“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

15 Dec

So looking forward to returning to this wonderful series and hall!!!! https://t.co/tgfk5NwGlA

15 Dec

I never post reviews....but this time I make an exception. My heart is so full that our first step into this world… https://t.co/3NQYlHz1bx

14 Dec

Happiness is ... https://t.co/pRABoSx9N2

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Happiness is ...

And the journey has begun ... an experience I will never, ever forget. @nezetseguin , thank you for your heart, your soul, your mastery, your self .... and thank you @hjseries for helping us launch this in such a special, memorable way. #KC, I love you deeply!

Schubert: Winterreise Joyce DiDonato • Yannick @nezetseguin Dec 13: Kansas City - @hjseries Dec 16: Ann Arbor - @umspresents Hill Auditorium • “Das Mädchen sprach von Liebe... “

Who’s ready to play?!?!?! TODAY we release the first track of my new album: SONGPLAY - celebrating life, a great song, and above all, LOVE! On my last album I sang about the idea of peace, inviting you to nurture it within. If you’ve managed to stay there, the next step should surely be joy, no? I’d recommend throwing your friends a fabulous, old-fashioned dinner party (perhaps Italian cuisine is in order?), press play, and revel in the joy of meeting some old standards in a new light. Once you hear this band, trust me, you’re going to want to sing along! As you join in, however, just keep in mind what the great Louis Armstrong said: “You got to love to be able to play.” • • 🎧 link in bio • Photo: @chrissingerme Art direction: @catecool Album design: @lennysstudio Styling: @vitatzykun Jewelry: @tamsenznyc Makeup: @glowbyaffan • #Songplay @warner_classics #newMusicFriday #warnerclassics

Thank you for this beautiful feature, TV Kultura! It's been an honor to bring "In War & Peace - Harmony through Music" to the beautiful @ZaryadyeHall.🕊🎶 #TalkPeace #DoPeace 📺 https://tvkultura.ru/article/show/article_id/313167 @ilpdo #MaximEmelyanychev

Hello, Moscow! I’ve been waiting a long time to return to you. I’m elated to bring our #InWarAndPeace project to you with @ilpdo in your gorgeous new @zaryadyehall. Tonight, I’ll give you my all! #TalkPeace #DoPeace @macpro @maccosmeticsuk

Courtesy of the almost #PulitzerPrize winning photographer (quasi violist), @giulio.dalessio of @ilpdo fame, the genius #maximemelyanychev conducts an intimate chamber concert, live from #Moscow with the #duduk and the #rainbow #daschund. Chamber music will never be the same.

I am THRILLED to bring “In War & Peace - Harmony through Music” to MOSCOW! Nov 29 & Dec 1: @zaryadyehall @ilpdo - Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor #TalkPeace #DoPeace 🕊🎶 Photo: Javier del Real

Are you tuning in for #IntoTheFire tonight on @wqxr_classical @greenespacenyc and @medici.tv??? We are in the mood and ready!!! A JOY to join my beloved #BrentanoQuartet....going live in 5..4..3..2..!!!!

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

~ Joyce DiDonato