Anna sounds sumptuous and thrilling on the new album which you can listen to in full here. Bonus - a brief appearance for Rolando Villazon's first and probably only Manrico. Below, check out the photos of her concert performance of Giovanna d'Arco (con Placido) in Salzburg on Tuesday.
The Hungarian Post Office, Magyar Posta, has released 'audible' postage stamps to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi.
No, they won't sing to you. But with a smartphone you can read the QR code printed on the stamps. This takes you through to a special section on the Hungarian State Opera House’s web site containing information and recordings.
Snap the QR codes below if you want to listen in without shelling out.
In the league table of 2013 composer anniversary CD box sets, Wagner and Britten seem to have taken an early lead, with poor old Verdi languishing below in third. There was nothing in the coveted pre-Christmas release slot, but of course now nobody's got any money left the digital tributes are coming thick and fast.
The 4kg box-busting behemoth is Verdi: The Complete Works, which Decca proudly boast is "the first ever complete collection of Verdi’s entire compositional output." For £134 you get 75 CDs - 30 whole operas plus songs and other bits and pieces. For all Verdi's apparent ubiquity, most of this material is rarely aired. Singers are all top-notch - Domingo, Freni, Caballe and Pavarotti amongst them, while conductors include Muti, Giulini, Sinopoli and Kleiber. The per-CD price is lower than a charity shop. But would you have time to listen to it?
For the more pocket-friendly sum of £44, EMI's Verdi - The Great Operas offers his sixteen best-known works, again with first class artists. An economical way to acquire a decent instant Verdi collection should that be your desire, though not everything in there would be my first choice of recording.
A more exotic option is the £22 Flieg Gedanke (Verdi auf Deutsch). This 10 CD set includes extracts from those well-known works Ein Maskenball and Der Troubadour amongst others - yes, it's Verdi ENO-style, as performed (and recorded) in the language of its German audience way back in the 20th century. A Don Carlos with Gedda, Fischer-Dieskau and Moll sounds perversely tempting - otherwise, for real completists only.
All release dates are January/February 2013 (depending on location). Full tracklistings of all three below.
Alternatively, for zero £££ and no waiting, you could listen to Verdi's entire output - all 90 hours of it - on Spotify. A selective listing here.
How soon will we all be sick of the bi-bicententennial I wonder? Opera is of course a peripheral activity for the LSO, but they're still doing their bit to celebrate Wagner and Verdi's joint 200th birthday.
Their 2013/14 season opens on 15 September with a concert performance of Rigoletto, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. The underrated Dimitri Platanias takes the title role, with Desirée Rancatore as Gilda and Giuseppe Filianoti as the Duke.
On 28 November, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony is paired with the second act of Tristan und Isolde. Daniel Harding conducts Katarina Dalayman, Peter Seiffert and Christianne Stotijn. A major influence on Wagner's work was Roméo et Juliette. which turns up on 6 and 13 November with soloists Olga Borodina and Ildar Abdrazakov. Gergiev conducts as part of a Berlioz series running throughout the season.
The LSO's year is otherwise, as you might expect, light on opera, though Mark Elder's extracts from Der Rosenkavalier sung by Anne Schwanewilms, Sarah Connolly and Lucy Crowe should not be missed (8 May 2014).
Full season details to be released later this month.
La forza del destino - Opera Holland Park, 6 August 2010
Destiny? It's coincidence and misunderstanding that motor this credulity-testing plot. Martin Duncan has opted for a barely-there approach, perhaps hoping to spotlight the personal drama and skim over the rest. The otherwise empty stage is populated with scores of paint-splattered chairs, helpful in delineating the space as chapel or inn where required, a mystifying intrusion elsewhere, especially when suspended jiggling from the roof.