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The Lebrecht Weekly


Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]

Glyndebourne gets in groove

By Norman Lebrecht / November 21, 2007

At a time when opera houses are embracing media deals of every kind, from the Met’s movie releases to ENO’s Carmen blog, you’d expect nothing less of Glyndebourne than a touch of class. The Sussex festival last month released its Tristan and Isolde to select cinemas. Now it is about to announce its own CD label, with an exclusive twist.

There will be just four albums a year, two of current productions and two of recordings privately made for the Christie family of legendary past productions. The first pair will be Vladimir Jurowsky’s exhilarating 2006 performance of Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery – of which there is no other version on the market – together with an epic 1962 Marriage of Figaro with Mirella Freni as Susanna and Edith Mathis as Cherubino, Silvio Varviso conducting Carl Ebert’s production.

The existence of the recorded archive has been an open secret but because of the complexities of copyright and performing fees none of Glyndebourne’s treasures have seen light of day. One gem that is being readied for release the year after next is a 1964 Idomeneo with Luciano Pavarotti as Idamante, his first major-house role after a stand-in Covent Garden stint as Rodolfo in La Boheme, and the earliest known recording of his youthful effulgence.

Anyone who has heard Kid Lucy in the live 1966-7 Rome album will recognise that the voice was richer and more versatile on stage than in Decca’s strictly controlled studio sessions. Glyndebourne could be sitting on a vocal gold mine.

To be notified of the next Lebrecht article, please email mikevincent at scena dot org

Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]



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