Presto Recording of the Week
7th June 2019
Blu-ray of the Month
Emma Bell (Vanessa), Virginie Verrez (Erika), Edgaras Montvidas (Anatol), Rosalind Plowright (The Old Baroness)
The Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Hrůša (conductor) & Keith Warner (director)
Abandoned by her lover Anatol, Vanessa retreats from the world, waiting and hoping with only her mother and her niece Erika for company. But when, 20 years later, Anatol’s handsome young son arrives unexpectedly, he shatters the calm of this shuttered household of women. Past and present love collides, and the aftershocks threaten to destroy them all.
Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning first opera boasts one of the 20th century’s most beautiful scores. Poised constantly on the edge of song, Vanessa unfolds in generous swathes of melody, rich in filmic strings and soaring brass, with echoes of Puccini, Berg and Strauss. It climaxes in a final quintet of Mozartean poignancy – one of the great ensembles of the contemporary repertoire.
Outstanding performances are a-plenty in this rare opportunity to see one of the 20th century’s great operas. This world premiere recording from Glyndebourne gives centre stage to Emma Bell who performs the titular role with an amazing intensity, with rising star Viginie Verrez and legendary Rosalind Plowright giving equally engrossing performances in this far too little-known masterpiece, in a new production by award winning director, Keith Warner.
"Warner’s handsome and perceptive staging of Barber’s Vanessa has probably done more to silence the work’s naysayers than any in recent memory…Thanks to Warner’s perception and motivation this excellent cast really deliver…Shadowy, opulent, effulgent – Barber’s Vanessa is the opera that bridges Hollywood and the Broadway stage." -