OPERA NEWS - The Best of the Year
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The Best of the Year

We offer our favorites among recordings and videos we reviewed in 2012.

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Our Top Five Opera CD Releases 


1. Donizetti: Maria di Rohan (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Mark Elder; Opera Rara)
2. Dvořák: Rusalka (Cleveland Orchestra, Franz Welser-Möst; Orfeo)
3. Handel: Alessandro (Armonia Atenea, George Petrou; Decca)
4. Massenet: Werther (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Antonio Pappano; DG)
5. Wagner: Lohengrin (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Marek Janowski; Pentatone)
WORTHY OF REPETITION: Tracks that made us hit the "Repeat" button included "Daybreak in Alabama," from Nicole Cabell's Silver Rain (Blue Griffin); Mark Padmore's Nocturne on his Britten–Finzi concert (Harmonia Mundi); "Carry," from Tori Amos's Night of Hunters (DG); and "Traum durch die Dämmerung," in Renée Fleming's Strauss concert with Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic (Opus Arte DVD).
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The Year's Twelve Best Recital Discs 

1. Roberto Alagna, Pasión (DG)
2. Cecilia Bartoli, Mission (Decca)
3. Joseph Calleja, The Maltese Tenor (Decca)
4. Lucy Crowe, Il Caro Sassone (Harmonia Mundi)
5. Iestyn Davies, Arias for Guadagni (Hyperion)
6. Joyce DiDonato, Drama Queens (Virgin)
7. Karina Gauvin, Prima Donna (ATMA Classique)
8. Genia Kühmeier, Bernarda Fink and Christoph BernerDvořák Zigeunerlieder (Harmonia Mundi)
9. Mariusz Kwiecien, Slavic Heroes (Harmonia Mundi)
10. Michael Slattery, Dowland in Dublin (ATMA Classique)
11. Michael Spyres, A Fool for Love (Delos)
12. Anne Sofie von Otter, Sogno Barocco (Naïve)
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REVISITED PLEASURES: The best of the year's historic issues were Marston's tribute to Emilio de Gorgoza (Marston); the Met's 1968 Luisa Miller and 1962 Ernani (Sony); La Scala's 1956 Così Fan Tutte and 1964 Turandot (La Scala Memories); and Glyndebourne's 1996 Theodora (Glyndebourne).
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Sony released a pair of Met broadcasts starring Risë Stevens, still unequaled as Carmen and Mignon.
Cecilia Bartoli channeled her inner bald man for the cover of Mission.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS:  Among the year's sharpest individual performances on CD were Piotr Beczala in Rusalka (Orfeo); Joyce DiDonato in Dead Man Walking (Virgin); Ferruccio Furlanetto in Don Quichotte (Mariinsky); Joshua Hopkins in St. John Passion (Avie); Jonas Kaufmann in Carmen (EMI); Evgeny Nikitin in Parsifal (Pentatone); Felicity Palmer in Elektra (LSO); and Yannick Nézet-Séguin's conducting of Don Giovanni (EMI).
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Our Twelve Favorite DVD and Blu-ray Releases 
1. Berg: Lulu (Vera Nemirova, Salzburg Festival; with Patricia Petibon; Kultur)
2. Bizet: Carmen (Calixto Bieito, Gran Teatre del Liceu; with Béatrice Uria-Monzon, Roberto Alagna; C Major)
3. Cilèa: Adriana Lecouvreur (David McVicar, Royal Opera, Covent Garden; with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann; Decca)
4. Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre (La Fura dels Baus, Gran Teatre del Liceu; Arthaus Musik)
5. Lully: Atys (Jean-Marie Villégier, Opéra Comique; FRA Musica)
6. Massenet: Cendrillon (Laurent Pelly, Royal Opera, Covent Garden; with Joyce DiDonato; Virgin)
7. Massenet: Don Quichotte (Laurent Pelly, La Monnaie; with José van Dam; Naïve)
8. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro (Giorgio Strehler, Teatro alla Scala; with Diana Damrau; Arthaus Musik)
9. Puccini: Tosca (Jonathan Kent, Royal Opera, Covent Garden; with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel; EMI)
10. Sciarrino: Luci Mie Traditrici (Christian Pade, Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte di Montepulciano; EuroArts)
11. Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress (John Cox, Glyndebourne Festival; Opus Arte)
12. Verdi: Macbeth (Phyllida Lloyd, Royal Opera, Covent Garden; with Simon Keenlyside; Opus Arte)
Teatro Real (Virgin) and Norwegian National Opera (EuroArts) both released winning videos of L'Incoronazione di Poppea.
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The standout individual performances on DVD and Blu-ray were Marlis Petersen in La Traviata (Arthaus Musik); Christophe Dumaux as Cavalli's Giasone (Dynamic); Olga Peretyatko in La Scala di Seta (Opus Arte); Waltraud Meier in a 1992 Parsifal reissue (EuroArts); and, in the historical category, Pilar Lorengar in a 1965 Don Carlos from Deutsche Oper Berlin (Arthaus Musik).

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