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CHAN 5032M
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CHAN 5032
(multiple CD Set)

Barber: Vanessa

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2004

Originally recorded in 2004


BBC Symphony Orchestra

Leonard Slatkin

Stephen Charlesworth

bass - Footman

Neal Davies

bass - The Old Doctor

Simon Birchall

bass-baritone - Nicholas

Susan Graham

mezzo-soprano - Erika

Catherine Wyn-Rogers

mezzo-soprano - The Old Baroness

Christine Brewer

soprano - Vanessa

William Burden

tenor - Anatol

BBC Singers


Barbican Centre, London


Ralph Couzens

Ann McKay


Philip Burwell

Record Label



Total Time - 121:01
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  An opera in three acts (1954-57, revised 1964). Text by Gian Carlo Menotti  
  Act I  
  Scene 1 26:31      
1 Introduction 1:26
2 Erika: 'Potage crème aux perles' 1:26
3 Vanessa: 'No, I cannot understand why. . .' 5:46
4 Erika: 'Must the winter come so soon?' 2:33
5 Erika: 'Listen!. . . They are here' 1:40
6 Vanessa: 'Do not utter a word, Anatol' 4:56
7 Anatol: 'Yes, I believe I shall love you' 2:04
8 Erika: 'Who are you?' 5:59
  Scene 2 29:13      
9 Baroness: 'And then?' 4:31
10 Vanessa: 'No, you are not as good a skater. . .' 3:13
11 Doctor: 'Under the willow tree. . .' 2:51
12 Vanessa: 'Erika, I am so happy' 4:01
13 Erika: 'Did you hear her?' 1:35
14 Anatol: 'Help, help! Save me from their talk' 2:54
15 Anatol: 'Outside this house the world has changed' 3:12
16 Vanessa: 'Hurry now!' 2:19
17 Chorus: 'In morning light let us rejoice' 4:37
  Act II 21:12      
18 Major-domo: 'The Count and the Countess of d'Albanie' 3:17
19 Doctor: 'I should never have been a doctor' 3:35
20 Vanessa: 'Here you are!' 1:35
21 Anatol: 'At last I've found you' 1:38
22 Anatol: 'Love has a bitter core, Vanessa' 4:41
23 Doctor: 'Nothing to worry about' 6:26
  Act III  
  Scene 1 18:48      
24 Vanessa: 'Why did no-one warn me?' 5:05
25 Vanessa: 'Why must the greatest sorrow. . .' 2:26
26 Doctor: 'There, look!' 3:06
27 Anatol: 'On the path to the lake' 3:00
28 Vanessa: 'Anatol, tell me the truth!' 2:40
29 Erika: 'Grandmother!' 2:31
30 Intermezzo 4:39
  Scene 2 21:19      
31 Anatol: 'By the time we arrive in Paris' 1:09
32 Doctor: 'For every love there is a last farewell' 2:23
33 Vanessa: 'And you, my friend' 2:50
34 Vanessa: 'Erika, before I leave, you must tell me' 4:22
35 Vanessa: 'To leave, to break, to find, to keep' 4:00
36 Erika: 'Goodbye, be happy, Aunt Vanessa' 2:57
37 Erika: 'No, I must never say that name again' 3:38
  Also available as SACD CHSA 5032
No Notes Found.

"... A work gorgeously scored neo-Romanticism, Vanessa features five vividly drawn characters. Chandos’s central trio... all offer wonderfully nuanced readings." "...The orchestral and choral detail and finish under Slatkin are highly impressive and very well recorded."

David Shengold

Christine Brewer… [gave] a performance of extraordinary emotional and vocal span. What a cast of formidable American singers this was. There was Susan Graham, with an Erika of dark yet lacerating eloquence. And an Anatol debonair yet always troubling in the excellent tenor William Burden. Even the cameo roles… were larger than life.
The Times

If doubts remain about the viability of the piece as a whole – Gian Carlo Menotti’s libretto is the main problem – this set at least allows us to judge the work’s genuine musical merits represented here at their best.
Opera Now

Barber’s first opera deserves to be better known than it is. There are few operas of the last half-century that have such obvious audience-and-singer-appeal, for Barber was a great composer for the voice…Chandos’s release is a must-buy.

…Slatkin, in one of his finest achievements in recent years, immaculately judges the works mixture of ferocious lyricism, disquieting intimacy and underlying neurosis. This is a considerable achievement that should restore Vanessa to the repertory.
The Guardian

'Leonard Slatkin and the BBC band make a voluptuous brew of this gorgeously orchestrated opera, pungent with whiffs of Berg, late Puccini and Barber's own acid sweetness. Strongly recommended.'
Time Out (USA, New York)

Placed in direct comparison, the new Chandos release provides what is undeniably the most fulfilling experience of the opera. Leonard Slatkin has already proven himself one of the most discerning and insightful interpreters of Barber’s music… as in Slatkin’s other Barber recordings, virtually every detail in the rich orchestral fabric is carefully shaped, its motifs interwoven with the motifs in the vocal lines, while the impact of the whole reflects Chandos’ customary combination of luxuriance and clarity.

'This is a work Leonard Slatkin understands through and through and he gives it every bit of its due.'
Sunday Telegraph

'Like may operas with imperfect librettos, Vanessa makes an ideal audio experience, especially in a performance as strong and as well recorded as this one.'
International Record Review

'Now we have what must be the most desirable version ever…Above all, the opera is lovingly conducted by Leonard Slatkin, who with the BBC Symphony Orchestra draws all the power, beauty and with from Barber's score.'
BBC Music Magazine

'I much enjoyed the Naxos set, but it is eclipsed by this new Chandos performance.'

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