Sinéad Pratschke

Sinéad Pratschke
Soprano Vocals

Sinéad Pratschke studied at the University of Western Ontario (B.Mus.), the Royal College of Music (M.Mus.) and the National Opera Studio of Great Britain. Summer courses have taken her to Tanglewood, USA, Banff, Canada, and the Britten-Pears School at Aldeburgh where she has worked with Graham Johnson, Elly Ameling, Suzanne Danco and Hugues Cuénod as well as Sergei Leiferkus, Martin Isepp and Phyllis Curtin among others. Operatic roles include Zélinde La Guirlande for Musikfestspiele Sanssouci, Berlin, Musetta La Boheme for Scottish Opera, creating the title role in Gwyneth and the Green Knight for Music Theatre Wales at the Royal Opera House, Tytania A Midsummer Night's Dream on tour in The Netherlands, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Thérèse in Les Mamelles de Tirésias for Pimlico Opera, The Dragon of Wantley (Margery) with Opera Restor'd at the Palau de la Musica, Barcelona, The Magic Flute (Pamina ) for Central Festival Opera and in concert at the Barbican Centre, London, Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Snape Maltings Proms and Opera Ontario, Candada, Orfeo ed Euridice (Euridice) for Opera Spezzata, Acis and Galatea (Galatea) for European Chamber Opera, Dorinda in Handel's Orlando for New Chamber Opera as well as Bastienne Bastien et Bastienne in a double bill alongside Haydn's L'Isola dishabitata for English Pocket Opera Company. Concert engagements have included Apollo e Dafne (Dafne) with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, J. S. Bach's Magnificat at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Judas Maccabaeus and Samson at the Maulbronn Handel Festival, Germany, Messiah with Le Parlement de Musique in Rennes, France, the Mozart Mass in C Minor at the Arlesheim Mozart Festival, Switzerland and the opening of the Guelph Civic Center in Canada. Recital appearances have included the Aldeburgh Festival and the Songmakers Almanac with Graham Johnson at St. John's, Smith Square. Her recordings include Judas Maccabaeus, Samson and Rodrigo's Ausencias de Dulcinea with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for EMI. Her numerous awards include grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is also teaches for the University of Guelph.
G. Fr. Handel · Judas MaccabaeusG. Fr. Handel · Judas Maccabaeus
George Frideric Handel
JUDAS MACCABAEUS
The English Oratorio HWV 63, performed according to the traditions of the time
by Sinéad Pratschke (Soprano), Catherine King (Mezzo-Soprano),
Charles Humphries (Countertenor), Mark Le Brocq (Tenor),
Christopher Purves (Bass), Musica Florea Prague,
and the Maulbronn Chamber Choir (Maulbronner Kammerchor)
Conductor: Jürgen Budday
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
HD Recording · DDD · Double Album · c. 150 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunes MasteredFor...Qobuz HDeClassicalPresto Classical HDReview

This is a drum beat...

The technical sounding, outstandingly successful recording supplies the discography of the work with an interesting and worth listening to variant on the recordings by Harnoncourt, Gardiner, Marriner and Creed...

Dr. Karl-Georg Berg, DIE RHEINPFALZ

Review

Oratorio in three movements, performed in a historical setting

G.F.Handel's oratorio in three movements, Judas Maccabaeus, is performed in English in a historical setting by Sinéad Pratschke, Catherine King, Charles Humphries, Mark LeBrocq, Christopher Purves, Maulbronner Kammerchor and Musica Florea Prag. Juergen Budday conducts this concert recording from the convent church in Maulbronn.

New Classics UK

Review

Excellent recording

This is an excellent recording of one of Handel's best and most popular oratorios, and is highly recommended...

Classical Music UK & The British Music Society

Review

A surprising, wonderful, buoyant HIP Judas Maccabaeus with an outstanding Sound

I actually received this recording by mistake, but this live performance of Handel's oratorio is absolutely excellent, a refreshing joy to listen to and to return to. For a long time my favorite Maccabaeus has been the Mackerras version on Archiv, with Janet Baker. This recording, conducted by Jurgen Budday, is an Historically Informed Performance, which means they used original instruments and techniques (less string vibrato, smaller orchestra sections with more transparent sound, men using falsetto in place of women in some parts, for example). I will compare the merits of these two. This Budday HIP performance has gotten under my skin for several reasons: the conducting is exciting and very tasteful; the DDD sound is outstanding; the soloists are excellent, fresh, and stylistically intelligent; the HIP orchestra is tight and accompanies the singing deftly! I had never even heard of Jurgen Budday before.
Mackerras is excellent too, so I am not abandoning that recording any time soon; that recording is ADD, on modern instruments, and not all the soloists sound as fresh or as idiomatic as they do on this Budday recording - which really opened my ears.
To begin with Budday's tempi are buoyant - not simply fast, but well sprung. There is an energy which I think comes in part from it being a live performance. Budday's performance is about 20 minutes shorter than Mackerras' and is thus on 2 disks instead of 3. Mackerras is also a lively conductor and knows his way around Handel; in many ways his performance is a revelation, he is very sensitive in the solo accompaniment, and there is never any feeling of dragging. It must be said that both conductors have put themselves at the service of this music - individual personalities do not emerge to over-interpret Handel's musical and dramatic intentions. The music is allowed to speak for itself in both recordings, and the big moments ("See the Conqu'ring Hero", for example) are given their full due, making great impact (and an interesting contrast) in either scale.
The digital sound on the Budday CDs is excellent, catching the details of the soloists, choir, and orchestra as if it were a studio recording, but with the added atmosphere of a live hall - it sounds absolutely great in my listening room (using Yamaha 200W amp, ADS 9 speakers, and Denon CD player equipment). The Mackerras recording has great studio sound which I would characterize as detailed and full, but less atmospheric since it's ADD and not live. It also sounds a little "closer", which is an artifact of being a studio recording.
Budday's soloists are all excellent and have beautiful voices! They all sound young, fresh, and in particular they sound as if they all live with this kind of music. They sing gloriously - bright and strong in the ensembles, tender and quite moving in solos and duets. The choir (Maulbronner Chamber Choir) is less massive than modern performances tend to use - and thus more detailed and clear, and in some places men use falsetto in place of women in some alto solos, to haunting effect. Mackerras' soloists are all great singers, some of whom are opera stars and others whom are known for HIP careers. Janet Baker in particular is simply captivating, and her duets with Felicity Palmer are quite moving. The Wandsworth School Choir, boys, sounds larger and fuller, thus less detailed and clear by comparison. I know some people feel boys choirs sound too homogeneous, but I think it works well here.
Budday's orchestra (Musica Florea Prag) uses original instruments and HIP techniques and they sound wonderful, you hear everything. The string sound is warm (early HIP performances could sound "dry" to modern ears). The playing is technically excellent, crisp, often breathtaking, and always very sensitive. Mackerras' orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, is closer to a modern symphony orchestra. They sound full and warm, with a richness that many listeners have become accustomed to, but they are also crisp and totally inside this music.
What to do, what to do? If you're looking for an accurate rendering of this music that is close to what Handel's audience heard, than this Budday recording is the one. If you're a Janet Baker fan (like I am), then Mackerras will be for you. If you prefer digital sound, then Budday is the way to go (although both sound great). If you like to hear the intricate details in the orchestra and chorus, well, then Budday is for you.
For me, I'll tell ya, I am glad I have both now. I simply cannot make up my mind and I love them both!

R. Nadel 'Opinion Above Knowledge!' (Boulder, CO, USA) on Amazon.com

George Fr. Handel · SamsonGeorge Fr. Handel · Samson
George Frideric Handel:
S A M S O N
The English Oratorio HWV 57,
performed according to the traditions of the time
by Sinéad Pratschke (Soprano), Michael Chance (Countertenor),
Mark Le Brocq (Tenor), Raimund Nolte (Baritone),
David Thomas (Bass), Monastery Baroque Orchestra,
Maulbronn Chamber Choir (Maulbronner Kammerchor)
Conductor: Jürgen Budday
A concert recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery
DDD · Double Album · c. 150 Minutes
2 CD
EUR 33,00SpotifyDeezerNapsterGoogle PlayApple MusicAmazon MusicTidaliTunesReview

An impressive oratorio

Samson, an impressive oratorio in three movements Georg F. Handel, is performed in a historical setting by Sinéad Pratschke, Michael Chance, Marc LeBrocq, Raimund Nolte, David Thomas, Maulbronner Kammerchor and Barockorchester der Klosterkonzerte. Juergen Budday conducts this double-CD box set concert recording made at the convent church in Maulbronn in 1999.

New Classics UK

Review

Highly recommended

...The sound in this monastery is excellent. This is a beautiful recording of one of Handel's finest oratorios, and is highly recommended.

Classical Music UK & The British Music Society

Review

***** I could not be happier with this superb recording

I have been listening to Jephtha and Samson quite extensively, and I must say that these two recordings are truly impressive. First, the cast of soloists is an absolutely superb assembly of historically-informed performers. It would be hard to find singers any better than Emma Kirkby, Steven Varcoe, Michael Chance. I found all of the performances by the soloists nearly impeccable.
Second, I suspected that the recordings themselves might be filled with ambient and background noises since these were the result of live performances.
I have been extremely pleased with the technical aspects of the recordings: they are 'clean' and clear with very little extraneous sounds. The engineering of these recordings is highly commendable!!
Finally, the orchestral playing by the Barockorchester der Klosterkonzerte and the participation of the Maulbronner Kammerchor are nearly flawless. The string playing is especially strong, and the choruses - filled with drama and emotion - are executed at the highest possible level. Even the pronunciation and intonation of the English is perfect.
In sum, I could not be happier with these two superb recordings. Already possessing several recorded versions of each of these masterful oratorios, I felt that it would be difficult to match the strength and quality of, for example, the performance under John Elliot Gardiner.
These two new additions by K&K Verlagsanstalt to the recorded Handel repertoire are magnificent models, exemplary of how to bring these monumental works to life for the modern audience. The crisp, clear recording, the excellent engineering, the incredible acoustics, the superb performances make these two of the best Handel compact discs I have purchased in a long time.
I should be most happy if you would keep my name on your mailing list, since I would like to be informed when your fine enterprise releases any more Baroque repertoire. These are performances to be treasured and are of the highest caliber of historically-informed practice.

Thomas R. McCallum (USA) on Amazon.com

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