Press Room

EMI Classics & Virgin Classics March releases

This month Virgin Classics presents a new release from L’Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar. On Los Pájaros Perdidos (“The Lost Birds”), they take a characteristically genre-bending tour of Latin America with a program that will also help launch their upcoming Carnegie Hall residency. Another highlight of the label’s March 2012 offerings is a new recital album from superstar French soprano Natalie Dessay. Debussy: Clair de lune celebrates the 150th anniversary of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) with a collection of rarities by the composer including world-premiere recordings of four unpublished songs. The soprano presented a similar program at her Wigmore Hall debut earlier this month, for which the Guardian observed: “Dessay could hardly have chosen better vehicles.” Dessay also guest stars – along with a host of other preeminent singers, from Anne Sofie von Otter to Rolando Villazón – on Une Fête Baroque, the tenth anniversary concert of Le Concert d’Astrée and Emmanuelle Haïm. Full details of these new titles follow below, along with a preview of Virgin’s upcoming April DVD release of Verdi’s La traviata, recorded live at the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival, which stars the versatile Natalie Dessay.
Los Pájaros Perdidos
L’Arpeggiata / Christina Pluhar
CD and downloads available March 13 from Virgin Classics 
“Crossover of the highest quality, from performers who recognize no boundaries in 400 years of music. Magical results, from the meanest ingredients, and it ought to be available on prescription.”
BBC Music
A thrilling and arresting fusion of musical styles and techniques is a trademark of lutenist/ harpist Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata, her instrumental and vocal ensemble. On Los Pájaros Perdidos (“The Lost Birds”), their fourth album for Virgin Classics, Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata train their attention on music from South America. They bring their vibrant, genre-bending sound to music tracing the Latin American tradition from its roots in pre-Columbian and African rhythms, through Spain to Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Venezuela. From the title track – composed by “King of Tango” Astor Piazzolla, and featuring the vocals of renowned French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky – to works made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club (“Pájarillo Verde”) and Cesaria Evora (“Besame Mucho”), Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata continue to broaden their musical horizons on this exuberant, joyful disc.
The ensemble offers an array of exotic stringed instruments along with percussion, trumpet and clarinet. The vocal parts are taken by Jaroussky and Italian singer Lucilla Galeazzi, who both featured on L’Arpeggiata’s 2010 Mediterranean-themed album Via Crucis; Chilean-Swedish mezzo-soprano Luciana Mancini, heard on L’Arpeggiata’s recording of the Monteverdi Vespers; Spanish soprano Raquel Andueza; and the Neapolitan-trained ballet dancer-turned-singer Vincenzo Capezzuto, who brings his haunting alto tones to several numbers. There are virtuosic guest instrumentalists too: Raúl Orellana, from Chile on the charango, the Paraguayan harpist Lincoln Almada, and the Argentinian guitarist Quito Gato.
Immediately following the U.S. release of Los Pájaros Perdidos, L’Arpeggiata travels to New York City to become the first early-music group to participate in Carnegie Hall’s prestigious “Perspectives” series. Over a four-concert residency, L’Arpeggiata presents material from each of its albums, with the opening concert on March 14 including selections from Los Pájaros Perdidos. L’Arpeggiata will also perform at the Library of Congress on March 19 (see tour details below).
The review website gave L’Arpeggiata’s 2010 Virgin Classics release, Via Crucis, its top rating, ten out of ten for both artistic and sound quality, noting: “L’Arpeggiata’s calling card is to combine historically informed performances with jazz – and in this case, folk-based music – and it is amazing how staggeringly well it works. Utter purists in any faction may whine, but listen to the music: it’s moving, fascinating, and invariably beautiful.”
Click here to watch Luciana Mancini and L’Arpeggiata perform “Montilla” from Los Pájaros Perdidos, and click here to see Philippe Jaroussky perform the album’s title track.
Track listing:
1. Duerme negrito
2. Alfonsina y el mar
3. Montilla
4. Pájaro campana
5. Los pájaros perdidos
6. Pájarillo verde
7. Isla Sacá
8. La embarazada del viento
9. Zamba para no morir
10. ¡ Ay ! este azul
11. El curruchá
12: Caballo Viejo & Alma Llanera
13. La cocoroba
14. Zamba del Chaguanco
15. Como un pájaro libre
16. Como la cigarra
17. Ojito de Agua
18. Polo margariteño
19. Fandango
20. Besame mucho
Debussy: Clair de lune
Natalie Dessay, soprano; Philippe Cassard, piano
CD and downloads available March 13 from Virgin Classics
“The leading French soprano has finally made her Wigmore Hall debut. With a program of French song focusing on Debussy,…Natalie Dessay could hardly have chosen better vehicles.”
Guardian (UK), March 2012
Two leading French performers – superstar soprano Natalie Dessay and pianist Philippe Cassard – come together in vocal works composed early in the career of Claude Debussy, whose 150th anniversary falls in 2012. Debussy: Clair de lune includes world premiere recordings of four unpublished songs inspired by the young composer’s love for the soprano wife of one of his patrons.
“Debussy specialist” (Guardian) Cassard wrote to Natalie Dessay after being profoundly impressed by her interpretation of Mélisande, as seen on the Virgin Classics DVD of Debussy’s opera, Pelléas et Mélisande. He suggested she would be perfect for a series of songs the composer had written around the age of 20. As Cassard recounts:
“At the time, Debussy was very much in love with Marie Vasnier, an older woman married to a man who helped Debussy at the beginning of his career. She was a light soprano and he composed some 40 songs for her, to poems by Bourget, Banville, Bouchor, and Verlaine. They all reflect his feelings for Madame Vasnier.”
Finding the songs “poetic but also full of passion,” Cassard felt that Dessay was “the only person able to inhabit and embody” them, believing “that her charisma as an actress, her energy, her temperament, and her virtuosity, with its joyous sense of fun, would enable her to offer an interpretation that was different and really personal.”
Dessay, having sung many of Debussy’s songs in the past, was delighted to return to them as well as to collaborate with Cassard himself. Debussy: Clair de lune features 15 of the 40 songs, including premiere recordings of four previously undocumented, unpublished songs that the pianist discovered among the manuscripts: “Le Matelot qui tombe à l’eau,” “L’Archet,” “Romance,” and “Les Elfes,” the longest song in Debussy’s output.
Track listing:
1. “Nuit d’étoiles” Théodore de Banville
2. “Pantomime” Paul Verlaine
3. “Clair de lune” Paul Verlaine
4. “Pierrot” Théodore de Banville
5. “Apparition” Stéphane Mallarmé
6. “En sourdine” Paul Verlaine
7. “Fête galante” Théodore de Banville
8. “Romance (L’Ame évaporée)” Paul Bourget
9. “Les cloches” Paul Bourget
10. “Rondel chinois” Marius Dillard
11. “Flots, palmes, sables” Armand Renaud (with Catherine Michel, harp)
12. “La Romance d’Ariel” Paul Bourget
13. “Regret” Paul Bourget
14. “Le Matelot qui tombe à l’eau” Maurice Bouchor (World premiere recording)
15. “Coquetterie posthume” Théophile Gautier
16. “L’Archet” Charles Cros (World premiere recording)
17. “Romance” Maurice Bouchor (World premiere recording)
18. “Les Elfes” Leconte de Lisle (World premiere recording)
19. “La Damoiselle élue” Dante Gabriel Rossetti (with Karine Deshayes, mezzo-soprano; Paris Youth Choir)
Une Fête Baroque
Le Concert d’Astrée / Emmanuelle Haïm
Featuring 24 vocal soloists including Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky, Anne Sofie Von Otter, and Rolando Villazón
Two-CD set and downloads available March 13 from Virgin Classics
This past December, specialist Baroque ensemble Le Concert d’Astrée and its visionary founder and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm celebrated their tenth anniversary – and raised money for cancer research – with a star-studded benefit concert entitled “Fêtes Baroques” at Paris’s Théatre des Champs-Elysées, as captured on a new two-CD set from Virgin Classics.
Joining Haïm and the orchestra were no fewer than 24 of the world’s most distinguished singers of Baroque repertoire. Performing music by Handel, Purcell, Rameau, and Lully, these included Laura Claycomb, Stéphane Degout, Karine Deshayes, Natalie Dessay, Ann Hallenberg, Philippe Jaroussky, Topi Lehtipuu, Marijana Mijanović, Sara Mingardo, Sandrine Piau, Renata Pokupić, Sonya Yoncheva, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Rolando Villazón. Among the sources of the evening’s arias and ensembles were Giulio Cesare, Alcina, Rinaldo, Tamerlano, Come Ye Sons of Art, Thésée, Dardanus, Hippolyte et Aricie, and Les Indes galantes.
The recording of this spectacular concert joins more than 15 discs that Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée have recorded since signing an exclusive contract with Virgin Classics in 2001. Their discography includes Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, winner of a Gramophone Award; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Susan Graham and Ian Bostridge, named “Choc de l’année” by Le Monde de la Musique; Monteverdi’s Orfeo, selected as one of the “Best of 2004” by the New York Times and nominated for a Grammy Award; Delirio, a program of Handel’s Italian cantatas with Natalie Dessay, which won a Diapason d’Or; and a “visionary…benchmark interpretation” (BBC Music magazine) of Handel’s La Resurrezione. Le Concert d’Astrée was named Ensemble of the Year at the 2003 Victoires de la Musique.
Track listing:
CD 1
1. Les Indes galantes: Les Sauvages – Danse du Calumet de la Paix et duo Forêts paisibles
2. Hippolyte et Aricie – Act IV : Quelle plainte en ces lieux m’appelle?
3. Dardanus: Act IV: Ritournelle (gracieusement, un peu gai)
4. Dardanus: Calme des sens
5. Dardanus: Tambourins
6. Hippolyte et Aricie: Rossignols amoureux (La bergère)
7. Hippolyte et Aricie: A la chasse, à la chasse
8. Dardanus: Voici les tristes lieux… Monstre affreux,monstre redoutable
9. Platée: Formons les plus brillants concerts…Aux langueurs d’Apollon (La folie)
10. Hippolyte et Aricie: Bruit de tonnerre
11. Castor et Pollux: Tristes apprêts (Télaïre)
12. Dardanus: Chaconne
13. Les Indes galantes: Les Sauvages: Régnez, plaisirs et jeux (Zima)
14. Dardanus: Lieux funestes (Dardanus)
15. Dardanus: Paix favorable, paix adorable
16. Thésée: Marche
17. Thésée: Vivez contents dans ces aimables lieux
18. King Arthur or the British Worthy: What Power art thou (Cold Genius)
19. Come, ye Sons of Art: Sound the Trumpet
20. Rinaldo: In quel bosco di strali… Al trionfo del nostro furore
CD 2
1. Rinaldo: Lascia ch’io pianga
2. Agrippina: Come nube che fugge dal vento
3. Dixit Dominus: De torrente via bibet
4. Orlando: T’ubbidiro, crudele….Fammi combattere
5. Il Delirio Amoroso: Un pensiero voli in ciel
6. La Resurezzione: Piangete, si, piangete
7. Tamerlano: Ciel e terra armi di sdegno
8. Giulio Cesare: Son nata a lagrimar
9. Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno: Voglio tempo per risolvere
10. Giulio Cesare: E pur così in un giorno… Piangerò
11. Rinaldo: Venti turbini
12. Aci, Galatea e Polifemo: Benchè tuoni e l’etra avvampi
13. Giulio Cesare: Che sento… Se pietà
14. Theodora: How strange their ends
15. Messiah: Hallelujah
April release preview:
Verdi: La traviata
Natalie Dessay, Ludovic Tézier, Charles Castronovo, Adelina Scarabelli
London Symphony Orchestra / Louis Langrée; dir. Jean-Francois Sivadier
DVD available April 3 from Virgin Classics
“Her theatrical impact is devastating.”
Financial Times
Natalie Dessay’s first European appearances as Verdi’s Violetta were at the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival, in a new production of La traviata by French director Jean-Francois Sivadier that was pronounced “a triumph” (Gramophone magazine). This new Virgin Classics DVD captures her intense performance alongside American tenor Charles Castronovo as Alfredo and French baritone Ludovic Tézier as his father, Giorgio Germont.
Sivadier’s production was staged in the open air, in Aix-en-Provence’s exquisite Théatre de l’Archevêché with its huge spiral staircases, medieval arches, and 18th-century wings. The stage décor was minimal, the simple costumes evoked the 1940s or 1950s, and the prime focus was on intense characterization.
Violetta makes tremendous demands on a singer, both vocally and dramatically, and signals Dessay’s transition from lighter coloratura roles to the more full-blooded lyric repertoire. “I’m tired of playing weeping girls,” she told the French magazine Télé 7 Jours. “Violetta is a real woman. That makes a nice change!” The change was clearly a successful one; describing the soprano’s Aix-en-Provence performance, Gramophone’s editor, James Inverne, observed: “For Natalie Dessay’s Violetta, I can only say that I doubt there has ever been a singer in this role…who was more shattering. … She made it work.”
This April, Dessay brings her Violetta interpretation to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, when she makes her house role debut opposite Matthew Polenzani and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Willy Decker’s stunning production of the opera.
Cast and credits:
Violetta Valery: Natalie Dessay
Giorgio Germont: Ludovic Tézier
Alfredo Germont: Charles Castronovo
Annina: Adelina Scarabelli
Flora Bervoix: Silvia de La Muela
Gastone de Letoriere: Manuel Nunez Camelino
Barone Douphol: Kostas Smoriginas
Marchese d’Obigny: Andrea Mastroni
Dottor Grenvil: Maurizio Lo Piccolo
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
London Symphony Orchestra / Louis Langrée
Director: Jean-Francois Sivadier
Scenography: Alexandre de Dardel
Costumes: Virginie Gervaise
Lights: Philippe Berthomé
EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists on tour – March and April 2012
March 14
Quatuor Ebène: Mozart, Borodin, Mendelssohn
New Orleans, LA
March 14
Xuefei Yang: recital
Las Vegas, NV (University of Nevada Performing Arts Center)
March 14–17
Christina Pluhar with L’Arpeggiata
New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
March 15
Xuefei Yang: recital
Fort Worth, TX (Modern Art Museum)
March 15 & 17
Simon O’Neill: Beethoven’s Fidelio (Florestan) with National Symphony Orchestra, Washington
Washington, D.C.
March 16, 21, 24, 27, & 31
Diana Damrau: Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Adina) with Renzetti, Flórez, Kwiecien, & Corbelli
New York, NY (Metropolitan Opera)
March 17
Xuefei Yang: recital
Dallas, TX (SMU Caruth Auditorium)
March 18
Quatuor Ebène: Mozart, Beethoven, jazz
New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
March 23–25
Joyce DiDonato: Rossini’s Giovanna d’Arco
Kansas City, MO (Helzberg Hall)
March 19
Christina Pluhar with L’Arpeggiata
Washington, DC (Library of Congress)
April 6, 10, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28; May 2
Natalie Dessay: Verdi’s La traviata (Violetta)
New York, NY (Metropolitan Opera)
April 12 & 13
Gautier Capuçon: Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain with Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Charles Dutoit
Chicago, IL (Orchestra Hall)
April 20–22
Nicholas Angelich: Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Gianandrea Noseda
Pittsburgh, PA (Heinz Hall)
April 21, 27, & 29
Joyce DiDonato: Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (title role)
Houston, TX (Houston Grand Opera)
April 22
Evgeny Kissin: recital
Chicago, IL (Symphony Center)
April 26, 28, & 29
Simon Rattle conducts Philadelphia Orchestra
Brahms Symphony No. 3, Webern Six Pieces for Orchestra, Schumann Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish”
Philadelphia, PA
April 27
Simon Rattle conducts Philadelphia Orchestra
New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
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]
Andrew Ousley, EMI Classics: (212) 786-8607, [email protected]







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