The best DVDs & Blu-rays of 2017

Gramophone Fri 8th December 2017

Here is our Editor Martin Cullingford's pick of the finest DVD and Blu-ray releases, as reviewed in Gramophone this year

Handel Alcina

January

Handel Alcina. Tamerlano 

Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset 

(Alpha) 

This Handel double bill from the sure hands of Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques really caught critic David Vickers’s imagination: ‘essential viewing for those who take Handel as a dramatist seriously’, he concludes.

Read the review

 

Simon Rattle Sol Gabetta

February

Elgar. Ligeti. Stravinsky. Wagner 

Sol Gabetta vc Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle 

(EuroArts) 

Two releases offer us Sol Gabetta’s Elgar Cello Concerto with Rattle this month, and both are highly recommended – a Sony CD and this Euroarts DVD. 

Read the review

 

Schoenberg Gurrelieder

March

Schoenberg Gurrelieder 

Sols; Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra / Marc Albrecht 

Opus Arte 

Gurrelieder as you probably won’t have seen it before: staged. ‘It makes’, as our critic Hugo Shirley puts it ‘for fascinating viewing.’

Read the review

 

Puccini Tuarandot

April

Puccini Turandot 

Soloists; Orchestra of La Scala, Milan / Riccardo Chailly

Decca 

Riccardo Chailly and his La Scala forces feature twice – and excellently – in this issue (see also Decca’s ‘Overtures, Preludes and Intermezzi’); this Turandot is great testimony to his work in Milan.

Read the review

 

May

Verdi Un ballo in maschera

Sols; Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera; Bavarian State Orchestra / Zubin Mehta

C Major Entertainment 

An unusual though intriguing staging concept, plus fine performances, earn this a ‘strongly recommended’ from reviewer Mike Ashman.

Read the review

 

Maximum Reger

June

‘Maximum Reger’ 

Various artists 

Fugue State Films 

Reger enthusiasts will relish this, but those not so familiar with him should equally explore such compelling advocacy of the composer’s music, life and legacy, told through fascinating documentaries and glorious music-making.

Read the review

 

Verdi Ballo

July

Verdi Un ballo in maschera 

Sols incl Ricciarelli & Domingo; Royal Opera, Covent Garden / Claudio Abbado 

Opus Arte 

An archive release from Covent Garden, 1975, featuring music-making from such greats as Plácido Domingo and, in the pit, Claudio Abbado.

Read the review

 

Wagner Parsifal

August

Wagner Parsifal 

Sols incl Ventris & Lang; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Iván Fischer

Challenge Classics 

The visual collaboration of Pierre Audi and Anish Kapoor – and of course, musically, Iván Fischer in the pit – is here captured on film.

Read the review in the Reviews Database

 

September

‘The Opening Concert’ 

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra / Thomas Hengelbrock 

C Major Entertainment 

‘A record of an extraordinary musical event … highly recommended’, as critic Charlotte Gardner puts it. She was there, and is thus well qualified to assess how the event has transferred to film.

Read the review

 

Ravel

Awards 2017 Issue

Ravel. Delage. Dutilleux Orchestral Works 

London Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle 

LSO Live 

If you can’t make it to the Barbican to watch the new partnership in person, then here’s an excellent chance to observe Rattle and his new London colleagues in action. As Mark Pullinger puts it, it augurs well!

Read the review

 

Faccio Hamlet

October

Faccio Hamlet

Prague Philharmonic Choir; Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Paolo Carignani 

C Major Entertainment 

This release of a virtually unknown 19th-century Shakespearean opera constitutes, so writes our reviewer Mark Pullinger, ‘a major operatic rediscovery’.

Read the review

 

Cosi Fan Tutte

November

Mozart Così fan tutte 

Soloists; Paris Opéra / Philippe Jordan 

Arthaus Musik 

This attempt to entwine dance and opera soon won over our critic Mark Pullinger – and by the end had him hooked. Add in high-level music-making too, and, if the concept intrigues, you may well feel likewise!

Read the review

 

Monteverdi Orfeo

December

Monteverdi L’Orfeo

Soloists; Les Arts Florissants / Paul Agnew

Harmonia Mundi

Having excelled in Monteverdi’s Madrigals, Paul Agnew and Les Arts Florissants turn to L’Orfeo. The players are put on stage, part of the action or, as critic David Vickers puts it, part of ‘democratic music-making’.

Read the review

 

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© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018