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The best opera recordings released on CD and DVD in 2021 so far

A list of the greatest opera albums released so far in 2021, as chosen by the BBC Music Magazine critics

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Vivaldi: Argippo

Emőke Baráth, Marie Lys, Delphine Galou, Marianna Pizzolato, Luigi De Donato; Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi
Naïve OP 7079
112:10 mins (2 discs)

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‘The bass Luigi De Donato is a youthful Emperor and Emőke Baráth‘s Argippa sounds more satisfying as the plot curdles, with thrilling top notes, callisthenic coloratura and deep dives into the chest register. Of the women characters Delphine Galou’s Zanaida gets the pick of the arias in a recording that is bright and lets the singers lead, which is as it should be.’

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Willem Jeths: Ritratto

Verity Wingate, Martin Mkhize, Frederik Bergman, Paride Cataldo, Dominic Kraemer, Lucas van Lierop, Cameron Shahbazi; Dutch National Opera; Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Geoffrey Paterson
Challenge CC 72849   88:24 mins

‘Jeths’s story about the meaning and purpose of art is a powerful and accomplished piece of music theatre. His own post-modernist style helps, with fragments of Ravel’s La Valse, hints of Tristan and Salome, and even Tchaikovsky’s letter scene drifting through a comfortably tonal score. It’s invidious to single out individuals from the young cast, many of them members of the Dutch National Opera Studio, but Verity Wingate is compelling as Luisa, and Paride Cataldo’s posturing D’Annunzio all but steals the show. Laurels, too, for Geoffrey Patterson who conducts the Amsterdam Sinfonietta with complete conviction.’

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