Yann Beuron

Tenor

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Saint-Saëns: Mélodies avec Orchestre

Saint-Saëns: Mélodies avec Orchestre


Saint-Saëns:

Angélus

L'attente (Hugo)

Reverie (Hugo)

La brise (No. 1 from Mélodies persanes, Op. 26)

Extase (Hugo)

La feuille de peuplier

L'Enlèvement (V. Hugo)

Les fees

Souvenances

Désir d'amour

Les cloches de la mer

La splendeur vide (No. 2 from Mélodies persanes, Op. 26)

Le Pas d'armes du Roi Jean (Hugo)

La cloche

Papillons

Plainte (A. Tastu)

Aimons-nous

Au cimetière (No. 5 from Mélodies persanes, Op. 26)

Danse macabre (song)


Yann Beuron (tenor), Tassis Christoyannis (baritone)

Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana, Markus Poschner

Although the turn of the twentieth century marked the golden age of French song, the genre was generally accompanied on the piano and only rarely orchestrated by its composers.

But Camille Saint-Saëns, a great lover of poetry, was also a champion of the orchestrated mélodie and the French coloristic style. He also wanted to counterbalance the overwhelming popularity of operatic arias in concert programmes. An immense admirer of Victor Hugo, Saint-Saëns set many of his poems to music, including L’Enlèvement, Rêverie, and Le Pas d’armes du Roi Jean, regarded as one of his masterpieces.

Exoticism and a certain sense of the supernatural run through such songs as Danse macabre, one of the most popular pieces of classical music, but always heard nowadays either in its version for orchestra alone or performed by a singer with piano accompaniment. Of the twenty-five mélodies with orchestra listed in the catalogue of Saint-Saëns, nineteen are recorded here, all of them for the first time!

With interpreters of the calibre of Yann Beuron and Tassis Christoyannis, the words are perfectly served here and the composer’s coloristic talents heard from the very first bars.

This disc is a genuine event that enables us to rediscover a whole segment of the history of vocal music, a renaissance made possible by the Fondation Bru Zane.

“The singing of both artists is of the highest class with not an ugly or unexamined note anywhere. Every word is audible and the characters of the songs are, for the most part, delineated with care.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

“Beuron, who has a remarkable ability to sustain soft high notes without sliding into falsetto, is impeccably stylish throughout…Christoyannis sings…with a velvet sensuality…conducting and playing are faultless. It's a very fine disc indeed.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

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Méhul: Uthal

Méhul: Uthal


Karine Deshayes (Malvina), Yann Beuron (Uthal), Jean-Sébastien Bou (Larmor), Sébastien Droy (Ullin), Philippe-Nicolas Martin (Le Chef des Bardes / Le Troisième Barde), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Le Premier Barde), Artavazd Sargsyan (Le Deuxième Barde) & Jacques-Greg Belobo (Le Quatrième Barde)

Les Talens Lyriques & Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Christophe Rousset

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

CD + Book

Prompted by the success of Ossian’s poetry during the First Empire, the Opéra-Comique commissioned from Méhul a short and gripping work inspired by James Macpherson’s Celtic reveries. The composer had the brilliant idea of conjuring up the mists of this Scottish fantasy world in his music by using the ‘grisaille’ sonority of an orchestra without violins. The Gothic coloration of wind instruments with divided violas, the melancholy poetry of the harp and solo horn that frequently emerge from the tutti, contrast with the choruses of warriors and the belligerent strains of Larmor and Uthal. The Hymn to Sleep, an eminently Romantic bardic song, came to be seen as one of Méhul’s finest pieces, and was sung over his grave by the Conservatoire students at his funeral in 1817.

Contents of the book (in FR & EN)

Gérard Condé, ‘Uthal’ de Méhul

Hector Berlioz, Méhul dans ‘Les Soirées de l’orchestre’

Étienne-Nicolas Méhul, Quelques réflexions

Bins de Saint-Victor, Dédicace et préface du livret

Journal de Paris, Compte-rendu de la création

Arthur Pougin, Quelques mots sur ‘Uthal’

Synopsis

1 book + 1 CDs – total time: 60’40

Book: hard cover, 140 pages, size 13,5 cm x 21,00 cm, French and English

Limited and numbered edition of 3500

“In the hands of Christophe Rousset, the stormy prelude (and indeed everything that follows) simply crackles with energy, particularly in the incisive, turbulent string-writing...All in all, this lovingly and lavishly documented new set makes a strong case for a reappraisal of a composer once described as ‘The First Romantic’.” Presto Classical, 24th February 2017

“Méhul’s score is initially intriguing in its dark-tinted, violin-less soundworld, and forward-looking, too – the storm overture, all buzzing violas and wheeling woodwind, isn’t a million miles from Wagner’s Die Walküre...Christophe Rousset’s crisp-sounding orchestra brings the score to life.” The Guardian, 23rd February 2017 ***

“Speech and song are seemlessly integrated here, maintaining both dramatic tension and consistency of characterisation throughout. It's hard to imagine a better bicentenary tribute: do listen to it.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

“Yann Beuron is the keenly engaged Uthal, while Jean-Sébastien Bou gives Larmor a wronged nobility and Karine Deshayes is consistently expressive as the anguished Malvina. There’s characterful work from the period instrument players of Les Talens Lyriques, while Christophe Rousset emphasises the drama inherent in the music” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

24th February 2017

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Opera

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Honegger: Jeanne d'Arc au bucher

Honegger: Jeanne d'Arc au bucher


Marion Cotillard (Jeanne d’Arc), Xavier Gallais (Frère Dominique), Yann Beuron (Porcus, Héraut I, Le Clerc), Maria Hinojosa (La Vierge), Aude Extrémo (Catherine), Anna Moreno-Lasalle (La mère aux tonneaux), Eric Martin-Bonnet (Une Voix, Héraut II, Paysan), Carles Romero Vidal (Héraut, L’âne, Bedford, Jean de Luxembourg)

Barcelona Symphony & Catalonia National Orchestra, Marc Soustrot

Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, written by the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger in 1938, is a fascinating oratorio. The text by Paul Claudel is constructed like a flashback, in which Joan looks back over her life just before she dies.

The actor Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and La Vie en Rose) plays Joan with an overwhelming intensity and sincerity. The last moments of the martyr’s life, illustrated by the evocative and innovative music of Honegger, resound like a heartrending cry.

With an exceptional cast of performers, this live recording offers a gripping new version of one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century music.

Available seperately in two formats – DVD and CD

“Cotillard movingly captures Jeanne's wildly contrasting moods while Xavier Gallas is consoling yet determined in supporting her...Most impressive of all, though, are the searing choral contributions that are convincing in their heartfelt gallic fervour, from an oppressed people, via baying crowd to angelic host.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 ***

“Cotillard marvellously captures Jeanne's innocence, toughness and terrifying doubts; Gallais is compassionate, tender, and at times tellingly fierce...The impact is immeasurably heightened on DVD by our being able to see both the sorrowing beauty of Gallais's face and the extraordinary way Cotillard's eyes let us know exactly what is going on in Jeanne's mind and soul” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“The music is large-scaled, colourful, eclectic and theatrical, even encompassing satire. Two actors, Marion Cotillard and Xavier Gallais, as Joan and her spiritual guide, Frère Dominique, lead a powerful live performance.” Sunday Times, 7th June 2015

“The spoken roles are well enough done by Marion Cotillard and Xavier Gallais on this live recording from Barcelona in 2012, but it’s the choral singing, superbly vivid, that provides the real dramatic muscle.” The Guardian, 3rd June 2015 ****

“This imaginative collaboration between Honegger and the poet Paul Claudel, conceived originally for the dancer/actor Ida Rubinstein, is performed here under Marc Soustrot with terrific presence, the work’s ethereal reflectiveness countered by passages of down-to-earth realism in a vivid theatrical experience.” The Telegraph, 13th June 2015 ****

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Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Gluck: Iphigénie en Aulide & Iphigénie en Tauride

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, September 2011


Gluck:

Iphigénie en Aulide

Véronique Gens (Iphigénie), Salomé Haller (Diane), Nicolas Testé (Agamemnon) & Anne Sofie von Otter (Clytemnestre)

Iphigénie en Tauride

Mireille Delunsch (Iphigénie), Laurent Alvaro (Thoas), Jean-François Lapointe (Oreste), Yann Beuron (Pylade) & Salomé Haller (Diane)


Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Pierre Audi (stage director)

Two late and baleful tragedies by Euripides focus on the ill-starred daughter of the Greek King, Agamemnon. Will he sacrifice Iphigenia in order to secure fair winds for his voyage to Troy? In Aulis, the drama rages until she is spared. Having escaped to Tauris, Iphigenia finds herself compelled to kill her own brother before, once more, the fickle gods intervene.

Gluck's operatic settings are very rarely staged together, but Pierre Audi's production makes a darkly compelling case for their dramatic unity. All the lead performers here are experienced exponents of Gluck, and together they present a powerfully idiomatic experience.

First ever release together on DVD/Blu-ray.

Iphigénie en Aulide has never been issued before on DVD/Blu-ray.

Top international cast includes Véronique Gens as Iphigénie and Anne Sofie von Otter as Clytemnestre.

Marc Minkowski & Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble have been widely acclaimed for their Gluck performances.

Running time: 267 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/DU/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“in this performance every cross-hatched, baleful figure is crisp and clear...Veronique Gens's submissive, poised Iphigénie [en Aulide] becomes Mireille Delunsch's red-eyed, hysterical Iphigénie en Tauride...Both sopranos sing magnificently despite Audi's over-stylised movement direction” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“[von Otter] presents a deeply sympathetic character...[Gens's] Iphigenia is equally touching and just as beautifully sung...one or two [production] oddities are far outweighed by the intensity that Pierre Audi secures from his team. Minkowski conducts superbly.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Some of the finest French Classical stylists around come together under the baton of Marc Minkowski on this double-bill of Gluck's two 'Iphigénie' operas...Anne Sofie von Otter is a magnetic Clytemnestre.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014

GGramophone Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month - May 2013

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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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Gluck: Alceste

Gluck: Alceste


Anne Sofie von Otter (Alceste), Paul Groves (Admète), Dietrich Henschel (Grand Prêtre d'Apollon/Hercule), Yann Beuron (Evandre), Ludovic Tézier (Un Héraut/Apollon), Frédéric Caton (La voix de l'Oracle/Dieu infernal)

Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner (conductor) & Brian Large (director)

Stage production: Robert Wilson

Subtitles: French, English, German

When the historic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris re-opened after a period of extensive refurbishment, the first two productions mounted in the theatre were Gluck’s Alceste and Orphée et Eurydice.

Both operas were sung in their French versions and were mounted and designed by Robert Wilson and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. This was the first time Wilson and Gardiner had collaborated and their individual credentials combined to produce an exceptional result.

American polymath Wilson was responsible for some of the most ambitious avant-garde performance projects of the 1970s and 80s.Since the mid-1980s he has increasingly brought his prodigious creativity to works fiom the standard dramatic and operatic repertoire, transforming them into his own unmistakably minimalist yet grandiose visions. His styled, classical interpretations of Alceste and Orphée bear his trademarks of an uncluttered stage and the arresting use of colour and light. They are not so much timeless as, in Robert Wilson’s words, “full of time”. With their minutely rehearsed gestures, at once formal and poetic, the singers have the grace and elegance of Balanchine or Martha Graham dancers.

A key figure in the revival of Early Music, John Eliot Gardiner has long been a champion of Gluck’s French operas and is a great Gluck conductor. He received enormous critical acclaim for his musical direction of both Orphée and Alceste at the Chatelet, as did his orchestras and chorus. He sought to rid the operas of any vestiges of remoteness or venerable respectability and to release the huge emotional charge that lies behind the beauty of Gluck’s classical sobriety. The stories are, after all, he says, not only poignant and deeply moving, they have an immediate and contemporary relevance: they portray two married couples striving to protect their union and their love, plumbing the very depths of their emotional strength and summoning the courage to make huge personal sacrifices. “If presented in a way that’s immediate and with tremendous intensity and truth of expression then all the dross and superficiality of the stage action falls away and you’re left with what’s actually a very visceral connection between two living people.”

Television’s top opera director, Brian Large, worked closely with Robert Wilson and John Eliot Gardiner to ensure that the translation of live performance to the small screen is of the highest artistic and techcal standard.

John Eliot Gardiner chose Gluck’s 1776 French version of Alceste for Robert Wilson’s production, conducting the piece for the first time with his period-instrument ensemble, the English Baroque Soloists. The excellent Monteverdi Choir provides the chorus and, unusually, they sing fiom the pit, with dancers taking their place on stage. They give magnificently persuasive expression to the horror and compassion demanded by the drama. The ‘Greek geometric perfection of Robert Wilson’s various tableaux is beautifully realised, with his eye for striking theatrical symbol creating an intriguing visual arena for one of Gluck’s most elevated and sublime works.

Soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, one of the finest singers of her generation, takes the title role of Alceste, Queen of Thessaly, who offers to die at the hands of the gods in place of her husband, Admete (Paul Groves), so that the people will not lose their king. To universal astonishment, she is saved from the Underworld by Hercule (Dietrich Henschel), whose action is sanctioned by Apollon (Ludovic Tézier) in a dramatic deus ex machina.

“Gardiner turns the full beam of his historically informed performance knowledge to the score, illuminating its subtle colours and harmonic inflections with a pace and power that never threaten to become too far, too fast. He's superbly abetted by mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, whose perceptive performance as Alceste is one of emotional sincerity and spot-on vocal accuracy.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 20th November 2002

“Anne Sofie von Otter, severe, hair scraped back, is the picture of regal dignity at her first appearance. Later, unable to look at the husband for whom she is sacrificing her life, her pain is palpable; at the end, after Apollo has descended with the reprieve, the camera focuses on the gentle smile that she permits herself. Paul Groves as Admetus is almost as eloquent, and Dietrich Henschel, swinging an imaginary club, makes a hearty, no-nonsense Hercules.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2009

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Berlioz: L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25

Berlioz: L'Enfance du Christ, Op. 25


Yann Beuron (narrator/centurion), Karen Cargill (Marie), William Dazeley (Joseph), Matthew Rose (Herod) & Peter Rose (Father/Polydorus)

London Symphony Orchestra & Tenebrae Choir, Sir Colin Davis

“Davis phrases Berlioz's lines with all their latent anxiety and sadness, and with that curious sense of regret that David Cairns's essay suggests gives an added sharpness to the telling as the agnostic Berlioz "remembers what is was like to have faith".” Gramophone Magazine, October 2007

“Yet having already recorded to excellent versions of this intimate, gently luminous masterpiece… what more can Davis add? Not improvement, perhaps, but a different approach. …here his reading seems more measured and translucent, more classical. His soloists are mostly young, clear voices. Matthew Rose's Herod is striking... Karin Cargill... is a wonderfully delicate and simple St Mary alongside Dazeley's restrained Joseph and Peter Rose's benevolently resonant Ishmaelite. Beuron, probably today's finest French lyric tenor, gives the performance an essential idiomatic core in his Narration.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2007 *****

“Davis worked his magic with Berlioz yet again...a fine cast of soloists...and choirs and orchestra sing and play superlatively” Sunday Telegraph

“life-enhancing...The Narrator’s strengths leap out immediately...he’s French: an obvious boon in a language where inflection means so much. Here, the chamber choir Tenebrae excel themselves: wonder radiates from every securely focused, cleanly voiced chord.” The Times

“If ever a conductor lived the works of a composer, it’s Davis with Berlioz. The London Symphony Orchestra play with delicacy, the Tenebrae Choir are immaculate, and there’s an impeccable set of soloists’.” The Independent on Sunday

“This set is instantly recommendable for Yann Beuron's Narrator. He is quintessentially French and sings with a directness and innocence that suit the story perfectly...Davis' understanding of Berlioz's layering of sounds remains unsurpassed...The Tenebrae Choir sings brilliantly at all dynamic levels and with absolute clarity.” Classics Today

“[Davis's] revisitation of this truly classic score is utterly and totally compelling.” International Record Review

“under Davis’s loving direction, the spirit is wonderfully right, and all the soloists, the fine Tenebrae Choir and the hypersensitive LSO combine in an interpretation of extraordinary tenderness.” Sunday Times

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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo

Monteverdi: L'Orfeo


Simon Keenlyside (Orfeo), Juanita Lascarro (Euridice, la Musica, Eco), Graciela Oddone (la Messaggiera), Martina Dike (Proserpina), Stephen Wallace (la Speranza, Pastore), Tomas Tòmasson (Plutone), Paul Gérimon, Caronte (Pastore), Mauro Utzeri (Apollo), Anne Cambier (Ninfa), Yann Beuron, John Bowen, René Linnenbank (Pastori, Spiriti)

Trisha Brown Company Concerto Vocale, Collegium Vocale Gent, René Jacobs

First seen at La Monnaie in Brussels on 13 May 1998, this production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo seen through the eyes of Trisha Brown and René Jacobs has become an operatic classic in a few short years.

This is doubtless because it offers a total symbiosis of music, text and movement – described by the critic of the Daily Telegraph of London as being ‘as close to the perfect dance opera as I have ever seen’.

Or to quote Gilles Macassar in Télérama: ‘In the pit and onstage, the Brussels production has only one watchword: mobility, nimbleness, dexterity. The singers run, fly, whirl like dancers defying gravity. From the flies down to the footlights, the whole theatre is under a fantastic spell.’ For Christophe Vetter, on ConcertoNet: ‘This Orfeo can be seen again and again with immense pleasure. . . . René Jacobs’s conducting continues to arouse admiration for its precision, its stylistic rigour, its inexhaustible inventiveness and its feeling for the contrasts so vital to this repertoire.’

“Monteverdi's Orfeo has many rivals and needs special reasons for us to see it again. One is the tremendous vocal cast - especially the lithe and mercurial Orfeo (Simon Keenlyside), the searingly affecting Messenger (Graciela Oddone) and sonorous Simon Gérmon as Caronte.” BBC Music Magazine

“close to perfection in terms of casting...you're never quite sure whether L'Orfeo is a dance work being sung or an opera being danced. At the heart of this production is a quite magnificent performance by Simon Keenlyside as an Orpheus who really could have charmed the gods. He can also act and dance.” Opera Now, Summer 2011

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Offenbach: La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein

Offenbach: La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein


Dame Felicity Lott (La Grande Duchesse), Sandrine Piau (Wanda), Yann Beuron (Fritz), Franck Leguérinel (Le Baron Puck), Eric Huchet (Le Prince Paul), François Le Roux (Le Général Boum), Boris Grappe (Le Baron Grog), Alain Gabriel (Népomuc), Maryline Fallot (Iza), Blandine Staskiewicz (Olga), Jennifer Tani (Charlotte), Aurélia Legay (Amélie) & Christophe Grapperon (Le Notaire)

Chœur et Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski

Languages: Subtitles in French, Italian, German, English

“Offenbach's 1867 opéra bouffe is here brought back to life in an all-singing, all-dancing staging that bursts with energy from start to finish. Laurent Pelly's production, recorded here at the Châtelet in Paris in December 2004, matches his own costumes in visual verve and an at times macabre wit... The role of the ageing autocrat with a taste for military men seems perfect for Felicity Lott at this stage of her career.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2006 *****

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Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works Vol. 4

Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works Vol. 4


Ravel:

L'heure Espagnole

Stéphanie D’Oustrac (Concepcion), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Torquemada), Alexandre Duhamel (Ramiro), Paul Gay (Don Inigo Gomez) & Yann Beuron (Gonzalve)

Shéhérazade

Stéphanie D’Oustrac (mezzo)


Ravel’s predilection for fantasy worlds and exotic ambience can be heard in many of his orchestral works. Even as a student he composed the Ouverture de Shéhérazade and had planned to write an opera based on the fairy tales of the Arabian Nights. In the end, all that remains are three poems for voice and orchestra. Stéphanie d’Oustrac sings these songs rapturously and with exactly the right feel for oriental opulence

The main work on this CD, however, is of course the comic opera L’Heure espagnole, which touches on another subject that attracted Ravel: Spain. The score reminds one of musical accompaniments to old silent movies; the rich instrumentation includes chimes, cuckoo pipes, celesta and many percussion instruments. These bring to life the ambient sounds of the watchmaker’s shop, in which the story of Concepcion and her lovers takes place. An excellent cast of singers, supported by a highly responsive orchestra – what more could one ask for?

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