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A pianist goes to the Opera

Beautiful music from the opera world, impressively transcribed for piano by
Hummel, Liszt, Raff, Thalberg & Smith, performed by the piano soloist Dimitris Anousis.

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About this album

This album is a collection of famous as well rare, but impressive, virtuosic transcriptions for piano, “Grand Fantaisies de concert”, made by famous pianists-composers of the 19th century such as Hummel, Liszt, Raff, Thalberg & Smith, on well known and popular musical themes from operas by Mozart, Verdi, Bellini, Wagner & Bizet. It’s music from the Operas “Ballo in mashera”, “Le nozze di Figaro”, “Les vêpres siciliennes”, “Rigoletto”, “Norma”, “Traviata”, “The flying Dutchman”, “Carmen”, culminating with the transcendent “Tannhäuser Overture”, one of the most demanding piano transcriptions of the entire repertoire.

The tradition of transcriptions from virtuoso pianists and/or composers continues until today and is an important area of evolution of the pianistic art. Perhaps it’s a kind of “jazz” of classical music, often with indistinct boundaries about “the beginning and the end” of the original composer, the virtuoso pianist-transcriber and the pianist-performer. In any case, this is an extremely interesting repertoire that deserves to be heard and not to fall into historical oblivion. Except of course the versatile interest of this album, historically, synthetically and pianistically, consists of great music that I love! I hope you will enjoy it too as i do!

Dimitris Anousis

Full track listing

1. “Un Ballo in Maschera” op.10, Fantaisie brillante (4:53)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) / Sydney Smith (1839 – 1889)
For starters, I invite you to a “masquerade” by G. Verdi! The opera was described as the most “operatic” and “Shakespearean” one by Verdi, by mixing dark and light, tragedy and comedy into a love story.

2. Fantasina op.124 on Mozart’s “Non piu andrai” (5:50)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) / Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778 – 1837)
Le Nozze di Figaro Aaach … so that life brings … from the brocaded palaces, dances and loves suddenly may be heading for war! “Non piu andrai, farfallone amoroso” sings Figaro, in “his” “Marriages” by W. A. Mozart, speaking to Cherubino, saying that we can no longer flirt with beautiful ladies, preparing him to be classified in the army.

3. “Sicilienne” op.81 no.1 Air Favori de l’Opera “Les vêpres siciliennes”
G. Verdi (1813-1901) / Joachim Raff (1822-1882)
A “revolutionary” opera, which stands for the melodious music and the poetic dialogues. The case is unfolding in Sicily under French occupation in 1282 and outlines that through tragic conflicts such as between a father and his son and with an enemy – conqueror, a man who loves his country, can be driven at incredible dead ends.

4. “Rigoletto” op.122 Fantaisie brillante
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) / Sydney Smith (1839 – 1889)
The opera that Verdi had closer to his heart! Another Shakespearean case unfolds through passions, weaknesses, loves, curses and revenge … through beautiful melodies like “Questa o quella”, “La donna è mobile” and “Bella figlia dell’amore”.

5. “Casta Diva”, from op.70 “L’art du chant appliqué au piano” (6:52)
Vincenzo Bellini (1801 – 1835) / Sigismond Thalberg (1812 – 1871)
This album certainly could not have been without a Goddess! From the opera Norma by Bellini, is the prayer of the astray High Priestess Norma to the “Pure Goddess” (Casta Diva). A prayer, which have been praised by the one and only Maria Callas, forever linking her name with this music! (A minimum tribute …).

6. “La Traviata” op.103 Fantaisie brillante (9:00)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) / Sydney Smith (1839 – 1889)
Is no other than the “astray” by Verdi, probably the most popular opera of all times. The synopsis is none other, than a paraphrase of the classic, world-renowned drama by A. Dumas “Camille”. A hymn to … without any control pleasures of life that do not come without cost … The eternal Violetta sings “I’ll stay forever free, going from one joy to another, I want my life to be filled with pleasures every day!”.

7. “Ballad” from “The flying Dutchman” S.441 (5:27)
Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883) / Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
An amazing mythology for a curse that condemned the ship “Flying Dutchman” to sail the seas until the Second Coming and the Power of Love against everything dark …

8. “Tannhäuser” Overture, S.442 (16:29)
Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883) / Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
The story of the noble knight Tannhäuser who is lying between a world of unbridled morals & physical pleasures and a world of pure Christian love and continence. One of the most demanding transcriptions of the piano repertoire.

9. “Carmen” op.200b Fantaisie de concert sur l’opera de Bizet (12:34)
Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875) / Sydney Smith (1839 – 1889)
The story of the destruction of a single soldier who has fascinated from a passionate gypsy woman. The lives of the impoverished, immorality and lawlessness, and the tragic end of Carmen. Carmen has been praised for the melodies, harmony, atmosphere as well the amazing skill with which Bizet yielded musically the emotions of his characters.

10. “La Danza” Tarantella Napolitana de Rossini op.104 (2:23)
Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868) / Sydney Smith (1839 – 1889)
One of the most popular songs of Rossini, the eighth in the collection “Music nights” (Les soirées musicales “(1830 – 1835). Mamma mia, Mamma mia, La la ra la ra la ra la la ra la!!!

A pianist goes to the opera | Dimitris Anousis | Classical, piano solo, opera |