Laurent Naouri


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Rameau: Platée

Rameau: Platée

Live Recording from The Opéra National De Paris, 2002

Paul Agnew (Platée), Mireille Delunsch (La Folie, Thalie), Yann Beuron (Thespis, Mercure), Vincent Le Texier (Jupiter) & Laurent Naouri (Cithéron)

Les Musiciens Du Louvre – Grenoble, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (stage director)


This Opéra de Paris staging of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s burlesque on the vicissitudes of love, is a “pure joy from start to splashing finish” (Wall Street Journal Europe).

“Laurent Pelly’s staging of Platée is an exhilarating display of gags and West Side Story dance routines mixed in with satirical rap... Marc Minkowski conducting the excellent Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble was the instigator of a sparkling orchestral fête” (Opera Now). The enthusiastic cast is led by Paul Agnew in the title role and Mireille Delunsch, who provides one of the many musical highlights with La Folie’s famous bravura aria.

In the realm of the ancient gods, Mercure and Cithéron persuade Jupiter that he can cure his wife Junon’s obsessive jealousy by setting up a mock marriage between himself and Platée, an astonishingly ugly but supremely self-confi dent marsh nymph who rules a realm of frogs. Rameau uses Jupiter’s feigned courtship of Platée to gleefully parody every eighteenth-century musical convention in the book, as the music gurgles, hiccups, croaks and brays.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)

Resolution: 1080/60i (Upscale)

Subtitle Languages: FR (Original Language), GB, DE, ES, IT

Running Time: 150 mins

FSK: 0

“It is superbly rendered here by Les Musiciens du Louvre, who relish every moment of the inventive score.Nor does the singing let the side down. Paul Agnew is a tower of strength as the unfortunate nymph...Mark Minowski keeps everything together with a practised and slyly humorous hand.” MusicWeb International, 14th October 2014

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Arthaus Musik - 108132



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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 envertheless he sounds a properly French tenor. Stephane Denève in the pit keeps the tension rising.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 ****

“Pelly's 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

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Erato - 2564636914

(DVD Video - 2 discs)


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Entre elle et lui: Natalie Dessay Sings Michel Legrand

Entre elle et lui: Natalie Dessay Sings Michel Legrand


Chanson de Delphine (from the movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort)

Le Cinéma

Chanson de Delphine à Lancien (from the movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort)

Papa can you hear me? (from Yentl)

Recette pour un Cake d'Amour (from the movie Peau d'Âne)

La valse des lilas

Les moulins de mon coeur

L'âme soeur à l'hameçon

What are you doing the rest of your life?

Chanson des jumelles (from the movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort)

Le rouge et le noir

Conseil de la Fée Lilas (from the movie Peau d'Âne)

Duo de Guy et Geneviève (from the movie Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

with Laurent Naouri (bass-baritone)

La chanson de Louba

La chanson

Paris Violon

The Summer Knows

Mon dernier concert

Natalie Dessay (soprano) & Catherine Michel (harp), Patricia Petibon (soprano)

After her triumphs in the world’s great opera houses, Natalie Dessay crosses over. A tribute to the legendary Michel Legrand who has scored some of the most famous musical soundtracks.

This autumn, starting in fine fashion with two concerts at Paris’ legendary ‘music hall’ the Olympia, she undertakes a tour of France with the celebrated composer and jazz pianist Michel Legrand.

Legrand trained at the Paris Conservatoire with no less a teacher than Nadia Boulanger and is known around the world for his haunting music for Jacques Demy’s 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), and for his work in Hollywood, which has brought him three Oscars: for his scores for the 1983 Barbra Streisand film Yentl and the 1971 film The Summer of’42, and for his song, ‘The Windmills Of Your Mind’, from the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair.

Dessay first became aware of Legrand at the age of six or so, when she saw another film directed by Jacques Demy, the fairy tale Peau d’âne. “At the time, I would never have imagined singing with him. Now we are good friends and I am lucky enough to work with him on a regular basis ... I think Michel Legrand is a genius, just as Mozart was a genius. He is also a melodic virtuoso. You hear two notes and you know it’s one of his songs.” Dessay describes popular song as “an art that can demand great refinement. A song like Georges Brassens ‘Saturne’ has as much value, for me, as an opera by Bellini. In opera, you open up and let go. In a popular song, like when your singing German lieder or French art-song, you have to concentrate your voice – to learn to say a lot with less power, especially if you are using a microphone.”

The album that Dessay and Legrand have recorded together is Entre elle et lui (Between Her and Him). With a focus on voice, piano, bass and drums, it includes Legrand’s Oscar-winners, a duet from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg – which brings Dessay together with her husband, the bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, the Lilac Fairy’s song from Peau d’âne (as sung in the film by the enchanting Delphine Seyrig), and the sisters’ sassy duet from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, performed in Jacques Demy’s film by Catherine Deneuve and her real-life sister Françoise Dorléac, but appropriated here (in this) album by Dessay and fellow soprano Patricia Petitbon. A further special guest on the album is the distinguished harpist Catherine Michel, who is also Michel Legrand’s wife.

“Treat yourself or a needy Francophile to this delicious if unlikely combination...She is breathy, sexy, passionate and wonderfully virtuosic in the tongue-twisting Chanson de Delphine...And Windmills of Your Mind sounds so much better in French.” The Times, 16th November 2013 ****

Erato - 9341452



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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 **/***

EMI - The Opera Series - 9482332

(CD - 2 discs)


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Boieldieu: La Dame Blanche

Boieldieu: La Dame Blanche

Rockwell Blake (Georges Brown), Laurent Naouri (Gaveston), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Dickson), Annick Massis (Anna), Mireille Delunsch (Jenny), Sylvie Brunet (Margeurite)

Ensemble Orchestral de Paris & Chœur de Radio France, Marc Minkowski

“Marc Minkowski rescues Boieldieu from the history books in a stylish recording of a minor French Romantic masterpiece. Rockwell Blake and Annick Massis lead a strong cast from the front.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2009 ****

EMI Opérettes et Opéras comiques - 3951182

(CD - 2 discs)


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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. 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

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

Virgin - 5193019

(DVD Video)


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Lamento della Maria Stuarda

Patrizia Ciofi (soprano)


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)


Dure noie, Lamento d’Atamante

Laurent Naouri (bass-baritone)

Landi, S:

Superbe colli

Christopher Purves (baritone)


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)


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

Virgin - 5190442



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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

Virgin - 5442429

(DVD Video)


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Gluck: Armide

Gluck: Armide

(complete opera)

Mireille Delunsch, Charles Workman, Laurent Naouri, Ewa Podles

Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

“'Perhaps the best of all my works', said Gluck of his Armide. But this, the fifth of his seven 'reform operas', has never captured the public interest as have Orfeo, Alceste, the two Iphigénies and even Paride ed Elena. Its plot is thinnish, concerned only with the love of the pagan sorceress Armide, princess of Damascus, for the Christian knight and hero Renaud, and his enchantment, disenchantment and finally his abandonment of her. But Armide has two features that set it apart.
One is the extraordinary soft, sensuous tone of the music; Gluck said that it was meant 'to produce a voluptuous sensation', and that if he were to suffer damnation it would be for the passionate love duet in Act 5. Certainly his orchestral writing here has a warmth, a colour and a richness going far beyond anything in his other reform operas (apart from parts of Paride edElena). Second, there are several great solo dramatic scenes, two of them for Armide.
The success of Armide, then, depends critically on the Armide herself. Here it goes to Mireille Delunsch, who brings to it a good deal of intensity but doesn't have command of a wide range of tone, and doesn't seem to make much use of her words. There's some graceful singing in the softer music and the scene where she can't bring herself to kill Renaud is finely done, though ultimately perhaps her singing lacks real emotional tension.
Renaud is sung by Charles Workman, in a strong tenor, sounding almost baritonal at times, but then singing the sleep song, 'Plus j'observe ces lieux', with soft, sweet tone and much delicacy.
The lovers' duet in Act 5 is sung gently and with much charm. Among the other singers, Ewa Podles makes a strong impression as Hate with her large and steady voice. And Laurent Naouri shows a pleasant, firm baritone as Hidraot.
Minkowski makes much of the score's colour and flow. He uses a substantial orchestra, which plays lightly and flexibly and with rhythmic spring. He has a tendency towards quickish tempos here and there but is always attentive to the characterisation of individual numbers.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

DG Archiv - 4596162

(CD - 2 discs)


(Sorry, download not available in your country)

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Entre Elle & Lui

Entre Elle & Lui

Live at the Château de Versailles

01. L’âme sœur à l’hameçon (Eddy Marnay – Michel Legrand)

02. La Valse des Lilas (Eddy Marnay – Michel Legrand)

03. Chanson de Delphine à Lancien (from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

04. Papa Can You Hear Me? (from Yentl) – (Alan et Marilyn Bergmann – Michel Legrand)

05. Recette pour un cake d’amour (from Peau d’Âne) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

06. Le cinéma (Claude Nougaro – Michel Legrand)

07. You Must Believe in Spring (from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) – (Michel Legrand –Jacques Demy – Alan et Marilyn Bergmann)

08. Dingo Rock (Miles Davis - Michel Legrand)

09. Imitation des pianistes de jazz

10. Le rouge et le noir (Claude Nougaro – Michel Legrand)

11. Conseils de la fée des Lilas (from Peau d’Âne) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

12. Rêves secrets d’un prince et d’une princesse (from Peau d’Âne) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

13. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? (from The Happy Ending) – (Alan et Marilyn Bergman – Michel Legrand)

14. La Chanson (Claude Nougaro – Michel Legrand)

15. Les moulins de mon cœur (from The Thomas Crown Affair) – (Eddy Marnay - Michel Legrand)

16. Un été 42 (from Summer of ‘42) – (Alan et Marilyn Bergman – Michel Legrand)

17. The Summer Knows (from Summer of ‘42) – (Alan et Marilyn Bergmann - Michel Legrand)

18. On My Way To You – (Alan et Marilyn Bergman – Michel Legrand)

19. Marins, amis, amants ou maris (from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

20. Serge et Nathalie (Claude Nougaro – Michel Legrand)

21. Duo de Guy et Geneviève (from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

22. Mon dernier concert (Claude Nougaro – Michel Legrand)

23. Chanson de Delphine (from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) – (Jacques Demy – Michel Legrand)

Natalie Dessay (voice ), Michel Legrand (piano and voice ), Laurent Naouri (voice ), Pierre Boussaguet (double bass), François Laizeau (percussion) & Pierre Perchaud (guitar)

Two icons of French song – Natalie Dessay and Michel Legrand – follow the huge worldwide success of their album Entre Elle et Lui with a DVD of the very special concert on the 11th June 2014 at the Orangerie of the Château de Versailles. This is a unique collaboration from two giants of French music. The CD release in 2013 was hotly anticipated and received great critical acclaim upon its release. Natalie Dessay brings her lyrical voice and fresh interpretations to a selection of some of Michel Legrand’s best-loved songs including La Valse des Lilas, Les moulins de mon cœur (Windmills of Your Mind), Duo de Guy et Geneviève, Papa Can You Hear Me and many more.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Erato - 2564621920

(DVD Video)


Scheduled for release on 10 November 2014. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.


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