Voices Raised! New Vocal, Choral and Opera CDs

The Metropolitan Opera premiere production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, which opened the 2011-12 Met season on September 26, and continues through October (two performances in February of 2012) stars Anna Netrebkoin in the title role.  Perennial favorites will be featured throughout this season’s offerings at The Met, more Donizetti (La Fille du Regiment and L’Elisir d’Amore) as well as Gounod’s Faust, Don Giovanni by Mozart and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly to name a few. For those craving a more contemporary opera, Philip Glass’ unforgettable opera Satyagraha which reprises Richard Croft’s role as Ghandi.

For those of us that aren’t able to attend a live opera performance there are free alternatives right here at your local library! The Central Library Arts Division has a large selection of opera, solo vocal music and choral music sound recordings. We’ve added a few new titles and introduced some new talent to our vast collection. Here are a few to look for:

Up-and-coming soprano Camilla Nylund performs her first album of opera arias by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss on Transfiguration. Nylund is accompanied by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.

The all-female trio Juice Vocal Ensemble reminds us that innovations can still be accomplished in the world of classical avant garde music. Songspin showcases the amazing vocalizations of the groups members:  Kerry Andrew, Anna Snow and Sarah Dacey. We guarantee you have never heard anything like this!

Who is Nico Muhly?? At a mere 30 years of age, this young musician has composed choral and orchestral works, film scores, operatic and chamber music and is currently working on a new piano quintuple concerto commissioned by the Five Browns. As a choirboy in his youth, Muhly became addicted to the textures and harmonies of choral music from the 16th century to the present. His works reflect his passion and drive and we are the thrilled to have three of his albums in our collection – A Good Understanding, I Drink the Air Before Me and Mothertongue. Have a listen (can you hear the reference to Rochester?):

And finally, back to opera. We have added Kepler by Philip Glass. The Los Angeles Times calls Glass’ opera “his most chromatic, complex, psychological score.” Based on the life of scientist Johannes Kepler, this work is a musical homage to the man’s triumphs as well as his flaws as a human being.

Bastianello by John Musto and Lucrezia by William Bolcom share billing on a new CD that features the two one-act chamber operas, scored for five singers and two pianists. Bastianello/Lucrezia was commissioned and is performed by the New York Festival of Song. These two comic operas explore the themes of love, marriage and parenthood.

And finally, yet another promising young star in the world of opera, Julia Lezhneva, performs works by Gioachino Rossini. At just 19, Lezhneva received the independent Russian ‘Triumph’ award for her contribution to culture and art. Opera Today says, “…the disc offers much to enjoy, the possible future greatness of Ms. Lezhneva remains a case of “time will tell.”

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