ROSSINI: SEMIRAMIDE, Release date: Friday 7th September, Complete new studio recording

Aurelie Baujean (Opera Rara), Markus Petersen (Warner Classics), Sir Mark Elder, Henry Little (Opera Rara), Susanne McBurney (Warner Classics), Patrick Lemanski (Warner Classics)
Photograph: Russell Scott / Opera Rara Opera Rara today (Friday 6th July 2018) announced an important new partnership with Warner Classics who will assume worldwide distribution for Opera Rara recordings. The agreement includes all future recordings, together with Opera Rara's most recent releases: International Opera Award-winning recordings of Offenbach’s Fantasio and Donizetti’s Les Martyrs, and selected recordings of the extensive back catalogue of more than 85 recordings.

Friday, 7th September marks the release of Rossini’s Semiramide (watch the Making of Semiramide video here), the first Opera Rara recording to be distributed under the new agreement. Conducted by Opera Rara's Artistic Director, Sir Mark Elder, Semiramide was recorded in the studio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Albina Shagimuratova in the title role and Daniela Barcellona as Arsace. As The Spectator commented on Opera Rara’s performance with the same forces at the 2016 BBC Proms, “Rossini’s Semiramide is a challenge to even the world’s top opera houses. Canny repertoire choices and superb casting have helped this enterprising outfit return many a work to the popular canon, and if this concert preview of its latest release is anything to go by, it’s done it again.”

Semiramide will be followed next year with the release of Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida, about to receive its world première in an Opera Rara/Covent Garden collaboration on Wednesday 18 July. For the première, Sir Mark Elder is joined by Joyce El-Khoury as Sylvia (featured on Opera Rara’s recent recordings of Les Martyrs and Belisario, both by Donizetti, and in her recital disc Écho), David Junghoon Kim (2017 graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera) as Leone de Casaldi, Vito Priante as King Fernand of Naples, Laurent Naouri as Don Gaspar (who sang the title role on Opera Rara’s recording of Donizetti’s Le Duc d’Albe, nominated for a 2017 BBC Music Magazine Award) and Evgeny Stavinsky as the Monk.

This November, Opera Rara will present the original version of Puccini’s first stage work, Le Villi, in concert at the Royal Festival Hall which will also be recorded for release by Warner Classics. As with its first foray into verismo - Leoncavallo’s Zazà in November 2015 - Le Villi stars Ermonela Jaho singing alongside Brian Mulligan, young Armenian tenor Arsen Soghomonyan with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

The brain-child of Patric Schmid and Don White, Opera Rara has been in the business of bringing back forgotten operatic repertoire since its conception in the early 1970s, with the bel canto repertory as a particular focus. Of the new partnership with Warner Classics, Henry Little, Chief Executive of Opera Rara, said: “This is hugely exciting news for Opera Rara. It marks the start of a new era for our small but unique opera company in which we will continue to build upon our long track record of excellence. We are looking forward to our new exclusive partnership with Warner Classics which will give opera lovers across the world the opportunity to hear our many award winning recordings of unjustly neglected operatic masterpieces.”

On the new collaboration with Opera Rara, Alain Lanceron, President of Warner Classics & Erato, said: “For many years I have been an admirer of Opera Rara and their mission to bring neglected operatic masterpieces to life. We are delighted to welcome them to our roster of distributed labels.” Markus Petersen, SVP Global Marketing & Operations at Warner Classics, added: “Opera Rara is unique in its mission to showcase forgotten operas on the stage and in the studio. We are thrilled about this partnership in which Warner Classics Label Services provides international marketing and PR expertise alongside our global distribution network. Our goal, together with Opera Rara’s world-class London based team, is to help their stunning discoveries reach an ever-wider audience and the global status they deserve.”


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