Two years ago I posted an article on performances that never obtained a DVD release and that should. These performances were a number of historical telecasts starring some of the best from the past. Out of the list only one was released, the Andrea Chenier from the Met with Pavarotti and Maria Guleghina. However the rest are still on a shelf collecting dust. Some of them have been added to the Met opera on Demand but the rest are either on Youtube or not available. The following is a list of recent performances that have made history or that are exceptional but have been ignored by distributors.
Here is the list in Particular order:
1. Don Carlo from Salzburg-The production by Peter Stein is a bit recent for this list but given the amount of time Sony has delayed the release of the Met's Parsifal, this seems like it will never get a release. The performance stars Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros and was one of the highlights of the festival.
2. Ariadne Auf Naxos from Salzburg- A few months ago Decca announced an Ariadne auf Naxos that everyone thought would be the Jonas Kaufmann/Emily Magee performance. However it was later revealed to be Renee Flemings' Baden Baden performance. Then it was announced that Kaufmann had broken his contract with Decca and fans assumed this performance would not be released either. The performance was one of the biggest successes of his career as of now and it would be a shame to see this left on a shelf given the amount of releases this opera has and how many mediocre performances are out.
3. Faust from the Metropolitan Opera-I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record with Kaufmann but this performance was splendid with Rene Pape. While the production is a disgrace, the performance by the two men is ravishing. It makes no sense why this performance was never released and the terrible Tosca from the Met was. Unlike Tosca, Faust actually has singers at the top of their game.
4. La Fanciulla del West from Vienna State Opera- Here again is another Kaufmann performance which may be too soon to tell but it is a landmark for his career and one that could easily get ignored given the amount of performances that will be recorded for Kaufmann this year. Manon Lescaut, and a Werther will be recorded so Sony may be overbooked by the end of next year.
5. Don Giovanni from Teatro alla Scala-The opening night at La Scala was one of the most star studded casts which included Anna Netrebko, Peter Mattei, Barbara Frittoli, Bryn Tefel, and Anna Prohaska. The DVD was a sure bet before Elina Garanca cancelled but after her cancellation it seems Deutsche became less interested even though three of their artists were seen in this performance. While it isn't the best production the singers were amazing. Rumor has it that a recording from Baden Baden was made and that a DVD will be available next year. Perhaps this was the reason for the company ignoring this performance.
6. Don Giovanni from The Metropolitan Opera-The production by Michael Grandage was a bore but the performers were incredible including Mariusz Kwieicen's performance and Luca Pisaroni's acclaimed interpretation. The Met should know better which performances to release and which they shouldn't. This is one they should.
7. La Dona del Lago from The Royal Opera-Juan Diego Florez and Joyce Didonato are a dynamic duo and one of the best today. Anything they touch they make golden and this performance is fabulous. Again the production is awful but the singing from these two is incredible. Perhaps the issue right now is DECCA and Erato like the Barber from the Met. However DECCA is probably planning a release for William Tell which he just performed at Pesaro. As a result Erato will most likely release the DVD.
8. Maria Stuarda from The Metropolitan Opera-If Erato releases La Dona del Lago then who will release this gem. Didonato gives an amazing performance and this is a defining moment in her career. Didonato is performing the role all over the world this year and Erato could easily bank on a DVD release of this opera. But more importantly this is an important performance.
9. Nabucco from The Royal Opera House-Placido Domingo and Liudmyla Monastyrska brought down the house in this performance. Many may not like Domingo as a baritone but this performance was unique in all ways. Monastyrska is also one of the most promising sopranos of our time and one that should be documented for the future.
10. La Clemenza di Tito from The Metropolitan Opera-When it was announced this performance would get an HD, I assumed Deutsche had already bought the rights since they released the previous two HDs that included Elina Garanca. However a year has passed and nothing has been announced. Instead a greatest hits was released for the Mezzo.
11. Faust from The Royal Opera-Vittorio Grigolo was once touted as the new Italian Tenor and the successor to Pavarotti. This is one of his breakout performances with Angela Gheorghiu. However the performance disappeared from the ROH's catalog.
12. Boris Godunov from The Metropolitan Opera-By the far the biggest crime as Rene Pape gives one of his best performances ever. His Boris is an important piece to his repertoire and one that has to come out. The performance also stars the great Aleksandrs Antonenko and Ekaterina Semenchuck.
13. Les Trojans from The Metropolitan Opera-While the Royal Opera House will release their acclaimed production with Bryan Hymel, it does not star Deborah Voigt or Susan Graham. I'm not taking anything away from the ROH version which is equally exceptional. However this performance was one of the most memorable of last year.
14. Les Conte D'Hofmann from Bayerische-Rolando Villazon made a comeback in this production and he was remarkable. Diana Damrau also pulled off something no soprano today can do. She sang the three main roles. No DVD has ever documented a soprano in the three roles and this already makes it legendary. Add the chemistry between Villazon and Damrau and you have the most complete Hoffman since Placido Domingo and Neil Shicoff.