Laurent Naouri

Baritone

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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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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.”

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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

“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

“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 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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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 ****

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EMI Opérettes et Opéras comiques - 3951182

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Handel: Arias & Duets (The Anniversary Edition 1759-2009)

Handel: Arias & Duets (The Anniversary Edition 1759-2009)


Handel:

Frondi tenere e belle ... Ombra mai fù (from Serse)

David Daniels (countertenor)

Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment, Roger Norrington

Dove sei, amato bene? (from Rodelinda)

David Daniels (countertenor)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Roger Norrington

Pompe vane di morte! (from Rodelinda)

David Daniels (countertenor)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Roger Norrington

Armida abbandonata: Ma che parlo, che dico

Véronique Gens (soprano)

Les Basses Réunies

Armida abbandonata: In tanti affanni miei

Véronique Gens (soprano)

Les Basses Réunies

Scherzano sul tuo volto (from Rinaldo)

Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) & Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

E vivo ancore?...Scherza, infida (from Ariodante)

Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)

Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm

Fra l’ombre e gl’orrori (from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo)

Laurent Naouri baritone (Polifemo), Sandrine Piau soprano (Aci) & Sara Mingardo alto (Galatea)

Le Concert d’Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm

Duetto: Sorge il di Aci/Galatea from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo

Laurent Naouri baritone (Polifemo), Sandrine Piau soprano (Aci) & Sara Mingardo alto (Galatea)

Le Concert d’Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm

Amor, qual nuova fiamma mi risvegli nel core (from Admeto)

René Jacobs alto (Admeto) & Rachel Yakar soprano (Antigona)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

La tigre arde di sdegno (from Admeto)

René Jacobs alto (Admeto) & Rachel Yakar soprano (Antigona)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

Per me si strugge (from Admeto)

René Jacobs alto (Admeto) & Rachel Yakar soprano (Antigona)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

E per monti, e per piani, et per selve Antigona (from Admeto, re di Tessaglia)

René Jacobs alto (Admeto) & Rachel Yakar soprano (Antigona)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

Hercules: Where shall I fly?

Stephanie Blythe (contralto)

Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, John Nelson

Splenda l’alba in oriente, cantata, HWV 166

Gérard Lesne (alto)

Il Seminario Musicale

As steals the morn (from L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato)

Ian Bostridge (tenor) & Lynne Dawson (soprano)

Bach Choir & Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, John Nelson

Un pensiero nemico di pace (from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno)

Natalie Dessay (soprano)

Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm

Fatto scorta al sentier della Gloria (from Arminio)

Vivica Genaux mezzo-soprano (Arminio) & Riccardo Ristori bass (Segeste)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

Fiaccherò quel fiero orgoglio (from Arminio)

Vivica Genaux mezzo-soprano (Arminio) & Riccardo Ristori bass (Segeste)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

Verdi prati (from Alcina)

Della Jones mezzo-soprano (Ruggiero) & Arleen Auger soprano (Alcina)

City of London Baroque Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

Ombre pallide (from Alcina)

Della Jones mezzo-soprano (Ruggiero) & Arleen Auger soprano (Alcina)

City of London Baroque Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

Duetto: Prendi l’alma e prendi il core Rodrigo/Esilena from Rodrigo

Gloria Banditelli mezzo-soprano (Rodrigo) & Sandrine Piau soprano (Esilena)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

Nasconde l’usignol (from Deidamia)

Suzie LeBlanc (soprano) & Derek Lee Ragin (countertenor)

Teatro Lirico, Stephen Stubbs

Nel riposo e nel contento (from Deidamia)

Suzie LeBlanc (soprano) & Derek Lee Ragin (countertenor)

Teatro Lirico, Stephen Stubbs

Della guerra la caccia ha sembianza (from Deidamia)

Simone Kermes soprano (Deidamia), Antonio Abete baritone (Licomede) & Anna Bonitatibus mezzo-soprano (Ulisse)

Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis

Tanti strali al sen mi scocchi, HWV 197

Suzie LeBlanc (soprano) & Derek Lee Ragin (countertenor)

Teatro Lirico, Stephen Stubbs

Se'il mio duol (Rodelinda)

Sophie Daneman (soprano)

The Raglan Baroque Players, Nicholas Kraemer

Caro autor di mia doglia, arcadian duet HWV 182a

Patricia Petibon (soprano) & Paul Agnew (tenor)

Le Concert d’Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm

Cara speme (from Giulio Cesare)

David Daniels (countertenor)

Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment, Roger Norrington

Va tacito e nascosto (from Giulio Cesare)

David Daniels (countertenor)

Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment, Roger Norrington


This ravishing selection of arias and duets is drawn from some of Handel’s finest vocal works, among them the operas Xerxes (source of the famous ‘Largo’), Ariodante, with its gripping ‘Scherza, infida’, and, perhaps his most popular works for the stage, Giulio Cesare and Alcina.

The generously-filled discs (two CDs for the price of one) also include the complete cantata Splenda l’alba in oriente and excerpts the dramatic cantata Armida abbandonata, the English ode L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and the exquisite Neapolitan serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo.

An international cast of outstanding Handelians includes Philippe Jaroussky, Natalie Dessay, David Daniels, Véronique Gens, Ian Bostridge, Joyce DiDonato, Stephanie Blythe, Janet Baker, Vivica Genaux, Gérard Lesne, James Bowman..

Virgin - 6960352

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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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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

Virgin - 5190442

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$13.25

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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

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DG Archiv - 4596162

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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

Duparc:

Au pays ou se fait la guerre

Soupir

Extase

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.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Erato - 2564611440

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Normally: $15.75

Special: $14.25

Scheduled for release on 18 September 2015. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

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