Kaunas may be Lithuania’s second city when it comes to size, but its artistic reputation is first-rate thanks to its excellent symphony orchestra. In recent years, the American Delos label has forged a special relationship with Kaunas, producing a series of impressive operatic studio recordings featuring the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky as well as recital discs, including two with American bel cantowiz Lawrence Brownlee. This latest offering, featuring Bellini’s mellifluous swansong I Puritani, may just be their finest to date, conducted as usual by Constantine Orbelian, with Brownlee joined by the excellent American coloratura soprano Sarah Coburn.

Bellini

I Puritani(The Puritans) was Bellini’s final opera before his death at the tragically early age of 33. A bumpily scripted historical romance set in the English Civil War, its tale of love and betrayal involving Roundheads and Cavaliers has never quite achieved the popularity of Normaor Sonnambula, which is a pity as it shows the composer building on his earlier work, and musically it contains some of his...