Gerald Barry's riotous opera brings out the savagery beneath the genteel Edwardian manners of Wilde's play: its score includes gunshots, whistling and speaking from the orchestral players, marching boots, and the smashing of 40 dinner plates, while its characters - among them Lady Bracknell sung by bass Alan Ewing - shout through gales, quote Schiller's Ode to Joy (in German) and make polite conversation through megaphones.

Barbara Hannigan soprano            Cecily Cardew
Peter Tantsits tenor                      Jack Worthing
Joshua Bloom baritone                  Algernon Moncrieff
Katalin Károlyi mezzo-soprano       Gwendolen Fairfax
Hilary Summers contralto              Miss Prism
Alan Ewing bass                            Lady Bracknell
Benjamin Bevan bass                    Lane/Merriman
Joshua Hart speaker                      Dr Chasuble

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Thomas Adès conductor

‘Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest seems to have achieved the status of a contemporary classic. This riotous recording by BCMG under Thomas Adès is sure to help its fame and popularity spread ... The pyrotechnics of soprano Barbara Hannigan as Cecily are pretty unbeatable’ Opera Now ★★★★★

'Barry's operatic take on Oscar Wilde's most famous play emerges as vividly on disc as it has subsequently done in the opera house ... the expert performances [are to be] marvelled at' Guardian

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