Laurent Naouri

Baritone

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Donizetti: Le Duc d’Albe

Donizetti: Le Duc d’Albe


Angela Meade (Hélène d’Egmont), Michael Spyres (Henri de Bruges), Laurent Naouri (Le Duc d'Albe), Gianluca Buratto (Daniel Brauer), David Stout (Sandoval), Trystan Llyr Griffiths (Carlos), Robin Tritschler (Balbuena), Dawid Kimberg (Un Tavernier)

Hallé & Opera Rara Chorus, Sir Mark Elder

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here, and our exclusive interview with Michael Spyres here.

Le Duc d’Albe stars the glorious American soprano Angela Meade, making her debut recording for Opera Rara. Joining Angela, and returning to Opera Rara following his astonishing performance on the label’s award-winning recording of Donizetti’s Les Martyrs, is tenor Michael Spyres, as well as Laurent Naouri, who recently sang on our recording of Gounod’s La Colombe.

“the score’s so involving and appealing, and the performance so gripping that I won’t pretend I wasn’t dreaming of what Donizetti might have done with dramatic denouement...With a big, bright, mettlesome instrument that easily encompasses the role’s wide range, American soprano Angela Meade is formidable as Hélène...it’s hard not to be knocked sideways by the sheer vocal charisma of Michael Spyres.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 26th February 2016

“Imaginative casting brings together authoritative soprano Angela Meade, stylish tenor Michael Spyres and elegant French baritone Laurent Naouri. Mark Elder conducts a cultivated performance with the Hallé.” Financial Times, 26th February 2016 ****

“under Mark Elder’s propulsive baton, the highlights keep coming...Spyres’s clarion tenor shines throughout as Henri. Angela Meade’s soprano is squally in Hélène’s act one rabble-rousing, but commanding in all the right ways in act two, and Laurent Naouri and David Stout are excellent as the Duke and his snarling henchman.” The Guardian, 3rd March 2016 ****

“Certainly, this recording is worth hearing, above all for the thrilling male leads. Is there a better tenor today than Michael Spyres? He makes Henri’s fiendish music sound easy. Laurent Naouri as the Duke and Gianluca Buratto as the Flemish leader, Brauer, are superb, too.” Sunday Times, 6th March 2016

“Opera Rara has decided here only to record what is largely Donizetti’s own music, which means just the first two acts…so what we have is but a torso, tantalising and inevitably positing several major what-ifs. And it’s all the more tantalising since the first two acts are dispatched with all the style and élan we’ve come to expect from Mark Elder in this music, here with the Hallé. He brings conviction, stylistic nous and a wonderful airy clarity to the score.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2016

“Elder's complete command of Donizettian atmosphere...and pacing...makes it clear that the essential grand opera conflict...stimulated the composer to even greater directness and iommediacy...than are apparent at the start of Les Martyrs...[Spyres] produces a peerless combination of eloquent French utterance. fearless musicianship and unfailingly beautiful tone.” Opera, May 2016

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26th February 2016

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Fiançailles pour rire - French Songs

Fiançailles pour rire - French Songs


includes

Chabrier:

Chanson pour Jeanne

Chausson:

Chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37

Laurent Naouri (baritone)

Quatuor Ebene

Le temps des lilas

Le Colibri, Op. 2 No. 7 (de Lisle)

Duparc:

Au pays ou se fait la guerre

Soupir

Extase

Fauré:

Après un rêve, Op. 7 No. 1

En sourdine, Op. 58 No. 2 (Verlaine)

Mandoline, Op. 58 No. 1 (Verlaine)

Clair de Lune, Op. 46 No. 2

Prison, Op. 83 No. 1

Spleen, Op. 51 No. 3 (Verlaine)

Poulenc:

Fiançailles pour rire, FP101

Colloque

Laurent Naouri (baritone)

Trois poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin


Natalie Dessay (soprano), Philippe Cassard (piano)

For their second Warner Classics album of French song – a follow-up to the Debussy CD they released in 2011 – soprano Natalie Dessay and pianist Philippe Cassard have adopted the title of Francis Poulenc’s song cycle Fiançailles pour rire (A betrothal for fun). Poulenc’s compact, charming and touching cycle, composed in 1939 to poems by Louise de Vilmorin, is heard alongside some of the best-loved mélodies in the repertoire, such as Fauré’s ‘Après un rêve’, ‘Mandoline’, and ‘En sourdine’, Duparc’s ‘Invitation au voyage’ and ‘Au pays où se fait la guerre’, and Chausson’s ‘Le temps des lilas’ and ‘Chanson perpetuelle’. On this new disc Nathalie Dessay and her regular duo partner Philippe Cassard also enjoy the company of some old friends: in Chausson’s ‘Chanson perpetuelle’ the soprano is joined by the Quatuor Ebène and by the bass-baritone Laurent Naouri – who is, as it happens, her husband. Naouri also duets with her on the final track of the album, Poulenc’s haunting ‘Colloque’, a setting of words by Paul Valéry.

“As one might expect…from an artist who once styled herself an actress first and a singer second, Dessay can be idiosyncratic: if you value sound over sense in this repertoire, you might need a period of adjustment before her strengths become apparent…Cassard is wonderfully elegant, refined and super-subtle throughout…stick with the disc if you're unsure of it at first hearing - it takes its time to fully yield its secrets and get under your skin.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2015

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Legrand: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)

Legrand: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)

By Michel Legrand & Jacques Demy. Symphonic Version – World Premiere. Sung in French


Marie Oppert (Geneviève Emery), Natalie Dessay (Madame Emery), Vincent Niclo (Guy Foucher), Laurent Naouri (Roland Cassard), Louise Leterme (Madeleine)

Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France, Michel Legrand (conductor) & Vincent Vittoz (stage director)

Recorded live at Paris’ Châtelet Theatre in Autumn 2014, this is a magical stage adaptation of Jacques Demy’s iconic 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Michel Legrand conducts a 75-piece symphony orchestra in his own hauntingly lyrical score, while the pivotal role of Madame Emery is taken by soprano Natalie Dessay, renewing the collaboration she established with Legrand on the 2013 Erato album Entre elle et lui.

The 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) – directed by Jacques Demy, with a score by Michel Legrand and starring a young and luminous Catherine Deneuve – is an international icon of French culture. For millions of people around the world, its haunting love theme – known in English as ‘I Will Wait For You’ – exemplifies Legrand’s musical style.

Before this production at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris in Autumn 2014, staged versions of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg had been mounted in New York and Paris (in 1979) and in London (2011), but this was the first to feature a full-size symphony orchestra – the 75 members of the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, conducted by Legrand himself.

It was also the first production to feature two singers celebrated for their achievements on the operatic stage: Natalie Dessay, who plays Madame Emery, the proprietor of an umbrella shop in the Normandy port of Cherbourg and mother of 17-year-old Geneviève (the character originally played by Catherine Deneuve), and Laurent Naouri, Natalie Dessay’s real-life husband, as the wealthy Parisian jeweller Roland Cassard, who courts Geneviève, even though she is pregnant by another man – her true love, Guy, who, since the action takes place in 1957, has been drafted to fight in the war in Algeria.

Both Dessay and Naouri captured the spirit and style of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg perfectly. As Michel Legrand himself has said, it occupies a special place between the world of the musical and the world of opera, since all the dialogue is sung rather than spoken. Jacques Demy died in 1990, but the fluidity of his screenplay was captured at the Châtelet by director Vincent Vittoz in an imaginative and witty semi-staged production. Rather than evoking the intensely vivid visual language of the film, the show was unashamedly and brilliantly theatrical, placing the orchestra on stage with the singers and making use of simple, flexible decor of charming cut-outs based on drawings by Jean-Jacques Sempé, famous for his cartoons for magazines such as Paris Match and The New Yorker.

This is not the first time Dessay, Legrand and Naouri have collaborated on a project for Erato: Naouri was one of the guest artists on the best-selling 2013 album Entre elle et lui, on which Dessay and Legrand performed 18 of Legrand’s songs. On the stage at the Châtelet they were joined by Marie Oppert – like her character, Geneviève, a 17-year-old – and, in the role of Guy, the popular light tenor Vincent Niclo. The 82-year-old Legrand, meanwhile, made a surprise entrance at the opening of the show, wearing an elegant raincoat and wielding a yellow umbrella.

Welcoming a “a wonderful evening of nostalgia” Le Figaro had special praise for Natalie Dessay’s “astonishing musical and theatrical intelligence”, while Le Point, describing the production as “a magically refined interpretation” and the score as “marvellous – both sophisticated and heartbreaking”, lauded the entire cast, but singled out young Marie Oppert as “a real revelation”. The US magazine Opera News, meanwhile, wrote that: “The composer [Legrand] conducted his own enriched orchestration with age-defying energy and was rewarded with superb playing from the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France ... There was a standing ovation from the first-night audience; nobody would dare begrudge them this classy piece of nostalgia.”

“Retro - convincing and moving” MusicWeb International, July 2015

“Legrand's music possessed an immediately communicative charm that few can match...Marie Oppert takes on Deneuve’s mantle gracefully and Vincent Niclo makes a handsome Guy, but the show is rather stolen by Natalie Dessay – recently retired from the operatic stage but still a superb singing actress – as Madame Emery.” The Telegraph, 19th July 2015 ****

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Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann


Michael Spyres (Hoffmann), Kathleen Kim (Olympia), Natalie Dessay (Antonia), Tatiana Pavlovskaya (Giulietta), Michèle Losier (La muse, Nicklausse), Laurent Naouri (Lindorf, Coppélius, Docteur Miracle, Dapertutto), Manel Esteve (Spalanzani), Carlos Chausson (Crespel), Isaac Galán (Peter Schlémil), Francisco Vas (Andrès, Cochenille, Frantz, Pitichinaccio)

Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Stéphane Denève (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (stage director)

Warner Classics & Erato DVD catalogue already contains several characteristically stylish and imaginative productions by the French opera director Laurent Pelly: Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Handel’s Giulio Cesare. The last three all star Natalie Dessay, and now she and Pelly are reunited once again, this time for Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, staged at Barcelona’s Liceu opera house in early 2013.

Based on the stories of the influential German writer ETA Hoffmann, filled with magic, dark humour and grotesquerie, Les Contes d’Hoffmann has a complex structure with three acts in ‘flashback’ as the drunken poet Hoffmann recalls three unhappy love affairs.The opera itself has a complex history too, since Offenbach died before completing it, and it exists in a number of editions. This performance used the version prepared by Michael Kaye and Jean-Christophe Keck, which has been welcomed for its dramatic power. As the Los Angeles Daily News said: “Kaye’s edition clarifies, intensifies, redefines and transforms Hoffmann into a more unified and ultimately more powerful work.”

Pelly’s production looks unusually dark and sober, while the monumental elements of the decor move smoothly around the singers, dominating them in sinister fashion. The staging has also been in seen in San Francisco, where it was greeted thus by Opera Today: “Pelly’s production is magnificent, making E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short horror stories into a dream fantasy where anything real becomes surreal, where anything physical is ephemeral ... Images appear and disappear without a logic, as stream-of-unconscious. Pelly’s conceit is based on the Olympia episode ... where magic dissolves into stagecraft when Olympia [an animated doll rather than a real woman] is revealed as a manipulation of three stagehands. We then become conscious that the continuous flow of images is effected by the most basic level of stage mechanics — men pushing scenery and men pulling ropes. And we become even more amazed by the intelligence behind the when and how of it all. It is a diabolical staging in an opera where there is nothing but diabolical manipulation of ... nothing.”

Natalie Dessay takes the role of Antonia, Hoffmann’s beloved in the most substantial and tragic of the three episodes, bringing her delicate presence and immaculate French style to the character of a young, physically fragile woman whose talent – singing – is finally fatal to her. The automaton Olympia is sung by the charming coloratura soprano Kathleen Kim, who rose to fame in the role at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Hoffmann’s third love, the Venetian courtesan Giulietta is embodied by the sensual mezzo-soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya, and his loyal friend Nicklausse by another mezzo-soprano, the elegant Canadian singer Michèle Losier. Hoffmann’s nemesis, who takes the form of four different characters, is incarnated by the superb French bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, while Hoffmann himself is the young American tenor Michael Spyres, who has shot to prominence over recent seasons with his prowess in 19th century French opera and bel canto. The conductor is Stéphane Denève, of whom the British critic David Nice, writing for The Arts Desk, recently said: “I can honestly say there’s no conductor alive I’d rather hear in French music.”

Region-free NTSC (compatible with all modern PAL players)

Audio 5.1, Stereo / 16:9

Subtitles: French, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Catalan

“The production belongs to Laurent Naouri who finds something truly distinctive in each of his portraits...Dessay is remarkable as Antonia...If Michael Spyres's Hoffmann isn't quite the centre of his own tales nevertheless he sounds a properly French tenor. Stephane Denève in the pit keeps the tension rising.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 ****

“Pelly's production...is straightforward: no gimmicks...The women are all good...If Michael Spyres doesn't have quite enough heft, his portrayal of the title-role, dishevelled or elegant, carries conviction. Laurent Naouri is outstanding as the villains. Stéphane Denève whips up the excitement where required.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2014

“Pelly’s production is neat and traditional and he elicits some strong performances. Stéphane Denève conducts an appropriately large-boned account of the score...Spyres’ Hoffmann is very much in the lyric mode...his singing is stylish, his French good, and his chubby innocence suits the role.” Opera Now ****

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Offenbach: Orphée aux Enfers

Offenbach: Orphée aux Enfers


Yann Beuron (Orphée), Natalie Dessay (Euridice), Laurent Naouri (Jupiter), Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (Pluton-Aristée), Ewa Podles (L'Opinion Publique), Patricia Petibon (Cupidon), Jennifer Smith (Diane), Veronique Gens (Vénus), Steven Cole (John Styx), Virginie Pochon (Minerve), Etienne Lescroart (Mercure)

Grenoble Chamber Orchestra & Lyon Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Marc Minkowski

Recording Country: France

Recording Location: 2-5 December 1997, Opera de Lyon

Mix Date: 5 Dec 1997

Executive Producer: Alain Lanceron

Producer: Daniel Zalay

Engineer: Raymond Buttin

Editor: Yves Baudry

“Both the 'earthly' leads are superb: Natalie Dessay's secure, clear coloratura is well employed as the nagging wife...and one feels sorry for her hapless husband, Orphee, amiably characterized by Yann Beuron...From the opening bars, Minkowski's approach is apparent in the sparkling, crystal-clear textures, and he propels the opera along at a tremendous pace and with a bouncing rhythmic bite” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition **/***

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Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

Sung in French


Natalie Dessay (Mélisande), Stéphane Degout (Pelléas), Laurent Naouri (Golaud), Philip Ens (Arkel), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Geneviève), Tim Mirfin (Physician/Shepherd), Beate Ritter (Yniold)

Radio-SymphonieOrchester Wien & Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Bertrand De Billy (direction) & Laurent Pelly (stage director)

Premiere at Theater an der Wien /Das Neue Operhaus - January 13, 2009.

Filmed by ORF

Soprano Natalie Dessay leaves the dizzy heights of Bellini’s Amina, Donizetti’s Marie and Massenet’s Manon to inhabit the more discreet emotional and vocal world of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande with a cast of fellow francophones.

“There’s more to life than top notes,” Natalie Dessay has said. She has, of course, made her reputation with the florid, stratospheric heroines of Romantic French and Italian opera, but in this new DVD from Vienna she portrays a heroine who presents few opportunities for vocal display, but many for subtle characterisation – Debussy’s Mélisande. Dessay had sung the role just once before, in concert in Edinburgh in 2005. Pelléas et Mélisande is full of ambiguity and its vocal lines closely reflect Maurice Maeterlink’s often enigmatic text. A few unaccompanied, ballad-like phrases are the closest Mélisande gets to an aria.

For this production, premiered in January 2009 at the Theater an der Wien, Dessay’s French and French-Canadian colleagues included stage director Laurent Pelly -- celebrated for riotous comedy (notably La fille de regiment with Dessay, also a Virgin Classics DVD – and his preferred designer, Chantal Thomas; Dessay’s real-life husband, bass-baritone Laurent Naouri as her jealous stage husband, Golaud; the lyric baritone Stéphane Degout as her Pelléas, and the contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux as his and Golaud’s mother, Geneviève. The high-calibre Gallic line-up was completed by conductor Bertrand de Billy.

Opera News reported: “In a pre-production interview, Dessay admitted that Mélisande poses few vocal challenges, noting that the role lies comfortably enough for both sopranos and lightweight mezzos. Indeed, the role is vocally a good fit for her — splendid, in fact … Every stage direction was scrupulously followed …Naouri, Dessay's real-life husband, particularly commanded the evening with his Golaud — gut-wrenching, magnificently sung and unusually young. For once, it seemed that Golaud and Pelléas really could be half-brothers, and Degout was Naouri's match, singing with gorgeous burnished tone and erotic passion. The magnificent Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, under Bertrand de Billy, dominated the proceedings with a rapturous performance. “

Le Monde wrote that: “The orchestra exuded a subtly poisonous Debussy with a throbbing vein of Wagner, bruised by the Symbolism of Maurice Maeterlinck. Pelly excels in comedy, but here he took Pelléas towards the depths of Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher [a subject explored by Debussy in an unfinished opera]… in Chantal Thomas’ mangrove-swamp décor, with its tall smooth columns (tree trunks or pillars?), shipwrecked remains, stylised rocks and curtains of lianas … With her flowing blue dress and long blonde hair Dessay was indeed like ‘a bird from somewhere else’ [a quotation from the libretto]… Stephane Degout was brimming with vocal sex appeal … Laurent Naouri provided an exemplary portrayal of Golaud.”

The Wiener Zeitung praised Laurent Pelly for bringing “a psychological dimension to the symbolically charged language. At his disposal was an ensemble of singers capable of the most refined interpretation, above all Natalie Dessay … who portrayed her character with the most delicate nuances and verbal flexibility, encompassing both vocal radiance and broken utterance … Billy’s interpretation embraced detail, concentration and intense expanses of sound. He followed the singers’ every word. On the first night the audience cheered singers, orchestras and conductor unreservedly.”

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian

“a stellar cast featuring Natalie Dessay, Stéphane Degout and Laurent Naouri lead a performance in which the subtle psychological and emotional strangeness of the opera is enhanced by Laurent Pelly's organic staging.” David Smith, Presto Classical, September 2014

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Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne (Paris Life)

Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne (Paris Life)


Marc Callahan (Bobinet), Jean-Sébastien Bou (Raoul de Gardefeu), Maria Riccarda Wesseling (Métella), Laurent Naouri (Le Baron de Gondremarck), Michelle Canniccioni (La Baronne de Gondremarck), Marie Devellereau (Gabrielle), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Frick), Jesus Garcia (Le Brésilien)

Chœurs et Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon, Sébastien Rouland (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (stage director)

Associate Director Agathe Mélinand

Set designs Chantal Thomas

Costume designs Laurent Pelly

Choreography Laura Scozzi

Lighting Joël Adam

Dialogue adaptation Agathe Mélinand

After La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, and La Fille du régiment, Virgin Classics develops its DVD catalogue with yet a new stage production by renowned director Laurent Pelly (his 3rd for the label) accompanied by his assistant Agathe Mélinand who again adapted the dialogues as in the other productions. Filmed in Lyons during the performances (18th December – 1st January 2008) the production and the cast re-enacted in our moderns times the satirical portrayal of Parisian life in the Second Empire.

The performances were a hit: Laurent Pelly brought to Offenbach’s operetta all the gusto and humour the subject calls for – his staging is wild and frenzied. La Vie parisienne was Offenbach's first full-length piece to portray contemporary Parisian life, unlike his earlier period pieces and mythological subjects. It became one of Offenbach's most popular operettas.

The production brings together on stage a rich cast of singers - of which Laurent Naouri, Natalie Dessay’s husband - from the US, France, Italy and under Sébastien Rouland’s lively baton.

“A popular hit …. Previously overexposed in France, Pelly’s successes abroad have given us a breathing space. It is good to see him back and on such sparkling form. Aided and abetted by his usual high-octane team, Agathe Mélinand for the adapted dialogue and Chantal Thomas for the wonderful sets, Pelly convincingly updates this satire on hedonistic Second Empire morals to the present day.” Financial Times

“The curtain rises on a decidedly modern rebuild of the Gare St-Lazare - so is this Offenbach's operetta or Laurent Pelly's? Pelly, one of the most imaginative of a new generation of French stage directors, has dragged La vie parisienne into our own time. In this stylish production from Lyon Opera, the overture plays over an illuminated map of the Métro, the backdrop in Acts II and III is a Paris street map, and the Brazilian millionaire's bal masqué takes place in a brasserie chicly stuffed with street furniture and a bus. Yet, the music and the libretto are allowed to speak for themselves as loud and clear as they always have done. ...best of all are the servants who masquerade as aristocrats at the Act III dinner to fool Gondremark.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 *****

“Both these productions by Laurent Pelly of classic Offenbach opéras-bouffes are somewhat radical in their staging. Neither of them presents the works in a way one would choose to see very often, but they are performed with such vigour and vaudevillian élan that it's hard to resist their appeal.
La vie parisienne was conceived by Offenbach's librettists, Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, as an entertainment for and about the hordes of tourists visiting Paris for the 1867 Exposition Universelle. Pelly and his designer Chantal Thomas update it to the present, so that instead of waiting for the train in Act 1, the two heroes, Bobinet and Raoul de Gardefeu, are in the arrivals section of an international airport. This scene is punctuated by many irritating announcements over the loudspeakers. To a large extent this spoils the scene, so it's a relief when it changes to Raoul's exquisitely minimalist apartment.
Here the action perks up with the arrival of Marie Devellereau as the glove-seller, Gabrielle, and Jean-Paul Fouchécourt as Frick, the bootmaker. The riotous finale, as the tabled'hôte guests are summoned to dinner, really goes with a swing. Best of all is Act 3, when all the girls, impersonating aristocrats, arrive in haute-couture black gowns and march around like catwalk mannequins. In particular, Brigitte Hool as Pauline joins Laurent Naouri as the duped Swedish baron in a splendid account of 'O, beau nuage'. The finale, culminating in the ensemble 'Tout tourne, tout danse' really won me over. The last act is in a somewhat sleazy disco, but again the sheer energy of the dancing and the whole spirit of irreverence is so well caught that one feels like joining in the applause.
Sébastien Rouland leads the orchestra and chorus of the Lyon Opéra in a performance that is true to the spirit, if not the letter, of the work.
Jean-Sébastien Bou and Marc Callahan as Raoul and Bobinet make a terrific pair of womanising socialites, Jesus Garcia a vigorous Brésilien, and in her few moments Michelle Canniccioni is suitably eager as the Baroness out to savour the delights of Paris.
Musically, La Belle Hélène from the Châtelet is a stronger proposition. The production is even more extreme, everything happening as if in the dream of a suburban housewife, played by Dame Felicity Lott with her usual mixture of restraint and comic irony. Everyone is consequently in pyjamas and night attire a lot of the time. (The same recording has been issued on CD from Virgin). Yann Beuron is a salty Paris, and the presence of Michel Sénéchal, François Le Roux and again Laurent Naouri ensures that vocal values triumph over some of the excesses of the production.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Pelly and his designer Chantal Thomas update it to the present, so that instead of waiting for the train in Act 1, the two heroes, Bobinet and Raoul de Gardefeu, are in the arrivals section of an international airport. The finale, culminating in the ensemble "Tout tourne, tout danse" really won me over. The last act is in a somewhat sleazy disco, but again the sheer energy of the dancing and the whole spirit of irreverence is so well caught that one feels like joining in the applause. Sébastian Rouland leads the orchestra and chorus of the Lyon Opéra in a performance that is true to the spirit, if not the letter, of the work.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2009

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Bizet: Carmen

Bizet: Carmen

Recorded live at the Glyndebourne Opera House, Sussex, on 17th August 2002.


Anne Sofie von Otter (Carmen), Marcus Haddock (Don José), Laurent Naouri (Escamillo), Lisa Milne (Micaëla), Mary Hegarty (Frasquita), Christine Rice (Mercédès), Colin Judson (Remendado), Quentin Hayes (Dancaïre), Hans Voschezang (Moralès), Jonathan Best (Zuniga)

The Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philippe Jordan (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)

David McVicar’s exhilarating production, with Sofie von Otter in the title role, restores the Opera Comique to Bizet’s masterpiece. Philippe Jordan, in his Glyndebourne debut, conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Glyndebourne Chorus and a cast which includes Marcus Haddock, Laurent Naouri and Lisa Milne.

‘Under the shrewd direction of McVicar, Anne Sofie von Otter gave us a gypsy of mercurial temperament, a tease, a dangerous flirt, and a woman intensely conscious of her sexual magnetism and of her public notoriety.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Violent, passionate, superbly played…Glyndebourne’s Carmen is simply gripping’ The Sunday Times

Note: This Blu-ray Disc (BD) is not compatible with standard DVD players

PICTURE FORMAT: 1080i
LENGTH: 228 Mins
SOUND: 2.0 & 5.1 DOLBY TRUE HD
SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES

“In the grip of violent emotions, Anne Sofie von Otter paints a complete 'Carmen'” Los Angeles Times

“A fantastic two-disc set...a performance that truly is what opera theoretically aspires to be: sung drama” New York Times

“Violent, passionate,superbly played…Glyndebourne's Carmen is simply gripping” Sunday Times

“Under the shrewd direction of McVicar, Anne Sofie von Otter gave us a gypsy of mercurial temperament, a tease, a dangerous flirt, and a woman intensely conscious of her sexual magnetism and of her public notoriety” The Telegraph

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Lamenti

Lamenti


Carissimi:

Lamento della Maria Stuarda

Patrizia Ciofi (soprano)

Cavalli:

Hipparco, e di Climene, Lamento d’Egisto

Rolando Villazón (tenor)

Acate, Ilioneo, Lamento di Enea

Topi Lehtipuu (tenor)

Alle ruine del mio regno, Lamento d’Ecuba e Cassandra

Marie-Nicole Lemieux (alto) & Patrizia Ciofi (soprano)

Cesti:

Dure noie, Lamento d’Atamante

Laurent Naouri (bass-baritone)

Landi, S:

Superbe colli

Christopher Purves (baritone)

Monteverdi:

Lamento della Ninfa (Book 8)

Natalie Dessay (soprano), Simon Wall (tenor), Topi Lehtipuu (tenor) & Christopher Purves (baritone)

Lamento d'Arianna 'Lasciatemi morire'

Véronique Gens (soprano)

Addio Roma! (from L'incoronazione di Poppea)

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)

Tu se’ morta mia vita, Lamento d’Orfeo

Rolando Villazón (tenor)

Strozzi:

L'Eraclito amoroso 'Udite amanti'

Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)


Le Concert Astrée, Emmanuelle Haim

Emmanuelle Haim follows her 2006 recording of Monteverdi’s Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with an unusual and inventive programme on the theme of the Lamento, the literary and dramatic form that found its seventeenth-century musical archetype in Monteverdi’s celebrated Lamento d’Arianna.

Emmanuelle Haim has taken great care in choosing 9 soloists to perform these demanding works amongst which Véronique Gens sings the Lamento d’Arianna, the tantalising fragment from Monteverdi’s lost opera of 1608; Natalie Dessay is the abandoned nymph in the very different Lamento della ninfa from the Eighth Book of Madrigals. Alongside these familiar works by Monteverdi the programme includes Philippe Jaroussky in Barbara Strozzi’s dramatic monologue L’Eraclito amoroso, probably written for Strozzi herself, Carissimi’s Lamento di Maria Stuarda (with Patrizia Ciofi) and Strozzi’s teacher Cavalli’s Lamento d’Egisto (with Rolando Villazón, who also sings Orfeo’s Lamento). Joyce DiDonato, recently signed to EMI/Virgin Classics as an exclusive artist, adds Ottavia’s heartrending farewell to Rome from Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.

“This all-star cast includes the ravishing Natalie Dessay as Monteverdi's forsaken nymph, Véronique Gens, a proud, desolate Ariadne, and Joyce DiDonato, who sings Octavia's farewell with extraordinary dramatic passion. Much of the interest of this disc lies in its subtleties, Emmanuelle Haïm highlighting telling details...” BBC Music Magazine, November 2008 *****

“Waif-like, driven, messianic or explosive, non-conformist, unruly, either way, the conductor Emmanuelle Haim has enough charisma to draw crowds in her wake. Haim is the most dynamic force to have hit the period movement since the 1970s. She’s a born leader” Financial Times

“Haim’s meteoric rise has been well charted by the press. It’s easy to understand the excitement - her enthusiasm is infectious, her conducting demeanour distinctive, and her knowledge intense.” Gramophone Magazine

“A starry host of singers bring their talents to bear on Haïm's programme” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

“Haim is pure dynamite” The Telegraph

Erato - 5190442

(CD)

$8.75

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Stravinsky: The Nightingale

Stravinsky: The Nightingale


Natalie Dessay (Le Rossignol), Marie McLaughlin (La cuisinière), Violeta Urmana (La Mort), Laurent Naouri (Le chambellan), Albert Schagigullin (L'empereur), Maxime Mikhailov (Le bonze), Hugo Simric (L'enfant)

Orchestre Et Chœur De L’opera National De Paris, James Conlon

“…Stravinsky… would surely have been intrigued, occasionally irritated and ultimately spellbound by Christian Chaudet's vision. Using singers from the original 1999 recording, Chaudet has drawn fine mimes from them; Dessay's nightshirted soul of the nightingale and Marie MacLaughlin's wide-eyed cook are especially convincing. Inevitably they're dwarfed by the computer-generated animation: in this haunting dream of a Chinese boy... It works surprisingly well. Love it or hate it, Chaudet's world will haunt you long after viewing.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2005 *****

“Too many mediocre stage productions are being preserved for vocal, not visual, reasons. All the more important, then, is a release like this where a skilled (and musically literate) film director uses state-of-the-art computer technology to sculpt a multi-dimensional portrait of Stravinsky's gorgeous pre-First World War opera-pantomime.
Christian Chaudet bases it on the well-received EMI recording of 1999, reuniting the major soloists in front of blank blue- and green-screens to act their hearts out to imaginary scenery, effects and people that the computer will supply later.
This technique, long used in feature films, has a range and flexibility that might have been created for 20th-century opera.
The film begins with a fairly traditional dream frame: a little boy 'sees' his father's pottery turn into a Chinese landscape introducing all the story's characters and events. Later, the Emperor who so desires the Nightingale's singing is seen to live in a forbidden city made of chinaware.
This image of communication via images coming to life is developed to include the presence of mobile phones (with the Nightingale's image and song), webcams and computer screens – a modernisation that works through seamless integration with more traditional references.
Relevant instruments of the orchestra are also frequently dropped into view as part of the digital landscape.
Wearing a selection of T-shirts that almost suggest a 1960s Bond girl, Natalie Dessay gives a mesmerising but never indulgent or twee performance as the Nightingale, sometimes with a real bird in the hand. Marie McLaughlin's Cook (who steers the Child through the dream) is equally comfortable and subtle on close-up camera, while Schagidullin, Mikhailov and Naouri exhibit much presence and facial dexterity. From all his players Chaudet has secured that deliberately unemotional and real acting that so distinguishes French (and American) cinema and is such an asset in music-theatre of this genre.
The DVD is of a high visual and sonic quality and (another rarity in opera releases) there are some worthwhile 'extras' not devoted to company promotion. These 'making of' features really show you something of how the film was technically achieved.
On the soundtrack (as we may now call it) James Conlon goes all out for a colour and bite that binds Stravinsky's 1908-09 Debussian Act 1 more closely to the 1913-14, post-Rite of Spring final acts than a trenchant, Boulezian approach might have done, although it is not the only way.
The singing is first-rate (as was the languagecoaching), seeming almost to have been achieved in anticipation of this outstanding film.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - September 2005

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: PAL

Summer Opera Sale

Erato - 5442429

(DVD Video)

Normally: $16.25

Special: $13.00

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