November 05, 2015

Warner Classics & Erato take three 'Chocs' of the year in the Classica Awards

Pappano's glorious Aïda, Sabine Devieilhe's Mozart and Paavo Järvi's Dutilleux among the year's best releases.

Warner Classics and Erato has taken three of the major prizes in the French Classica magazine's 'Choc' of the Year awards, in a ceremony held last night at the Salle Cortot in Paris.



The Choc for Opera of the Year went to Antonio Pappano's luxurious Aïda studio recording, made in Rome with an all-star cast. "No doubt this new complete recording was conceived around Jonas Kaufmann, star tenor of his day, but let's not forget that it's not just this Radames - so penetrating, electric, attentive to text (yes, our hero unites all these superlatives), that has earned the prix Choc de l'Année. It's also the sovereign direction of Antonio Pappano that instantly sets the mood... and ties this Aïda, and especially the two leads, to a golden age of the past," declared Classica.

"Ludovic Tézier's burnished baritone brings polish to an Amonasro who knows how to pierce the strongest armour, while Ekaterina Semenchuk proves herself a true tigress worthy of Amneris, with a ravaging bite that devours our Aïda/Anja Harteros in a confrontation that is the highpoint of the complete recording."

The Choc for 'Radio Classique's Choice' went to French coloratura soprano Sabine Devieilhe for her brand new Mozart album, The Weber Sisters. "The disc pays homage to the Weber sisters - Josepha, Aloysia and Konstanze - as so many faces in which the composer found his path to creative liberty through the inspiration of humanity. Sabine Devieilhe follows this path with grace and lightness, an astonishing natural flexibility, audacious high notes, rich tone and a quality of projection that is quite unique today," wrote Classica.

Her husband Raphaël Pichon, directing Pygmalion ensemble, "captures a range of moods and affects that constantly renew the listeners' interest."

Sabine said of the prize: "I must tell you how important this Choc de l'Année is to me. This album is the fruit of a long period of reflection, and was a challenge from all points of view, so I'm truly proud to see it acknowledged by Classica with this award."

An orchestral Choc of the Year was awarded to Paavo Järvi's daring album of music by the beloved French composer Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013), with the Orchestre de Paris and violinist Christian Tetzlaff. "What a programme!" declared Classica. "Admirable compositional rigour aligned with dizzying heights of imagination make Dutilleux an instant classic of our time. Paavo Järvi gives these scores a faithful reading." (Métaboles, Sur le même accord, Symphony No.1, spanning the great composer's entire career.)