Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Written for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, it was Verdi's tenth opera and first given on 14 March 1847. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play that Verdi adapted for the operatic stage. Almost twenty years later, Macbeth was revised and expanded in a French version and given in Paris on 19 April 1865.
After the success of Attila in 1846, by which time the composer had become well established, Macbeth came before the great successes of 1850 to 1853 (Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata) which propelled him into universal fame. As sources, Shakespeare's plays provided Verdi with lifelong inspiration: some, such as an adaption of King Lear (as Re Lear) were never realized, but he wrote his two final operas using Othello as the basis for Otello (1887) and The Merry Wives of Windsor as the basis for Falstaff (1893).
The first version of Macbeth was completed during the time which Verdi described as his "galley years" which ranged over a period 16 years, and one which saw the composer produce 22 operas. By the standards of the subject matter of almost all Italian operas during the first fifty years of the 19th century, Macbeth was highly unusual. The 1847 version was very successful and it was presented widely. Pleased with his opera and with its reception, Verdi wrote to Antonio Barezzi, his former father-in-law and long-time supporter about two weeks after the premiere:
“ I have long intended to dedicate an opera to you, who have been father, benefactor, and friend to me. It was a duty I should have fulfilled sooner if imperious circumstances had not prevented me. Now, I send you Macbeth which I prize above all my other operas, and therefore deem worthier to present to you. ”
The 1865 revision, produced in a French translation and with several additions was first given on 19 April of that year. It was less successful, and the opera largely faded from public view until the mid-20th century revivals.
Performed by the CMD Grand Opera Company of Venice
Recorded by Classical Music Discoveries
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Navona Records’ NOTTURNO: The Complete Nocturnes and Ballades of Chopin is a fresh look at some of the Polish composer’s most expressive works. The nocturnes and ballades are also some of Chopin’s most innovative works, displaying exciting advancements in harmony, rhythm, and form—all renewed in pianist Eliane Rodrigues’s nuanced, thoughtful performances, recorded in Sacilie, Italy’s acoustically advanced Fazioli Concert Hall.
Although he didn’t invent the piano nocturne, Chopin popularized it and certainly improved it beyond a mere character piece. He was heavily influenced by the sensuous melodies of bel canto opera arias, and developed a freer sense of rhythm and expression—as a result, the nocturnes exude an abstract mood or atmosphere. Chopin did, however, invent the piano ballade—a genre with its own distinct forms and qualities. His four ballades most directly contrast the nocturnes in their abstract narrative style—very different from “mood” pieces, they were likely inspired by poems by Adam Mickiewicz.
Taking a page from Chopin’s own unwritten ballade narratives, Rodrigues includes text by Jantien Brys to accompany each nocturne, each one telling a sort of story without sacrificing the essential atmospheric nature of the nocturne. She writes, “For me, the Nocturnes are like a diary of Chopin, so Jantien wrote the texts as if they were excerpts from a fictional diary of his.” Rodrigues’s performances, influenced by these new texts, bring the listener a new kind of emotional connection to Chopin and music.
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Internationally renowned, New York-based pianist Mirian Conti has recorded Lalo Schifrin – Piano Works, a collection of solo piano music by Grammy© Winning and Academy Award© Nominated Composer Lalo Schifrin. The collection of World Premieres will be released on November 1 by the Naxos Grand Piano label (GP776). Ms. Conti will present a special CD launch concert on November 30 at the Consulate General of Argentina, 12 West 56th Street, New York, NY.
Works recorded are a new arrangement of Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible: Main Theme (Version For Piano) (1973/2016); Tango: Main Theme, Tango Del Atardecer (Version For Piano) (1997/2016) ; 3 Pampas (Version For Piano) (2009/2016); Jazz Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (1963/2016), Danza De Los Montes (Version For Piano) (2005/2016); Theme And 10 Variations On An Original Theme (2016); Tango A Borges (Version For Piano) (2005/2016); La Calle Y La Luna (Version For Piano) (2005/2016) and Lullaby For Jack (2016).
Feuersnot (Need for (or lack of) fire), Op. 50, is a Singgedicht (sung poem) or opera in one act by Richard Strauss. The German libretto was written by Ernst von Wolzogen, based on J. Ketel's report "Das erloschene Feuer zu Audenaerde". It was Strauss' second opera.
Thematically, the opera has been interpreted as a parody of Richard Wagner's idea of "redemption through love", with the character of Kunrad representing Strauss himself. The conceptual framework for the opera stems from the Nietzschean perspective that had inspired Strauss in his tone poems Till Eulenspiegel and Also sprach Zarathustra. Strauss and von Wolzogen shared the view that the source of inspiration was material not transcendental: in Feuersnot it is "redemption through sex" which relights the creative fire.
Joana Filipe Martinez, conductor/producer
CMD Grand Opera Company of Barcelona
Symphonia Domestica (Domestic Symphony), Op. 53, is a tone poem for large orchestra by Richard Strauss. The work is a musical reflection of the secure domestic life so valued by the composer himself and, as such, harmoniously conveys daily events and family life.
Joana Filipe Martinez, conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Barcelona Spain Orchestra
Il re pastore (The Shepherd King) is an opera, K. 208, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Metastasio, edited by Giambattista Varesco. It is an opera seria. The opera was first performed on 23 April 1775 in Salzburg, at the Palace of the Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo.
In 1775 the opera was commissioned for a visit by the Archduke Maximilian Francis of Austria, the youngest son of Empress Maria Theresa, to Salzburg. Mozart spent six weeks working on the opera. It consists of two acts and runs for approximately 107 minutes.
Metastasio wrote the libretto in 1751, basing it on a work by Torquato Tasso called Aminta. The libretto was picked up when Mozart (just 19 at the time) and his father saw a performance of it set to music composed by Felice Giardini – Mozart's version, however was two acts rather than Giardini's three, and has a few substantial changes. Each act lasts for around an hour in performance. The Salzburg court chaplain Varesco was largely responsible for this editing of Metastasio's libretto.
It is often referred to not as an opera, but as a serenata, a type of dramatic cantata. The appearance of a quartet of lovers (Aminta and Elisa, Agenore and Tamiri) of somewhat dubious fidelity automatically puts a modern audience in mind of Così fan tutte. The principal psychological theme of the opera is, however, the demands of love against the demands of kingship, as Aminta, the shepherd-king, tussles with his conscience, and in this Il re pastore is closer in theme to Idomeneo than any other of Mozart's operas. Indeed, Idomeneo was the next completed opera that Mozart wrote after Il re pastore, after his six-year-long break from the stage. Furthermore, the theme of qualities for kingship appears in another opera, La clemenza di Tito, his last one.
Dominique Beaulieu, conductor
CMD Philharmonic and Chorus of Paris in Orlean France
Ravello Records proudly presents VERDI’S GUITAR, an album by guitarist Alan Rinehart made up of six fantasies for solo guitar by 19th-century composer guitarist/composer Josef (Johann) Kaspar Mertz. Each fantasy is based on an opera of the great Giuseppe Verdi, including such famous works as Nabucco, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata.
The six Verdi fantasies are taken from a larger Mertz collection of 34 similar pieces based on operas, called Opern-Revue (Op.8). These “revues” were not unlike works for piano by composers such as Liszt, which were arrangements of or fantasies on popular operatic arias. Both these and Mertz’s revues responded to the popular demand of the opera “experience” adapted for a small, private setting. Mertz’s revues are more ambitious, however—they adapt not just a single aria, but the entire opera, compressing a large-scale, 2–3 hour production into a 10–15 minute piece medley for solo guitar. Each revue is essentially a medley consisting of an introduction, arias (with variation), and dramatic high points. Mertz’s Verdi fantasies are even more impressive, considering Verdi’s mid-19th century status as a leading composer of dramatic opera. Mertz retains Verdi’s drama and flair, but also adds an element of intimacy by distilling the operas down to minimal voices in the solo guitar. Rinehart navigates both of these qualities in his historically-informed performances. His interpretations embrace the free lyricism afforded to a solo piece, resulting in new perspectives on Verdi’s masterpieces.
The Requiem in D minor, K. 626, is a requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart composed part of the Requiem in Vienna in late 1791, but it was unfinished at his death on 5 December the same year. A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who commissioned the piece for a Requiem service to commemorate the anniversary of his wife's death on 14 February.
Syliva Wagner, conductor
CMD German Opera Company of Berlin
The Messa da Requiem is a musical setting of the Catholic funeral mass (Requiem) for four soloists, double choir and orchestra by Giuseppe Verdi. It was composed in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist whom Verdi admired. The first performance, at the San Marco church in Milan on 22 May 1874, marked the first anniversary of Manzoni's death. The work was at one time called the Manzoni Requiem. It is rarely performed in liturgy, but rather in concert form of around 85–90 minutes in length. Musicologist David Rosen calls it 'probably the most frequently performed major choral work composed since the compilation of Mozart's Requiem'
Joana Filipe Martinez, conductor
CMD Grand Opera Company of Barcelona
Salieri was committed to medical care and suffered dementia for the last year and a half of his life. He died in Vienna on 7 May 1825, aged 74 and was buried in the Matzleinsdorfer Friedhof on 10 May.
At his memorial service on 22 June 1825 his own Requiem in C minor – composed in 1804 – was performed for the first time. His remains were later transferred to the Zentralfriedhof. His monument is adorned by a poem written by Joseph Weigl, one of his pupils:
Rest in peace! Uncovered by dust
Eternity shall bloom for you.
Rest in peace! In eternal harmonies
Your spirit now is set free.
It expressed itself in enchanting notes,
Now it is floating to everlasting beauty.
Performed by the CMD Philharmonic and Chorus of Paris.
Conducted by Dominique Beaulieu
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