OP0042. DIE LUSTIGE WITWE (The Merry Widow) (in English), recorded 1994, w.John Eliot Gardiner Cond. Vienna Phil. & Monteverdi Choir; Barbara Bonney, Bryn Terfel, Boje Skovhus, Cheryl Studer, etc. DG 108351 (439911). Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 028943991124
"This is a truly great operetta interpretation. Gardiner's approach is on an altogether more inspired plane than his rivals. In the Viennese rhythms, he shows himself utterly at home – as in the Act 2 Dance scene, where he eases the orchestra irresistibly into the famous waltz. But there are also countless instances where Gardiner provides a deliciously fresh inflexion to the score. The cast of singers is uniformly impressive.
If Cheryl Studer's 'Vilja' isn't quite as assured as some others, her captivatingly playful 'Dummer, dummer Reitersmann' is typical of a well-characterised performance. As Danilo, Boje Skovhus acquits himself well with a polished performance and he offers a natural, more human characterisation than his rivals, while Barbara Bonney is superb. Not the least inspired piece of casting comes with Bryn Terfel, who transforms himself outstandingly well into the bluff Pontevedran ambassador. As for Gardiner's personally selected chorus, they make Monteverdi to Montenegro and Pontevedra seem the most natural transition in the world. DG's recorded sound has an astonishing clarity and immediacy, as in the way the piccolos shriek out at the Widow's Act 1 entrance or in the beautiful pianissimo accompaniment to the 'Vilja-Lied'."
- Gramophone Classical Music Guide
"Gardiner's work, as founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir (MC), English Baroque Soloists (EBS) and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR), has marked him out as a key figure both in the early music revival and as a pioneer of historically informed performances.
As a regular guest of the world’s leading symphony orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Gardiner conducts repertoire from the 17th to the 20th centuries. He was awarded the Concertgebouw Prize in January 2016.
The extent of Gardiner’s repertoire is illustrated in the extensive catalogue of award-winning recordings with his own ensembles and leading orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic on major labels (including Decca, Philips, Erato and 30 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon), as wide-ranging as Mozart, Schumann, Berlioz, Elgar and Kurt Weill, in addition to works by Renaissance and Baroque composers. His many recording accolades include two GRAMMY awards and he has received more Gramophone Awards than any other living artist.
Gardiner has also conducted opera productions; at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at the Vienna State Opera and at Teatro alla Scala, Milan. From 1983 to 1988 he was artistic director of Opéra de Lyon, where he founded its new orchestra."
- Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra