1. Bellini: I Puritani / Coburn, Brownlee, Orbelian, Kaunas City Symphony

Bellini: I Puritani / Coburn, Brownlee, Orbelian, Kaunas City Symphony

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This stellar production features a pair of operatic superstars, namely Grammy-nominated tenor Lawrence Brownlee and soprano supreme Sarah Coburn, who continually appear in the lead roles in top houses worldwide. The remaining characters are beautifully portrayed by distinguished singers from Lithuania and Kazakhstan. Providing brilliant and sensitive choral-orchestral support is the Grammy-nominated Maestro Constantine Orbelian (“the singer’s dream collaborator”) leading the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and the Kaunas State Choir. In June 2021, Orbelian was named Music Director and Principal Conductor of New York City Opera. Bellini’s I Puritani is considered by many to offer the most beautiful music among some of his best-known operas, several of which are sublime masterpieces of the spectacular bel canto style of singing.


Bellini’s last opera, I Puritani, gets an excellent outing in this new recording. Sarah Coburn leads the cast as Elvira, and her voice suits the role perfectly. Her colororatura is perfect, her phrasing immaculate. Constantine Orbelian conducts with great sensitivity and detail. It is an all-round idiomatic and very welcome release.

– Opera Now

This performance of Bellini’s old warhorse bids fair to overtake all previous commercial recordings of it, In part this is due to the perfectly-balanced cast, but also to the energetic approach of all singers concerned, the lean but not irritating orchestra, and the fact that this issue finally restores all cuts to the score.

Some bel canto lovers will dislike Orbelian’s straightahead conducting. He does not linger unnecessarily on certain phrases or high notes, and allows only a bit of rubato in the phrasing of both orchestra and singers. Yes, Brownlee is allowed to linger a bit on his high D-flat in “A te, or cara” and Coburn to hold her high note in “Son vergin vezzosa.” Live with it. (Brownlee also sings the written but often inaccessible high F in “Credeo a misera.”) Otherwise, this is a wonderfully taut reading and, unlike José Lopez-Cobos who also conducts taut performances of bel canto operas, Orbelian injects life and feeling into the orchestra musicians. They do not sound like a bunch of automatons playing on autopilot.

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this recording and consider it the finest overall Puritani on the market.

The Art Music Lounge

Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 20, 2021

  • Catalog Number: DE 3537

  • UPC: 013491353722

  • Label: Delos

  • Number of Discs: 3

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Vincenzo Bellini

  • Conductor: Constantine Orbelian

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, Kaunas State Choir

  • Performer: Azamat Zheltyrguzov, Jovita Vaškevičiūtė, Lawrence Brownlee, Liudas Norvaisas, Sarah Coburn, Tadas Girininkas, Tomas Pavilionis


  1. I Puritani

    Composer: Vincenzo Bellini

    Ensemble: Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, Kaunas State Choir

    Performer: Lawrence Brownlee (Tenor), Sarah Coburn (Soprano), Azamat Zheltyrguzov (Baritone), Tadas Girininkas (Bass), Liudas Norvaišas (Bass), Tomas Pavilionos (Tenor), Jovita Vaškevičiūtė (Mezzo-Soprano)

    Conductor: Constantine Orbelian