Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics April 2010 releases

Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia
Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / Antonio Pappano
DVD available April 20 from Virgin Classics

“If you’re new to the composer’s delights, DiDonato’s [Rossini arias album] is the place to start: today’s gold standard.” – Time Out New York 

The story of mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato’s wheelchair-bound performances last summer as Rosina in Rossini’s beloved Il barbiere di Siviglia at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is already the stuff of legend.  Now, this once-in-a-lifetime production – DiDonato’s pink cast and all – is immortalized in a new DVD from Virgin Classics, complete with a bonus-feature interview with the Kansas native, who tells the story of her “wheelchair Barber” with characteristic wit and irresistible warmth.

DiDonato’s embodiment of Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere has been celebrated around the world, having been seen by millions in opera houses, international broadcasts, and high-definition transmissions, including one from New York’s Metropolitan Opera.  But her most famous turn as Rosina came last June after she broke one of her legs in a slip on stage.  In a story relayed by media across the globe, DiDonato kept singing after breaking her leg during a performance of Barbiere at London’s Covent Garden.  Although she was in pain, DiDonato continued the evening’s performance with a cane – and was then whisked to the hospital.  She finished the run of shows wearing a bright pink cast while navigating the set in a wheelchair – and winning hearts as a peerless trouper.

Even before the fateful fall, the all-star cast of this production, as heard on the new DVD, was destined to give a great performance.  Joining DiDonato are Juan Diego Flórez, the world’s reigning bel canto tenor; Alessandro Corbelli, a buffo baritone who brings subtlety and edge to the traditional comic antics; and Ferruccio Furlanetto, who demonstrates that a supreme interpreter of Verdi’s tortured King Phillip can also have a sense of humor.  Conducting is the Royal Opera’s Music Director, Antonio Pappano, who has led many complete operas for EMI Classics and who – though born in London – literally has the Italian style in his blood.  The production is directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier.

Singing from a wheelchair presented obvious challenges, particularly in such a physical production, but also some unexpected benefits for DiDonato.  As she related to London’s Evening Standard, “I got introduced to my wheelchair at about five o’clock and had just half an hour of preparation onstage beforehand.  In the story, Rosina is caged; the beautiful thing is that tonight that became something quite literal: I felt trapped in the wheelchair.  That helped dramatically.  This was one of the most thrilling nights I’ve ever spent in the theater.”

In a recent profile of DiDonato for the New York Times, Matthew Gurewitsch previewed the new DVD release:

“Online, the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato calls herself ‘Yankee Diva’, one hopes with tongue in cheek.  (You can visit her at  While the characterization suggests some of her pluck and gumption, it leaves untouched her sensitivity, grace, and kaleidoscopic sense of fantasy.  The whole package came into play last July 4 in London, at the season premiere of Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House, when Ms. DiDonato slipped and fractured a fibula midway through the first act, grabbed a crutch, and finished the show to a standing ovation.  Though for the rest of the run her Rosina used a wheelchair, the public was not shortchanged at all.  A DVD recorded at the time, to be released in April, documents Ms. DiDonato living her character in every tilt of the chin and toss of the head, hurling glances like darts (and actual darts like thunderbolts).  No less vivid are the patter of the dialogue, the elegance of the melodic lines, her flair in the cascades of coloratura.”

Last October, Virgin Classics released DiDonato’s Rossini arias album, Colbran the Muse, to thunderous acclaim.  An instant bestseller, the album was designated “Best Classical CD of 2009” by New Yorker critic Alex Ross.  Opera News named Colbran as its “Critic’s Choice” pick for January 2010, observing, “With her sure sense of line and color, DiDonato takes possession of the repertory, mining every musical and vocal gesture to inhabit each character confidently.”

It’s more Rossini for DiDonato this spring and summer, as she returns to Europe in May and June for another role debut, portraying Elena in two productions of the composer’s La donna del lago.  After debuting in the role at Switzerland’s Grand Théatre de Genève (May 5-17), she reprises Elena a few weeks later at the Opéra National de Paris, where she sings alongside tenor Juan Diego Flórez (June 14-30).  Finally, after reprising her Italian love songs program in Paris on June 16 with pianist David Zobel, DiDonato will travel to Italy to resume her signature Rosina in a production of Il barbiere di Siviglia at Milan’s storied Teatro alla Scala (July 9-23).

Chopin: Nocturnes
Yundi, piano
Two-CD set and downloads available April 20 from EMI Classics

“Yundi Li, the brilliant young Chinese pianist … has proved a technically astounding pianist who is by turns elegant and rambunctious, coolly expressive and white hot.” – New York Times

In his EMI Classics debut release, 28-year-old Chinese pianist Yundi (formerly known as Yundi Li) releases the complete Chopin Nocturnes to commemorate the composer’s 200th birthday in 2010.  The music of Chopin has been central to Yundi’s young yet already extraordinary career, and the new recording is the first in a projected complete cycle for EMI Classics of the composer’s works for solo piano.  Next month, Yundi will celebrate the bicentennial with an all-Chopin recital at New York’s Carnegie Hall (Thursday, May 20).  A video of Yundi playing Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 is available at this link:

Yundi was born in Chongqing, People’s Republic of China in 1982.  His musical career began with the accordion at the age of four and in 1987 he won first prize at the Chongqing Children’s Accordion Competition.  At the age of seven he took up the piano and began studies with Dan Zhao Yi, one of China’s most renowned piano teachers; he already had ambitions of becoming a professional pianist.  At just 18, Yundi became one of the youngest pianists to win first prize at the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, held in Warsaw in 2000.  Following the competition, Yundi was quickly catapulted onto the international stage.  His recitals and appearances with orchestras in Europe, Asia, and the United States have been hailed by critics who extol his precise, crystalline technique, keyboard fluidity, and boundless enthusiasm.  His personality and artistry appeal to audiences of all ages and he is an icon in his native China, where he has inspired millions of young people, who refer to him as the “Prince of the Piano.”  An extensive CNN “Talk Asia” profile of Yundi is available at this link: 


Via Crucis
L’Arpeggiata / Christina Pluhar
Philippe Jaroussky, Nuria Rial, Barbara Furtuna
CD and downloads available April 20 from Virgin Classics

“Roll over, Monteverdi – it is a long time since classical music has held so many surprises or taken such a broad view.” – Der Spiegel, review of L’Arpeggiata’s debut album for Virgin Classics

 Mediterranean passion – of a religious nature – inspires L’Arpeggiata’s new collection, an encounter between works by the 17th-century Italian composers Sances and Merula and traditional music from Italy and Corsica.

Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross) is the second Virgin Classics album from L’Arpeggiata, the dynamic French-based ensemble directed by Austrian-born harpist and lutenist Christina Pluhar.  Its Virgin Classics debut release, Teatro d’amore, was a program inspired by Monteverdi, blending instruments and voices, the written score and improvisation, in a kind of sublime Baroque jam session.  Figaro magazine observed, “L’Arpeggiata invests Monteverdi with a dazzling array of vocal and instrumental colors.  A touch of improvisation raises the singing to an incandescent level… . A unique distillation of explosive vitality.”

L’Arpeggiata has made a specialty of exploring and exploiting the close links between Baroque repertoire and the traditional music of the Latin world and its characteristic forms such as the tarantella, the folia, or the canario.  In this new collection, the focus is on the pervasive presence of religious feeling in Southern Europe.

Featured on Via Crucis is an impressive line-up of Baroque stars including Nuria Rial, Philippe Jaroussky, and the male vocal quartet Barbara Furtuna (Corsican Choir), whose earthy but highly-disciplined sonorities evoke centuries of Mediterranean culture.

Founded in 2000, L’Arpeggiata’s members are some of the leading European soloists in their field.  The group’s particular focus is on French, Italian, and Neapolitan music of the 17th century and it works with often daring instrumental improvisations, exploiting rich textures created by blending a variety of plucked instruments, and a vocal style influenced by traditional music.


Martha Argerich and Friends: Live from the Lugano Festival 2009
Martha Argerich, piano
With Sergio Tiempo, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, and other artists
Three-CD set and downloads available April 6 from EMI Classics

EMI Classics is pleased to release the latest installment of highlights from the Martha Argerich Project at the Lugano Festival.  This is the seventh annual three-CD set celebrating the musical fruits of a project in which young artists join seasoned performers, including Argerich, to explore wide-ranging chamber music and orchestral repertoire, both well known and rarely heard.  This three-CD set, recorded in the summer of 2009, is being released in anticipation of the Festival’s 2010 season in June.

 In addition to the inimitable Argerich, the performers include familiar names from previous Live from the Lugano Festival releases, among them EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists Sergio Tiempo and Renaud and Gautier Capuçon.  They are joined by pianists Karin Lechner, Lilya Zilberstein, Alexander Mogilewsky, Kathia Buniatishvili, Daniel and Anton Gerzenberg, Polina Leschenko, Cristina Marton; and Mauricio Vallina; violinists Lucy Hall, Alissa Margulis, Dora Schwarzberg, Géza Hosszu-Legocky, and Lucia Hall; violists Lyda Chen and Nora Romanoff-Schwarzberg; cellists Mark Dobrinsky and Jorge Bosso; and double-bass player Enrico Fagone.

The repertoire in the new collection has a distinctly romantic flavor and includes several rarities.  Featured composers include Robert Schumann (Phantasiestücke, Op. 88), Mendelssohn (music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Piano Sextet in D, Op. 110), Bartók (Violin Sonata No. 2), Glinka (Grand Sextet in E-flat), De Falla (Noches en los jardines de España), Ravel (Rapsodie espagnole, arranged for two pianos by the composer), and Bloch (Piano Quintet No. 1).

Few artists have nurtured and promoted emerging young musicians with the level of personal commitment shown by Martha Argerich.  In the process, she has mixed established with up-and-coming artists to create inspired and inspirational chamber music partnerships.  A legend in her own lifetime for her technical mastery and passionate artistry, Argerich possesses an infectious spirit that has fired her own performances and partnerships as well as those of her colleagues and protégés. 


Fantasy – A Night at the Opera
Emmanuel Pahud, flute
With Juliette Hurel, flute
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
CD and downloads available April 6 from EMI Classics

Following forays into the modern, with Dalbavie and Pintscher, and into the Baroque, with Bach’s complete sonatas, Emmanuel Pahud now pairs up with the exciting young Canadian conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, for a program of virtuoso transcriptions based on operatic themes.  Night at the Opera features variations on Carmen, the Magic Flute, Rigoletto, and others, coupled with some of opera’s familiar flute solos, including the Entr’acte from Carmen and Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from Orfeo ed Euridice.  Also included is Lensky’s aria from Eugene Onegin, arranged by Guy Braunstein.  Juliette Hurel, Principal Flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, joins Pahud in the works for two flutes.

Pahud provides some background about the repertoire featured on the recording:

“In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a tradition of salon music because people did not have CD or MP3 players as we have nowadays.  They had no access to the Internet or the radio so they would have to have transcriptions in order to hear this music in their homes.  While Mozart was writing his Magic Flute, there were already people who, when they were rehearsing it in the theater, were writing down the music and arranging it for duets and quartets so they could play it, like a jukebox, at home.  Then in the 19th century the music became more virtuosic, because the instruments had developed and, while there was Paganini on the violin and Liszt on the piano, there were people like Doppler, Boehm, Krakamp, and Taffanel developing the flute and repertoire for the flute in various countries.  And they wrote transcriptions and very virtuosic pieces with lots of notes in them for the new, improved flute made of metal and with keys.

“All the pieces on this album have been transcribed or were written in a version for flute and piano in the 19th century, apart from two.  One of these is Lensky’s aria, arranged as a fantasy for violin and piano by our Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster Guy Braunstein.  As a present, he made a flute version of that transcription for me.  I had the idea of adding it to this collection of opera favorites in an orchestration that reinstates the original sound of Tchaikovsky in the orchestra.  The other piece that is more recent is the variations on Die Zauberflöte.  I had to include The Magic Flute in this collection.  But I did not know of any satisfying version until I discovered this one on a recording by a Belgian colleague.  It turns out it had been composed for him by a friend as a birthday surprise.”

Excerpts from the album and commentary about it by Pahud is available at EMI Classics YouTube Channel:

Emmanuel Pahud is one of today’s most exciting and adventurous musicians.  Principal Flute of the Berlin Philharmonic since the age of 22, with the exception of an 18-month sabbatical, Pahud has also appeared as soloist with many of the world’s other leading orchestras under such conductors as Abbado, Rattle, Zinman, Maazel, Gergiev, Gardiner, Harding, Järvi, Pinnock, Jordan, and the late Mstislav Rostropovich.  As a recitalist, Pahud collaborates with Éric Le Sage, Yefim Bronfman, and Hélène Grimaud and he performs jazz with Jacky Terrasson.  Pahud appears regularly at the major festivals in Europe, North America, and the Far East.


CD and downloads available April 6 from EMI Classics

“They come from the mean streets of south London but sing like little angels.” – Evening Standard (UK)

Familiar to audiences across the world, the boys of the choral group Libera have a stunningly original sound, which is at once both ancient and modern.  Their distinctive flowing white robes symbolize the traditional origins of their style – yet their music reaches across the generations to a new mainstream audience.  Libera’s success in album charts around the world bears witness to the extraordinary appeal of this unique “boy band”.  Enchanting audiences wherever it goes, the group has attracted an enthusiastic fan base in many countries, particularly the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, and also, this year, the Philippines.

Coinciding with a tour of Japan in April 2010, Libera returns with its new studio album, Peace.  The release follows the success of Libera’s best-selling albums Angel Voices, Free, Visions, and New Dawn.  Each CD has been characterized by the ensemble’s distinctive celestial, shimmering sound with mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies.  The program of the new release comprises songs drawn from plainsong and traditional hymns, based on themes by Mozart, Saint-Saëns, César Franck, Chopin, John Rutter, and Robert Prizeman.

Libera’s founder, the composer/arranger/conductor Robert Prizeman, said, “It is a great privilege to work regularly with the young singers of Libera, an honor to play a part in their musical development, to be fired up and challenged by their talent, bubbling enthusiasm, and freshness.  Each new Libera album offers me unique opportunities to write and arrange music to suit the particular sounds and talents of the current group of boys.  The writing and arranging responds to the singers and vice versa – there is a mutual inspiration.”

The name Libera comes from the band’s signature song based on the “Libera Me” portion of the Requiem mass.  The boys who make up Libera are aged between seven and fourteen, come from a variety of backgrounds, and attend local schools.  “Normal” boys who still love to play soccer, skateboard, and listen to R’n’B and punk music, through their involvement in Libera they have traveled the world, recorded movie soundtracks and CDs, and served as backing singers to Elton John, Björk, and Pavarotti.  But, as one of the boys said, “The travelling and filming is fun but even if we didn’t go anywhere I’d still want to do it because I just love singing.”  That joy of singing comes across clearly in their performances and on their recordings.

In the US Libera is known through its concert tours and TV appearances including a nationwide PBS special filmed in Holland.  The boys performed a tribute to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 before an audience that included President George W. Bush and celebrities including Robert de Niro, Cameron Diaz, Diana Ross, and Steve Martin.  Libera also participated in a Papal Mass at the climax of Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to the USA in 2008 at New York’s Yankee Stadium before a capacity congregation of 65,000.  In 2009, Libera toured the US with dates in, among others, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and Disneyland. The boys’ performance on the “Hour of Power” was transmitted via television and Internet to an audience of millions around the world. 


Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore
Rolando Villazón, tenor
With Maria Bayo, Jean-Luc Chaignaud, Bruno Praticò, Cristina Obregón
Orchestre et choeur du Grand Théatre du Liceu / Daniele Callegari
DVD available April 6 from Virgin Classics

When Donizetti’s comedy, updated to the mid-20th century by the Uruguayan-born director Mario Gas, was mounted at Barcelona’s magnificent Liceu opera house in 2005, Opera News wrote: “The absolute hit of the production was … Rolando Villazón, a commanding, vulnerable, and hilarious Nemorino.  His stage presence dominated every scene he was in … [and] his lovable innocence was a joy to behold.   Villazón’s perfect technique and creamy, malleable voice conquered the audience… . His athletic and expressive body language – midway between Cantinflas and Mr. Bean – fits this role and this production perfectly.”  The Mexican tenor, making his debut at the Liceu, was called upon to encore the opera’s most famous aria, the plaintive “Una furtiva lagrima.”

Rolando Villazón can already be seen and heard as Nemorino on another Virgin Classics DVD, released in 2006.  His partners in that more traditionally rustic production from Vienna were Anna Netrebko, Leo Nucci and Ildebrando d’Arcangelo; here they are Spanish soprano Maria Bayo as the wealthy and capricious Adina, Italian baritone Bruno Praticò as Dulcamara, the peddler of the so-called elixir of love – in fact just red wine in disguise – and French baritone Jean-Luc Chaignaud as the swaggering sergeant Belcore.


Handel: Mezzo-Soprano Opera Arias
Max Emanuel Cencic, countertenor
I Barocchisti / Diego Fasolis
CD and downloads available April 6 from Virgin Classics
“Cencic is gifted with the most beautiful countertenor voice of our time.” – Opernwelt [Germany]

After his foray into the early Romantic era – heroic arias written for female mezzo-sopranos to perform in male disguise – Max Emanuel Cencic returns to core countertenor repertoire with this all-Handel album.  The program features arias taken from a variety of operas and other vocal works and includes two of the composer’s best-loved arias: the dynamic “Dopo notte” from Ariodante and the poignant “Cara speme” from Giulio Cesare.  When Cencic performed the role of Sesto in Giulio Cesare on stage in Toulouse in 2006, ResMusica described him as a “true phenomenon.”

Handel retains a prominent position in Cencic’s performance schedule.  Among operas by the composer that he has performed are Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano, Fernando, Serse, Ottone, and Faramondo.  His complete Virgin Classics recording of Faramondo was designated a Diapason “Découverte” in March 2009, also being selected as Gramophone’s “Editor’s Choice” in July 2009.  Britain’s Daily Telegraph observed, “The cast is notable for the flamboyant contributions of the impressive young countertenors Max Emanuel Cencic (in the title role) and Philippe Jaroussky.  Strongly recommended.”

Cencic discusses the new album on a video available at this link:

Cencic was born in Croatia and currently resides in Austria.  From 1987 to 1992 he was a member of the famed Vienna Boys’ Choir.  He made his debut as a countertenor in 2001 and has since performed with leading conductors and ensembles including William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.  Among the many highlights this season was his debut at the Vienna Staatsoper.  Reviewing his debut solo album for Virgin Classics, an all-Rossini collection, Gramophone reported, “The singing of Viennese countertenor Max Emmanuel Cencic is distinguished by good rhythm, crisp divisions, and clear, expressive word use.  The range these roles require sits comfortably on his voice… . Cencic’s musicianship is generally impeccable.”

Track list

1.  Imeneo: “Sorge nell’alma mia”
2.  Floridante: “Alma mia”
3.  Arianna in Creta: “Salda quercia in erta balza”
4.  Tamerlano: “Ben che mi sprezzi”
5.  Serse: “Se bramate”
6.  Amadigi di Gaula: “Pena tiranna”
7.  Arianna in Creta: “Qual leon”
8.  Parnasso in festa: “Non tardate fauni”
9.  Agrippina: “Come nube di fugge”
10. Radamisto: “Ombra cara”
11. Orlando: “Verdi allori”
12. Parnasso in festa: “Lunga seria, d’altri eroi”

Special compilations, boxed sets, and reissues

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: The Great EMI Recordings
Celebrating the 85th birthday of the legendary German baritone
Eleven-CD set available April 6 from EMI Classics

Since the 1950s, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has defined the art of Lieder singing.  This eleven-CD set brings together his landmark recordings for EMI, among them the song cycles of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, and Mahler.  While his partnership with Gerald Moore forms its foundation, Richter, Sawallisch, and Barenboim also number among his pianists in this collection.  The set includes a bonus audio documentary entitled “Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: Song and Art.”  The eleventh CD contains ten special tracks consisting of extracts from two interviews with the legendary baritone made by famed producer Jon Tolansky.  While portions of the interviews have been published, much of the material on this disc has never been heard before.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was born in Berlin on May 28, 1925.  To many, he was considered the greatest Lieder singer of the 20th century, setting new standards and influencing a whole generation.  He was greatly admired for his interpretive insights and the note-perfect control of the tonal qualities and shadings of his voice.  He was notable, too, for his exceptional rhythmic sense and incisive diction (sometimes, critics asserted, at the expense of an ideally smooth legato vocal line).  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau ended his more than 45 years of concert activity at the beginning of 1993.  He made his unannounced farewell to public performance with his participation in a gala concert at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich on December 31, 1992.  Since that time he has kept himself fully occupied as a teacher, conductor, reciter, and author.


CD 1.   Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, etc.
CD 2.   Schubert: Winterreise, etc.
CD 3.   Schubert: Schwanengesang, etc.
CD 4.   Schubert: Popular Lieder
CD 5.   Schumann: Liederkreis, Opp. 24 & 39, etc.
CD 6.   Brahms: Die schöne Magelone, etc.
CD 7.   Mahler: Rückert-Lieder, etc.
CD 8.   Wolf: Popular Lieder
CD 9.   Richard Strauss: Popular Lieder
CD 10. Loewe, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Liszt, and Cornelius
CD 11. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau – Thoughts and Observations


Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: Recordings from the Archives
Songs by Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart
Four-CD set and downloads available April 6 from EMI Classics

This four-CD collection features rare recordings made between 1959 and 1984, appearing for the first time on CD, by one of the 20th century’s most questing and influential singers.  Many songs by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven remain surprisingly little known, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau explores them in the company of superb and familiar accompanists.

Fischer-Dieskau was born in Berlin on May 28, 1925 to parents who were both academics.  He sang as a child but only started vocal lessons at the age of 16.  Two years later he was drafted into the army after completing his secondary school studies and spending a semester at the Berlin Conservatoire.  He was taken prisoner in Italy in 1945 and spent two years as an American prisoner of war, during which time he sang Lieder.  On return to Germany, a major soloist’s indisposition gave Fischer-Dieskau a chance to sing in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, which he took despite having no opportunity to rehearse.  He gave his first Lieder recital in Leipzig in autumn 1947, and his successful concert debut at Berlin’s Titania Palast followed soon afterwards.

The next year, opera beckoned with an engagement as principal lyric baritone at Berlin’s State Opera and guest appearances in Vienna and Munich.  Concert tours to France, Italy, and the Netherlands brought Fischer-Dieskau to the notice of those beyond the German-speaking world.  At 26 he sang Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Wilhelm Furtwängler at the Salzburg Festival, in the same year that he made his debut in Britain, singing Delius’s Mass of Life with Sir Thomas Beecham.  That year also marked the beginning of a long association with piano accompanist Gerald Moore.  In his book Am I too loud?, Moore recalls how Fischer-Dieskau “had only to sing one phrase before I knew I was in the presence of a master.”  Although opera continued to form a significant part of the singer’s career, with regular appearances at the festivals of Bayreuth (1954-61), Salzburg (1956 – early 1970s), and others, he also made valuable contributions to choral music, and it is felicitous that he committed to disc his Elijah and Paulus from Mendelssohn’s oratorios and his deeply-felt Christus of the Bach Passions.  However, in the final analysis, it is for Lieder (or art songs) that Fischer-Dieskau will always be primarily remembered

He had an indefatigable desire to discover the entire range of the Lied, particularly those employing great poetry.  It was not just a case of performing the greats – Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Wolf, and Richard Strauss – but of inspiring a new generation of composers to express themselves in setting the written word.  One of the modern masters who answered his call was Britten, who also created a major role for Fischer-Dieskau in his War Requiem, and wrote Songs and Proverbs of William Blake with the singer’s distinctive baritone in mind; others have included Barber, Henze, and Lutoslawski.

Fischer-Dieskau retired from singing in 1992, since when he has conducted, written, and painted.  Through his teaching, however, he continues to pass on his legacy – his supreme tonal quality, remarkable sound palette, exceptional rhythmic sense, and impeccable diction – to a new generation, and, through his recordings, he bequeaths it to generations still to come.


Five new titles
Two-CD sets and downloads available April 6 from EMI Classics

EMI Classics’ popular GEMINI series showcases recordings by singers, conductors, soloists, and ensembles of international renown, all drawn from the incomparable EMI Classics catalogue.  EMI’s rich legacy of recording expertise comes to the fore in performances from the 1960s to the 1990s, with each title focusing predominantly on collections dedicated to single composers.  Their quality and value makes them the ideal place to start or to develop a collection of classical music, with each set containing over two hours of music for a fantastically low price.  Each two-CD set is attractively designed and packaged in space-saving brilliant boxes with accompanying three-language booklets.  The sung texts for vocal releases will not be printed in the booklet, but are available for download on the GEMINI mini site within the EMI Classics main site at

This month’s release of five GEMINI titles will bring the total number in the series to 195.  All-time sales are now approaching half-a-million worldwide.  As with previous GEMINI releases, this installment includes many recordings new to CD, as well as recordings that have been transferred from Double Forte.  All are single-composer releases, and fantastic value with well over an hour of music on each CD.

Featured performers this month include such luminaries as Yehudi Menuhin, Leonard Bernstein, and Riccardo Muti, with all tracks digitally remastered to the highest standards at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios.

Bach: Orchestral Suites & Other Concertos
Yehudi Menuhin, Bath Festival Orchestra

Bloch: Orchestral and Choral Works, etc.
Yehudi Menuhin, Neville Marriner, Leonard Bernstein, Maurice Abravanel

Busoni: Piano Concerto; Turandot Suite, etc.
Riccardo Muti, John Orgon, Thomas Adès, Daniell Revenaugh, Frederik Prausnitz

Buxtehude: Organ Works
Lionel Rogg
Strauss: Tone Poems
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Klaus Tennstedt
Opera 2010
Various artists
Two-CD set and downloads available April 6 from EMI Classics

Following the enormous success of the album OPERA 2009, EMI Classics releases OPERA 2010.  With 40 tracks, and over two and a half hours of operatic arias and duets, this double album features the best and most popular names in opera from the catalogues of both Virgin Classics and EMI Classics.

The all-star line up includes an array of superstars and fast-rising young artists of today (including Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Sarah Brightman, Jessye Norman, Plácido Domingo, Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Elina Garanca, Vivica Genaux, and Philippe Jaroussky) as well as tracks by some of the world’s greatest singers of the past (such as Victoria de los Ángeles, Teresa Berganza, Mirella Freni, Lucia Popp, Franco Corelli, Luciano Pavarotti, and Maria Callas).


EMI Classics – The Home of Opera
16 new titles
Specially-priced multiple-CD sets and downloads available April 20 from EMI Classics

With an unrivaled catalogue of over 450 complete opera recordings produced over the last 60 years – and an illustrious succession of artists that today includes such names as Angela Gheorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Joyce DiDonato, Roberto Alagna, Antonio Pappano, and Alan Curtis – EMI Classics, with its sister label Virgin Classics, can rightly claim to be the “Home of Opera”.

This spring, 16 timeless operas join EMI’s “Home of Opera” series including Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Verdi’s Otello, and Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.  A list of titles follows below.

Among the first 25 releases in the series now available – essential sets produced since 1953 by EMI Classics and Virgin Classics – are such all-time great recordings as Maria Callas in her first Tosca; Fidelio conducted by Otto Klemperer; Der Rosenkavalier, starring Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and conducted by Herbert von Karajan; and Plácido Domingo in Don Carlo under Carlo Maria Giulini.

From the 21st century come Tristan und Isolde with Plácido Domingo, Nina Stemme, and René Pape conducted by Antonio Pappano; Dido and Aeneas, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm with Susan Graham, Ian Bostridge, and David Daniels; and Natalie Dessay and Roberto Alagna in Lucie de Lammermoor.

Each CD multipack contains a 16-page booklet with introductions in English, German, French, and Spanish and a bonus disc containing synopsis and libretto with translations

Further information is available at



Tullio Serafin; Maria Callas; Giuseppe di Stefano, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Rolando Panerai


Bernard Haitink; Anthony Rolfe Johnson; Felicity Lott; Thomas Allen


Daniel Harding; Joan Rodgers; Ian Bostridge; Jane Henschel; Vivian Tierney; Julian Leang; Caroline Wise


Otto Ackermann; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf; Nicolai Gedda; Erich Kunz; Emmy Loose; Otakar Kraus


Antonio Pappano; Angela Gheorghiu; Roberto Alagna; Earle Patriarco; José Van Dam


André Cluytens; Nicolai Gedda; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf; Gianna D’Angelo; Victoria de los Ángeles; Nicola Ghiuselev; George London; Ernest Blanc


Herbert von Karajan; Maria Callas; Nicolai Gedda; Lucia Danieli; Mario Borriello


Tullio Serafin; Maria Callas; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf; Eugenio Fernandi; Nicola Zaccaria


Alceo Galliera; Maria Callas; Tito Gobbi; Luigi Alva


Franz Welser-Möst; James Conlon; Natalie Dessay; Anthony Rolfe Johnson; Marjana Lipovsek


Riccardo Muti; Matteo Manuguerra; Renata Scotto; Elena Obraztsova; Veriano Luchetti; Nicolai Ghiaurov


Herbert von Karajan; Jon Vickers; Mirella Freni; Peter Glossop


Tullio Serafin; Maria Callas; Tito Gobbi; Giuseppe di Stefano


Fabio Biondi; Ildebrando D’Arcangelo; David Daniels; Patrizia Ciofi; Vivica Genaux; Marijana Mijanovic; Elina Garanca


Rudolf Kempe; Jess Thomas; Elisabeth Grümmer; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau; Christa Ludwig; Gottlob Frick; Otto Wiener


Otto Klemperer; Theo Adam; Anja Silja; Martti Talvela; Gerhard Unger; Ernst Kozub; Annelies Burmeister


Hit Men: The Greatest Voices of Our Time
Various artists
Two-for-the-price-of-one CD set and downloads available April 20 from EMI Classics

Everyone needs a Godfather to look up to, and today’s crop of young singers need only review the pantheon of greats that came before them for inspiration.  Playing off that idea, Hit Men – The Greatest Voices of Our Time brings together a “who’s who” of legendary singers – the Godfathers of Opera – in a collection of unforgettable opera arias and Neapolitan Songs.

Among the heavy-hitters in this 38-track hit-fest are the legendary Luciano Pavarotti (King of the High Cs), Enrico Caruso (the Greatest of them All), and Robert Merrill (the Voice of the NY Yankees!), along with Plácido Domingo, Beniamino Gigli, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Franco Corelli, and José Carreras to name but a few.  These are truly THE GODFATHERS OF OPERA, performing all the favorites that they themselves made famous.

Highlights include “Nessun dorma,” “O sole mio,” “La donna è mobile,” and “Vesti la giubba,” as well as an incredible remastering of “Funiculì, Funiculà” sung by the great Beniamino Gigli, Pavarotti’s greatest influence, that must be heard to be believed.

The eye-catching, tongue-in-cheek cover artwork – based on the famous Godfather movie logo – should make this generously-filled and extraordinarily well-priced (two CDs for the price of one) collection an offer that no music lover can refuse.


EMI Classics and Virgin Classics: artists on tour – spring 2010

April 7-21
Angela Gheorghiu: Verdi’s La traviata
Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)
April 7-10
Antonio Pappano conducts the New York Philharmonic
Avery Fisher Hall (New York, NY)
April 9 & 10
Ingrid Fliter: Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2
Austin Symphony / Peter Bay (Austin, TX)

April 9-11
Piotr Anderszewski: Szymanowski’s Symphonie Concertante
Philadelphia Orchestra / Dutoit at Kimmel Center (Philadelphia, PA)

April 13
Piotr Anderszewski: Szymanowski’s Symphonie Concertante
Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)

April 15-18
Ingrid Fliter: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K. 488
Minnesota Orchestra / Karabits (Minneapolis, MN)
April 25
Ingrid Fliter: Recital
Kupferberg Center, Queens College (Queens, NY)

April 29 – May 1
Ingrid Fliter: Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Nashville Symphony / Guerrero (Nashville, TN)

April 30 – May 14
David Daniels: Handel’s Xerxes
Houston Grand Opera (Houston, TX)

May 1 & 2
Piotr Anderszewski with Belcea Quartet: Szymanowski, Janácek, and Bartók
Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)

May 5
Ingrid Fliter: Recital
Gilmore Festival (Kalamazoo, MI)
May 5-8 
David Fray: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 19
San Francisco Symphony / Eschenbach (San Francisco, CA)
May 6
Ingrid Fliter: Recital
St. Cecillia Music (Grand Rapids, MI)
May 9
Ingrid Fliter: Recital
The Town Hall (New York, NY)
May 14, 18, & 21
Thomas Adès’s Violin Concerto
New York City Ballet (New York, NY)
May 19, 22, 24, 27, 30; June 1, & 4
Diana Damrau is Ophélie in Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet
Washington Opera (Washington, DC)
May 20
Yundi: all-Chopin recital
Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)


For further information:

Visit EMI Classics’ YouTube Channel for video previews of many of its new and recent releases:


Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: (212) 625-2038,  [email protected]

Mariko Tada, EMI Music: (212) 786-8964,  [email protected]

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© 21C Media Group, April 2010

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