Moïse et Pharaon - Rossini’s re-adaptation of the story of Moses in Egypt - emphasizes the dramatic moments of the biblical account beautifully and also demonstrates the composer‘s mastery of the French tradition: solos and choral work are superb compositions, the duets are expressive and touching. Including an extensive ballet scene at the beginning of Act III and featuring a preeminent international cast of singer-actors – Erwin Schrott, Barbara Frittoli, Sonia Ganassi - this recording brings a Rossini experience of the highest rank onto the screen.