First they were students at AVA. During their studies, they were companions. Eventually they performed together on stage. Then came love, and later, the altar. All because of opera. And we can say, "We knew them when."
WRTI's Mark Pinto, host of the Classical New Releases show, fills you in on the latest and the greatest classical music CDsevery Saturday at 5 pm.Here are six recordings to pay special attention to...
Milos, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor: Aranjuez. The young guitarist Milos from Montenegro continues to win new fans wherever he goes. Now with this recording he brings his trademark passion and intimacy to bear on the two most popular works for guitar and orchestra ever composed. In the tender moments he caresses the strings, and through some close miking, every caress can be felt. Having Yannick on hand to guide the London Philharmonic and let Milos "do his thing" should help the guitarist gain some new admirers in Philadelphia.
Ailyn Perez & Stephen Costello: Love Duets. This is a long-awaited debut disc from Philly’s "first couple" of opera (they met while students at the Academy of Vocal Arts and still perform together in the area), and it is as aurally delightful as they are photogenic. The husband-and-wife team makes convincing heat on these love duets from popular operas and classic Broadway musicals. A keepsake for Philadelphia opera fans.
Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis: The Silver Album. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist and Temple University professor Lambert Orkis celebrate 25 years as a performing team with this two-disc release. At first glance they may seem an unlikely pair. However, both share a keen interest in contemporary music and in other ways have found each other to be musical soulmates. "It quickly became clear how perfectly we breathe and phrase together," says Mutter.
Superb studio and live performances from their last 25 years of music-making, of violin/piano sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Fauré, are featured here alongside new recordings of Massenet and Ravel. Plus, there are two world-premiere recordings: a dazzling and fiendishly difficult solo violin work by Krzysztof Penderecki, and André Previn's touching and lighthearted duo sonata. This is a wonderful commemorative of an enduring artistic partnership.
Yundi: Emporer/Fantasy, Beethoven and Schumann. Chinese pianist Yundi (the artist formerly known as Yundi Li) has developed and matured significantly in the years since he became the youngest pianist to win the International Chopin Competition in 2000 at the age of 18. His formidable technique is on display here in a Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto performance so assured it may strike some as a tad on the cool side. But his real achievement is the sheer poetry and architectural mastery he brings to Schumann’s masterpiece, which can come off as rather unruly and unwieldy in the wrong hands. With awe, one wonders what Yundi's next musical conquest might be.
Susan Lewis profiles Tempesta Di Mare. The Philadelphia-based Baroque orchestra is celebrating its 10th anniversary with concerts featuring fanfares, suites, and a birthday symphony.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns examines the relationship between star tenor Stephen Costello and his coach Bill Schuman, an Academy of Vocal Arts faculty member who is considered to be one of the great voice builders - and rebuilders - in the business.
And Jim cotter speaks with Symphony in C President Krishna Thiagarajan as the Camden-based orchestra opens its new season.
Susan Lewis looks at a new exhibition at the National Constitution Center exploring the ways American architects are using recycled materials to address social issues.
Jason Peifer explores the role and history of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman, a 65-year-old organization dedicated to preserving and promoting fine crafts. Their Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair is on July 25th and 26th in Wilmington.
David Patrick Stearns looks ahead to a performance with the Ocean City Pops by husband and wife opera stars Eileen Perez and Stephen Costello.
Philadelphia-based tenor Stephen Costello is the winner of this year's prestigious Richard Tucker Award. The annual prize is awarded to an American singer on the edge of a major national and international career. Jill Pasternak interviewed the rising star on Crossover in 2008 following his Metropolitan Opera debut.
This week Jill Pasternak welcomes tenor Stephen Costello to the WRTI studios. The Philadelphia native is a graduate of the University of the Arts and the Academy of Vocal Arts. He was awarded a 2007 Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. He won First Prize in the 2006 George London Foundation for Singers Competition as well as First Prize and Audience Prize in the Giargiari Competition and First Prize in the Licia Albanese Foundation Competition.