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

We offer our favorites from among the recordings and videos we reviewed in 2013.

Our Favorite Full-Length Opera CD Releases

1. Bellini: Norma (La Scintilla, Giovanni Antonini; Decca)
2. Benjamin: Written on Skin (Mahler Chamber Orchestra, George Benjamin; Nimbus)
3. Fairouz: Sumeida's Song (Mimesis Ensemble, Scott Dunn; Bridge)
4. Handel: Giulio Cesare (Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis; Naïve)
5. Mercadante: I Due Figaro (Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini, Riccardo Muti; Ducale)
6. Monteverdi: L'Orfeo (Taverner Consort and Players, Andrew Parrott; Avie)
7. Mozart: Così Fan Tutte (Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick
Nézet-Séguin; DG)
8. Puccini: Suor Angelica (WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Andris Nelsons; Orfeo)
9. Rossini: Semiramide (Virtuosi Brunensis, Antonino Fogliani; Naxos)
10. Verdi: Otello (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti; CSO Resound)
11. Wagner: Tannhäuser (Rundfunk-Sinfonie­orchester Berlin, Marek Janowski; Pentatone)
12. Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Marek Janowski; Pentatone)
VALUABLE PLAYERS: Knockout individual turns included Alice Coote as Mary Magdalene in The Apostles (Hallé); Alessandro Corbelli's Don Alfonso in Così Fan Tutte (DG); Karina Gauvin as Calisto in Giove in Argo (Virgin); Christian Gerhaher as Wolfram in Tannhäuser (Pentatone); Brenda Rae and Tamara Wilson in Die Feen (OEHMS); and Dawn Upshaw in La Passion de Simone (Ondine).
The Year's Top Ten Recital Discs

1. Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano, "Britten Songs" (EMI)
2. Lawrence Brownlee and Iain Burnside, "The Heart That Flutters" (Opus Arte)
3. Alice Coote and Julius Drake, Winterreise (Wigmore Hall)
4. Christian Gerhaher, "Romantische Arien" (Sony)
5. Jonas Kaufmann, "The Verdi Album" (Sony)
6. Anna Prohaska, "Enchanted Forest" (Archiv)
7. Anna Netrebko, "Verdi" (DG)
8. Christopher Purves, "Handel's Finest Arias for Base Voice" (Hyperion)
9. Sylvia Schwartz and Malcolm Martineau, "Canciones Españolas" (Hyperion)
10. Ramón Vargas, "Opera Arias" (Capriccio) 
Smash's Megan Hilty joined Plácido Domingo for "My Heart Will Go On" on "Songs."
JUST THINK: IN 2018 WE'LL ALL BE CELEBRATING LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Piotr Beczala, Plácido Domingo, Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón released Verdi discs in 2013.
Our Top Five DVD and Blu-ray Releases

1. Berg: Wozzeck (Dmitri Tcherniakov, Bolshoi Theater; Bel Air Classiques)
2. Britten: Peter Grimes (Richard Jones,
La Scala; Opus Arte)
3. Britten: The Turn of the Screw (Jonathan Kent, Glyndebourne Opera; FRA Musica)
4. Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide; Iphigénie en Tauride (Pierre Audi, De Nederlandse Opera; Opus Arte)
5. Handel: Rodelinda (Stephen Wadsworth, Metropolitan Opera; Decca)
Renée Fleming released a recital disc called "Guilty Pleasures."
SCREEN STARS: Among the best individual performances on DVD and Blu-ray were Ildar Abdrazakov as Verdi's Attila (Mariinsky); Jane Archibald as Zerbinetta (Decca); Gerald Finley as Owen Wingrave (Arthaus); Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala as Mimì and Rodolfo (DG); and Alexandrina Pendatchanska (a.k.a. Alex Penda) as Alcina in Haydn's Orlando Paladino (EuroArts). 
INSTANT REPLAYS: Tracks that made us hit the "Repeat" button included "Ombra di nube," on Anna Caterina Antonacci's "L'alba separa dalla luce l'ombra" (Wigmore Hall); "Always," from Stephanie Blythe's "As Long As There Are Songs" (Innova); "Oh, de' verd'anni miei," on "Domingo Verdi" (Sony); Patricia Racette's "Angel Eyes," on "Diva on Detour" (GPR); and Piotr Beczala and Ewa Podleś as Manrico and Azucena, on "Verdi" (Orfeo). 
GOLDEN MEMORIES: The best of the year's historic issues were "Wagner at the Met," Sony's boxed-set reissue of nine historic Wagner broadcasts; Testament's 1951 BBC aircheck of Pelléas et Mélisande; Carlo Maria Giulini's live 1951 traverse of I Due Foscari (Warner Fonit Cetra); and Frederica von Stade's 1986 Salzburg recital (Orfeo).

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