Metropolitan Opera’s past and present celebrated on CD and DVD by Sony Classical
New York’s Metropolitan Opera is to partner with Sony Classical for a series of CD and DVD releases showcasing the Met’s historic archives and recent productions.
The series will launch with the first official release on CD of four historic Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts recorded between 1947 and 1962, together with four DVDs of productions from 2008-10 drawn from
The Met: Live in HD catalogue.
The earliest recording on CD is Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette from February 1, 1947, with the star-crossed lovers sung by Swedish tenor Jussi Björling and the Brazilian soprano Bidú Sayão, both in roles they never recorded commercially. Emil Cooper conducts, with the cast
also including John Brownlee as Mercutio and Nicola Moscona as
The most recent, Puccini’s Tosca, from April 7, 1962 and conducted
by Kurt Adlers, features Leontyne Price – in the prime of her career – as the tragic eponymous heroine, opposite Franco Corelli as Cavaradossi, and Cornell MacNeil, in one of his most famed portrayals, as the evil Scarpia.
In between, two productions from the beginning and end of the Fifties: Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, with Lily Pons (Rosina) and Giuseppe di Stefano (Count Almaviva; a role he never recorded commercially), from December 16, 1950, with Alberto Erede conducting; and Puccini’s La bohème, with Thomas Schippers conducting Licia Albanese (Mimì), Carlo Bergonzi (Rodolfo), Mario Sereni (Marcello), and Laurel Hurley (Musetta), recorded on February 15, 1958.
The four DVD releases include Penny Woolcock’s 2008 production of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, with Gerald Finley as the nuclear scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, making his Met conducting debut; and, from the same year, Richard Strauss’s Salome, featuring Karita Mattila in a signature role with Patrick Summers conducting.
The other titles includes the 2009 revival of the late Anthony Minghella’s take on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (which launched Peter Gelb’s first season as general manager in 2006). Patricia Racette stars as Cio-Cio San, with Pinkerton sung by Marcello Giordani,
Dwayne Croft as Sharpless, and Patrick Summers again conducting; and the Met’s music director James Levine leading last year’s revival of Giancarlo Del Monaco’s 1995 production of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. Plácido Domingo in the title role is supported by Adrianne Pieczonka (Amelia), Marcello Giordani (Gabriele Adorno), and James Morris (Jacopo Fiesco).
Bogdan Roscic, president of Sony Classical, described The Met’s broadcast archive as “one of the ultimate treasure troves of recorded music” and said the label would now be making “some of its most legendary tapes available for the first time in the way they should
All eight titles will be released in the U.S. on January 25.