The collaboration between pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi and composer/pianist Roberto Piana continues with Opera Fantasies on a Steinway.
Puccini’s “La bohème” and Bizet’s “Carmen” are the protagonists here. Two masterpieces that, inexplicably, have inspired very few elaborations for the piano.
Following up on two well-received Steinway & Sons albums, Napoli and The Rascal and the Sparrow, the collaboration between pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi and composer/pianist Roberto Piana continues with Opera Fantasies on a Steinway (STNS 30169). Piana's grand operatic fantasies on two masterpieces, Bizet's Carmen and Puccini's La bohème, are world premiere recordings.
“Piana knows how to craft virtuoso writing that draws maximum effect from the piano, and Pompa-Baldi has the chops and musical sensitivity to make every track irresistible.”
“With these two works, it was my intention to go well past the mere imitation, to avoid empty mannerisms and try to make the genre current, relevant today. I am convinced that Fantasies can still be laboratories for the most probing research in the field of music elaboration.”
“The warmth and beauty of Puccini are given their full due by both Piana and Pompa-Baldi, and the piquancy and exoticism of Bizet come through equally clearly. Operagoers will relish hearing familiar tunes throughout both these fantasies, expanded and rearranged and varied and combined.”
“Antonio Pompa-Baldi successfully negotiates Piana's bridge between virtuoso display and the operas' compelling narratives...Throughout, Pompa-Baldi reminds us of the profound connection between grand singing and great instrumental performance.”
“Pompa-Baldi allows us to wallow in this glorious retro-like return to the past and thrill to the creative skill that pieces all of these parts together in Lisztian and Thalbergian style. Piana clearly loves this music and embraces it with a panoply of bright colors.”
American Record Guide
Opera Fantasies on a Steinway / Antonio Pompa-Baldi • STNS 30169
Release Date: 02/05/2021
Recorded November 10, 2019 and May 1, 2020 at Steinway Hall, New York City.
Producer: Jon Feidner
Engineer: Lauren Sclafani
Assistant Engineer: Melody Nieun Hwang
Production Assistant: Renée Oakford
Mixing and Mastering: Daniel Shores
Executive Producers: Eric Feidner, Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
Piano Technician: Lauren Sturm
Piano: Steinway Model D # 610511 (Hamburg)
About the Artists
Born and raised in Foggia, Italy, Antonio Pompa-Baldi won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1999 and embarked on a multifaceted career that continues to extend across five continents.
A top prize winner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France, Antonio Pompa-Baldi also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Pompa-Baldi studied with two important exponents of the great Neapolitan School: Annamaria Pennella and Aldo Ciccolini. He also received guidance in masterclass settings from Paul Badura-Skoda and Jörg Demus.
Mr. Pompa-Baldi appears at the world’s major concert venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Shanghai’s Grand Theatre, and Paris’ Salle Pleyel, to name a few.
He has collaborated with leading conductors including Hans Graf, James Conlon, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Louis Lane, Benjamin Zander, and Keith Lockhart. He has performed with ensembles and colleagues such as Takacs String Quartet, Alison Balsom, Sharon Robinson, and principals of the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Juilliard Quartet, among others.
With a concerto repertoire including more than 60 works, Pompa-Baldi recently performed cycles of all the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos, the five Beethoven Piano Concertos, and both Brahms Concertos with various orchestras. He has played recitals in most major venues over the world.
Mr. Pompa-Baldi has recorded over 30 CDs to date, for various labels including Steinway & Sons, Centaur Records, Harmonia Mundi, Brilliant Classics, TwoPianists, and Azica.
Pompa-Baldi is a Steinway Artist. He teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and gives masterclasses for many leading Universities, Music Schools, Conservatories and Festivals all over the world.
In 2015, Pompa-Baldi founded the Todi International Music Masters festival, where he serves as Artistic Director and Faculty Member. This summer festival takes place every August in the beautiful Italian town of Todi. It features 15 concerts in 15 days, with internationally renowned faculty members, and piano students from all over the world.
Pianist and composer Roberto Piana was born in Sassari, on the Italian island of Sardinia, in 1971. He perfected his studies with numerous famous pianists, but owes his training to Isabella Lo Porto, with whom he graduated in piano studies with top marks, at the Music Conservatory of Sassari.
As a pianist, he has performed with great success in numerous theaters such as Rond Point on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, Teatro Regio in Turin, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, University of Saint Petersburg, Russia, as well as in cities such as Ajaccio, Arnhem, Barcelona, Brussels, Charleroi, Düsseldorf, Effretikon, Lausanne, Liège, Mons, Stuttgart, and Zurich. Since 1994, he has authored essays, books, and CDs (Stradivarius, Da Vinci Classics, Amadeus, Tactus, Documenta Edizioni, Suonare News).
As a composer, Roberto Piana is the author of piano, vocal, chamber and symphonic music performed in important festivals all over the world (Newport Festival, Chopin Festival in Duszniki Zdroj, »Rarities of Piano Music« at Husum Castle, Lang Lang International Piano Festival in Shenzhen, Mostly Modern Festival, International Russian Music Piano Competition-San Jose), and many cities across the United States, Russia, Japan, Italy, England, South Africa, and Israel.
The scores of his compositions have been published by Bèrben, Les Productions d’OZ, Da Vinci Edition, Editoriale Documenta, and Edizioni Musicali Wicky. Many of his compositions can be heard on CDs released by labels such as Steinway & Sons, Centaur Records, Music & Arts, Brilliant Classics, and TwoPianists. Recently, he composed twenty elaborations on Neapolitan songs that were recorded by pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi for the Steinway & Sons label.
Mr. Piana is professor of piano at the Sassari Conservatory of Music.
About Steinway & Sons label
The STEINWAY & SONS music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of STEINWAY & SONS, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.