Jean Yves Thibaudet brings a lifelong passion for opera to his new CD of irresistible operatic melodies: Aria - Opera Without Words, an album that combines the intimacy of the piano recital with the drama and romance of the opera house. Following the huge success of his recording of the complete solo piano music of Erik Satie, this new album is a very personal collection of timeless classics and new transcriptions - including several by Thibaudet himself. Aria - Opera Without Words includes arrangements of many of the best-loved arias of opera including Puccini's "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca and "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, and the sparkling "Jewel Song" from Gounod`s Faust. Thibaudet even provides a thrilling portrait of Wagner's mighty "Ride of the Valkyries." These performances are not just arrangements of popular classics, they are also piano works in their own right.
French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet has had a lifelong devotion to vocal repertoire, and it was inevitable that he would record an "opera without words" program. He is co-arranger of several selections on this disc, which is dedicated by Thibaudet to all the singers with whom he has performed. Listened to in one sitting, the disc is perhaps too much of a good thing. Savored a couple of tracks at a time, however, it offers considerable pleasure. Among today's big-name pianists, Thibaudet is one of those most frequently praised for "singing tone." He displays it exquisitely throughout this program, beginning with the initial track, a fantasy on two arias from "i"Samson et Dalila. Among the other tracks, a few do disappointingly little to enhance what one would find in a piano-vocal score ("Vissi d'arte" is an obvious example). On the other hand, Thibaudet's full technical arsenal is magisterially deployed in "SoirÃ©e de Vienne," a concoction of Johann Strauss waltz themes including that of Die Fledermaus; a "sonata-fantasy" based on Madama Butterfly -- at 12 minutes, the longest track on the disc; and Louis Brassin's formidable arrangement of the "Ride of the Valkyries," which Thibaudet tosses off with staggering ease. "i"-- Roger Pines
"h3"About the Artist
"p"Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet continues to captivate audiences worldwide with his compelling performances and poetic interpretations. An exciting and versatile musician respected for his mastery of color, nuance and rhythmic intricacies, he is sought after by today's foremost orchestras, conductors and music festivals, as well as for collaborations with pre-eminent musicians. A prolific artist in both the performance and recording arenas, he has been hailed by the press as "one of the best pianists in the world." Supporting this acclaim, April 2006 brings Mr. Thibaudet's third appearance of the season at Carnegie Hall, his second appearance this season at The Kennedy Center, and his first of the season at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, all with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas. May brings performances in Perth, Australia, a tour of China with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and recitals in Hanoi and at the Klavier Festival Ruhr. Thus far in the 2005-06 season, he has been heard in performances throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Of special note were the September 2005 release of Universal Pictures' Academy Award-nominated soundtrack to the major motion picture Pride and Prejudice, on which he was featured with the English Chamber Orchestra, and his performance with the London Symphony Orchestra at AndrÃÂ© Previn's 75th Birthday Gala. Other season highlights have included solo recitals at Lucerne Festival Piano 2005 and Los Angeles 's Walt Disney Concert Hall; and a chamber music tour of the Netherlands and Spain with the Rossetti String Quartet. His 2005-06 North American orchestral engagements included subscription series concerts with the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Colorado, Utah, Washington, DC 's National Symphony Orchestra and Canada 's Montreal Symphony. US solo recitals were given in Lincoln Center 's Kaplan Penthouse, Fort Worth, Texas ' Bass Performance Hall; Ann Arbor, Michigan 's Hill Auditorium; and the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Buffalo, New York. Other international orchestral engagements included performances with the Royal Concertgebouw, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, Berner Symphonie-Orchester, Orchestre National de Lyon, and the Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur. International solo recitals included Germany's KÃÂ¶lner Philharmonie, Dortmund's Konzerthaus, and at the Klavier Festival Ruhr, Paris' ThÃÂ©ÃÂ¢tre des Champs-ÃÂlysÃÂ©es, GÃÂ¶teborg's Konserthuset (Sweden), Arnhem's Musis Sacrum in the Netherlands, Valencia's Palau de la Musica (Spain), and Cagliari's Teatro Bellini in Italy. In addition to his engagements in New York, Newark and Washington, DC, Mr. Thibaudet's spring/summer 2006 schedule will include performances abroad in Moscow; Perth, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland; Perth, Australia; Beijing, Shamghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China; Hanoi; Rotterdam; Warsaw; MÃÂ¼hlheim/Ruhr and Bad Kissingen, Germany; and at the Spoleto Festival. The second half of the summer will be spent in the United States, performing at Tanglewood, the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia; Vail; Sun Valley; the Blossom Music Festival; Saratoga; the Hollywood Bowl and the Ravinia Festival. An accomplished performer who is equally at home with chamber music and recitals as he is with orchestral repertoire, Mr. Thibaudet is in great demand as a collaborator. He currently performs and records with such artists as RenÃÂ©e Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Angelika Kirchschlager, Yuri Bashmet and the Rossetti String Quartet. Mr. Thibaudet is an award winning, Grammy nominated exclusive recording artist for Decca with over 30 recordings. Last year, in addition to the Pride and Prejudice recording, he released Strauss' Burleske with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt conducting. Other recent recordings include a 5-CD box-set entitled "Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music" (awarded the 2003 Choc de la Musique); "The Magic of Satie" (released in fall 2002, awarded with a 2003 Echo award for Best Solo Repertoire of the 20th Century); a CD of the Mendelssohn Piano Concerti with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt conducting; a collection of arias entitled "Night Songs" with soprano RenÃÂ©e Fleming featuring works by FaurÃÂ©, Debussy, Marx, Strauss and Rachmaninoff (awarded Best Lieder Recital award at Germany's 2002 Echo Classical Music Awards); and a Chopin/Grieg disc with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev. Mr. Thibaudet's diverse repertoire includes works by Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Liszt, Messiaen, Chopin, Shostakovich, Gershwin, Brahms, Schumann, D'Indy, Wolf and Ravel, for which his recording of the complete piano works received a Grammy nomination. He has made successful forays into the world of jazz as well, including "Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays the music of Duke Ellington" and "Conversations with Bill Evans." Selections from the two jazz recordings were merged into one CD, "DAYDREAMS: Reflections on Bill Evans and Duke Ellington" (2002), and released in Australia, where the recording has met with great acclaim. Among his numerous recording awards, Mr. Thibaudet counts the Echo and Schallplatten Preis Awards, the Diapason d'Or, Choc de la Musique, Gramophone Award, and Edison Prize. Outside of the traditional concert stage, Mr. Thibaudet's talent has also been recognized. In November 2004, Mr. Thibaudet served as President (an honor extended to luminaries) of the annual charity auction at the prestigious Hospices de Beaune, in Burgundy, France. He had an onscreen cameo in the Bruce Beresford feature film on Alma Mahler entitled "Bride of the Wind" (released June 2001), with his playing showcased throughout the movie soundtrack. His playing can also be heard in the movie soundtrack of the feature film "Portrait of a Lady" for which he played two Schubert Impromptus (1997). He was featured in the 2000 PBS/Smithsonian special, "Piano Grand!," a piano performance television special hosted by Billy Joel to give tribute to the 300th anniversary of the piano. The fashion world has taken notice of Mr. Thibaudet as well. His concert attire is designed by the celebrated London fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Of French and German heritage, Jean-Yves Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At age 12, Thibaudet entered the Paris Conservatory where he studied with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age fifteen he won the premier Prix du Conservatoire, and three years later won the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York. In 2001, the Republic of France awarded Mr. Thibaudet the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2002, Jean-Yves was awarded the PremioPegasus from the Spoleto Festival for his artistic achievements and his longstanding involvement with the festival.