“Best of 2017” Highlights

The Guardian – 10 Best Performances

Semiramide: Royal Opera House
Grand opera in grand style, with the grandest of divas, Joyce DiDonato.

The top 10 noteworthy moments in classical music in 2017 – The Washington Post

Great performances: The real reasons we care about any of this are the performances that enrich our lives — such as Joyce DiDonato’s outing in “Ariodante;” Opera Philadelphia’s brand-new blanket-the-zone opera festival; Barbara Hannigan’s luminous song recital; and the great Martha Argerich, illuminating Prokofiev’s third piano concerto.

Ten classical recordings that made 2017 a very good listening year – Chicago Tribune

Berlioz: “Les Troyens”; soloists, choruses, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, John Nelsons (Erato): At last, a modern digital recording of Berlioz’s epic French opera worthy of comparison to the two Colin Davis sets (1970 and 2001), and in some respects their superior. Taken from concert performances given in Strasbourg, France, in April 2017, the set boasts vividly dramatic conducting from Nelsons and compelling performances from Joyce DiDonato as Dido, Michael Spyres as Aeneas and Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Cassandra. Included is an 85-minute DVD of video highlights from the concerts. A magnificent achievement.

Recordings of the Year: Gramophone Magazine

A year that started with one of today’s finest violinists injecting vigorous new life into two of the most recorded concertos, the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, and ended with an astounding recording of one of the Everests of the operatic repertoire, Berlioz’s Les Troyens is a good one by any reckoning. Lisa Batiashvili and Daniel Barenboim prove that every generation of classical musicians has something new to say about the great works of the musical literature, just as John Nelson and a hand-picked, and magnificent, cast gave us a recording that it is hard to imagine being bettered.

The 25 Best Classical Music Recordings of 2017: The New York Times

BERLIOZ: ‘Les Troyens’ Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg; John Nelson, conductor (Erato). Berlioz’s epic opera has rarely been given such luxury treatment as in this magnificent live recording from France. Mr. Nelson, a “Troyens” veteran many times over, expertly handles the unwieldy score with help from starry singers like Joyce DiDonato, in her role debut as Didon, and Michael Spyres as Enée. J.B.

2017 in review / Andrew Clements’ top 10 classical CDs: The Guardian

Audio-only releases are now significantly outnumbered by DVDs of fully staged productions, too, even if those are sometimes of dubious quality. That made Erato’s Strasbourg-sourced version of Berlioz’s Les Troyens particularly noteworthy this year; new versions of repertory operas rarely seem to rival let alone supplant the established classic versions, but this Trojans, taken from concert performances by about as a good cast as could be assembled today and conducted by John Nelson, really has done that.

NPR Music’s Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2017

9. Strasbourg Philharmonic, John Nelson, et al. / Berlioz: Les Troyens

Grand opera doesn’t get much grander than Les Troyens (The Trojans), Hector Berlioz‘s musically audacious, dramatically majestic, four-hour, five-act, distillation of the fall of Troy and the Trojans fated journey to Italy. Needless to say, the opera rarely gets documented; it demands singers and players of extraordinary stamina and eloquence — and a ton of money. For this new recording, taken from live performances in Strasbourg, France, conductor and Berlioz specialist John Nelson helped arrange much of financing himself. His interpretation is taut, capturing the epic sweep of the narrative beautifully. His cast is terrific. From the frenzied warning cries of contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux as the Trojan prophetess Cassandra in the opening act, to the tenderness and fury of Joyce DiDonato as Queen Dido in the final chapters, the singing is both emotionally poignant and sumptuous. As Aeneas, the Trojan hero, tenor Michael Spyres shines with plenty of muscle, yet without the self-consciousness of the great Jon Vickers, who stared in the celebrated first complete Troyens recording in 1970 conducted by Colin Davis. Good as that one is, Nelson’s new performance might just top it.

CD & DVD: The Best of 2017 – Miami Clásica

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Looking forward to these powerful concerts with Yannick @nezetseguin! Schubert: Winterreise • Dec 08 | @clubmusicaldequebec Dec 11 | @princeton University Dec 15 | @carnegiehall * 📅 joycedidonato.com/category/events/🖥 *Live on @medici.tv - Dec. 15. www.medici.tv/en/calendar/ • • “The DiDonato/Nézet-Séguin pairing is inspired, one of those special nights where you rarely get to see two musical superstars pull off a work of this magnitude.” • ~ Independent Kansas City

And with the snap of the fingers, this blissful, nourishing tour with the extraordinary @orchestre_metropolitain comes to a conclusion. After touring some of the top halls in North America, what a joy to finish in the home of the @philorch, another base for the boundless energy and gifts of @nezetseguin. It also wraps up 3 astonishing months for me, going from Agrippina in London, across Sputh America and landing in DC for #InWarAndPeace, launching the new recording of #Damnation, visiting the @npr #tinydesk, (look for it in Jan!), and even traveling to ancient Egypt yesterday! Is there a more perfect conclusion to this memorable period than #Mozart? I think not! Photo: @fgoupil #partopartotomorrow #thatclari netthough #fullcircle #lastsangthisariainphillytwentyfouryearsagoatavaforthedeathbyariasingoff #spellcheckTHAT

#StandingOvation to the entire #Akhnaten Family for this beautiful performance today. Utterly unforgettable!!!! #Repost @metopera with @get_repost ・・・ Mezzo-soprano @joycedidonato hosted today’s Live in HD transmission of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten—seen in more than 70 countries worldwide. 🌎 Don’t miss her performance in the upcoming production of Agrippina, live in cinemas on February 29! #MetHD #MetOpera #Opera #Akhnaten #PhilipGlass #LiveinHD #Movies

Live from the Met in one hour! The Met's epic production of Philip Glass' Akhnaten is shown live on screen in cinemas worldwide and I am thrilled to host the broadcast. In bocca al lupo to this stellar cast! I can't wait to see the show and speak to you about this gorgeous work. @metopera #metopera #liveinhd #Movies #PhilipGlass #Akhnaten @philipglassmusic @arcostanzo #MetHD

An overwhelming evening last night @carnegiehall, with my fellow Perspective”s Artist, @nezetseguin, as he brought his first orchestra, @orchestre_metropolitain, to this beautiful hall for the first time. The pure joy and abundant love that poured forth from the legendary stage in the remarkable Bruckner 4 elevated us all. What a gift it is to be a part of his world. 🎉💃🎉 Photo: @fgoupil

It was an overwhelming musical experience to return to Strasbourg and my "Berlioz Family" to bring "La Damnation de Faust" to life! Released today, I can't think of a more perfect way to round out this Berlioz Year. I hope you will listen and be swept away, as we all were by the experience! @philharmonique_de_strasbourg @spikelmyers @nicolascourjal @alexandreduhamelbaritone @warner_classics @warnerclassicsus • 💿 Link in bio to pre-order the album. • • #berlioz #berlioz150 #yearofberlioz #faust #opera #newmusicfriday

LOVE. #greatmindsthinkalike #fashion #OMUSA @nezetseguin @orchestre_metropolitain #tourlife #makestheworldgoaround

Thank you #AnnArbor, @umspresents, @orchestre_metropolitain , beloved @nezetseguin, and divine #Mozart. My soul is well-nourished tonight. ❤️❤️❤️

What fabulous news to wake up to, today!!!! So proud to be nominated for this hugely joyful project!!! Way to go, @craigterrypiano, @hotlipsporter, @lautaro_greco, #ChuckIsraels and #JimmyMadison!! Let’s Play On!!! #doesthatsaytwentytwenty #newdecaderealness #grammygrammygrammy @recordingacademy #grammys

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato