PENTATONE releases two enthralling additions to the catalogue: Gershwin: Porgy and Bess Highlights with Angel Blue, Lester Lynch , Chauncey Packer, Kevin Short, Morgan State University Choir, The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop and Beethoven: Fidelio with Lise Davidsen, Christian Elsner, Georg Zeppenfeld, Christina Landshamer, Johannes-Martin Kränzle, Günther Groissböck, Cornel Frey,  Dresdner Philharmonie, conducted by Marek Janowski.

Gershwin: Porgy and Bess Highlights – Angel Blue, Lester Lynch, Chauncey Packer, Kevin Short, Morgan State University Choir, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Marin Alsop


The Ultimate American “Folk Opera”

The Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop present a live recording with highlights of Gershwin’s self-proclaimed American “Folk Opera” Porgy and Bess, together with a stellar cast and the Morgan State University Choir. Since its premiere in 1935, Porgy and Bess has been one of the most significant attempts to – following Antonín Dvořák’s famous instruction of 1893 – create American classical music inspired by Afro-American styles such as jazz, spirituals and the blues. It has also proven to be a powerful catalyst for bringing more diverse casts to the opera stage. The hard-knock life at a Charleston waterfront tenement is presented here by an outstanding cast including Lester Lynch (Porgy), Angel Blue (Bess, Clara and Serena), Chauncey Packer (Sportin’ Life) and Kevin Short (Crown, Jake).

Marin Alsop is one of today’s most acclaimed conductors, and the first woman to serve as the head of a major orchestra in the United States, South America, Austria and Britain. The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the world’s preeminent orchestras. Multi-award-winning soprano Angel Blue is one of the most promising voices of her generation, while Chauncey Packer is arguably one of the greatest and sought-after Sportin’ Life interpreters today. Lester Lynch and Kevin Short both enjoy a flourishing stage career, as well as a vast PENTATONE discography.

This album was recorded live in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, in March 2020, in the last concerts performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra in front of a public audience before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A co-production of the San Francisco Classical Recording Company and The Philadelphia Orchestra.


Beethoven: Fidelio – Lise Davidsen, Christian Elsner, Georg Zeppenfeld, Christina Landshamer, Johannes Martin Kränzle, Günther Groissböck, Cornel Frey, Dresdner Philharmonie, Marek Janowski


The Quintessential Rescue Opera

After their acclaimed recording of Weber’s Freischütz, the Dresdner Philharmonie and its Principal conductor Marek Janowski present yet another German opera classic with Beethoven’s Fidelio. They work together with a stellar cast — well-seasoned in German opera — including Lise Davidsen (Fidelio/Leonore), Christian Elsner (Florestan), Georg Zeppenfeld (Rocco), Christina Landshamer (Marzelline), Cornel Frey (Jaquino), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Don Pizzarro) and Günther Groissböck (Don Fernando). This should have been a live concert recording, but Covid-19 frustrated those plans. Luckily, it turned out possible to record Beethoven’s masterpiece in two studio sessions, with two different, established choirs: the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, as well as the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir. Katharina Wagner and Daniel Weber have adapted the original dialogues for this recording. Fidelio is the quintessential rescue opera, in which a wife goes to any lengths to free her beloved from the chains of a barbaric, oppressive regime. Beethoven’s opera on the power of love and the enlightening power of humanity still resonates with us today, and its music continues to delight and inspire.

Marek Janowski, the Dresdner Philharmonie and the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir have a vast PENTATONE discography, including complete recordings of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Puccini’s Il Tabarro (both released in 2020). Lise Davidsen starred in Weber’s Freischütz (2019), while Christian Elsner, Georg Zeppenfeld and Günther Groissböck contributed to PENTATONE’s complete Wagner operas recording, amongst others. Christina Landshamer, Cornel Frey, Johannes Martin Kränzle and the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden make their PENTATONE debut.

This album is a San Francisco Classical Recording Company Production.

foto: Pentatone/Bjoern Kadenbach