Blu-ray Discs

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Live at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 2013


Sophie Koch (Mère Marie de l’Incarnation), Patricia Petibon (Blanche de La Force), Véronique Gens (Madame Lidoine), Sandrine Piau (Soeur Constance de Saint Denis), Rosalind Plowright (Madame de Croissy), Topi Lehtipuu (Le Chevalier de La Force), Philippe Rouillon (Le Marquis de La Force), Annie Vavrille (Mère Jeanne de l’Enfant Jésus), Sophie Pondjiclis (Soeur Mathilde), François Piolino (Le Père confesseur du couvent), Jérémy Duffau (Le premier commissaire), Yuri Kissin (Le second commissaire, un officier) & Matthieu Lécroart (Le geôlier)

Philharmonia Orchestra & Chœur du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Jérémie Rhorer (conductor) & Olivier Py (director)

Rosalind Plowright talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about the production and the role of Madame de Croissy here.

Pierre-André Weitz – design and costumes

Bertrand Killy – lighting

Hervé Gary – lighting

Natalie Van Parys – choreography

Olivier Simonnet – filming director

At the end of 2013, the year that marked the 50th anniversary of Francis Poulenc’s death, his gripping and moving operatic masterpiece, Dialogues des Carmélites was staged in Paris by director Olivier Py with a cast featuring some of France’s finest female singers – Patricia Petitbon, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau and Sophie Koch – under the baton of Jérémie Rohrer. Le Figaro described the production as “a thing of wonder,” while Le Monde called it: “A masterpiece ... the most exciting and consummately achieved show to have been seen on a Parisian stage in a long time … This was great work, magisterial and unforgettable.”

“The memorable Dialogues des Carmélites at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées marked the climax of commemorative activities for the 50th anniversary of Poulenc’s death,” wrote Opera magazine of the production of Poulenc’s gripping and moving opera that was staged by the French director Olivier Py in Paris in December 2013.

Among operas composed in the post-War era, Dialogues des Carmélites, first seen in 1957 at La Scala, is one of the most frequently performed and best loved. Set during the French Revolution, it tells the story of a highly-strung young aristocrat, Blanche de la Force, who seeks peace by joining a convent and finally goes to the guillotine with her fellow nuns. Faith, fear, and sacrifice are among the issues it addresses with music – sometimes austere, sometimes sensuous, sometimes both at once – that exemplifies Poulenc’s characteristic amalgam of simplicity and sophistication. Its final scene, as the nuns go one by one to their execution while singing a soaring ‘Salve regina’, is of spine-tingling pathos and power.

The stark, monochrome decor for Py’s production, designed by André Weitz, makes use of sliding panels that open and close to create the acting space or reveal expressionist vistas, while the costumes evoke the first half of the 20th century rather than the era of the Revolution itself. Especially striking is the death scene of Madame de Croissy, the old Prioress, searingly sung and acted by the British mezzo-soprano Rosalind Plowright: the audience views her agonies as if from above, since her bed is mounted vertically on the rear panel of the stage. Later in the opera, when it comes to the final night in their convent, before their expulsion by the revolutionaries, the nuns are assembled as if for the Last Supper, while the stunning, transcendent final scene is set against a starry sky.

Duration: 169 minutes

Languages: Sung in French, with subtitles available in English and German

Audio specs: Stereo Dolby 5.1

“Olivier Py's austere 1930s production boasts a distinguished, largely Francophone cast, headed by Poulenc specialist Patricia Petibon as Blanche, Sophie Koch as the fanatical Mère Marie, and British mezzo Rosalind Plowright as the tortured Old Prioress.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 21st November 2014

“Breathtakingly conducted by Jérémie Rohrer, it boasts one of the finest casts ever assembled for the piece. Patricia Petibon gives the performance of a lifetime as Blanche...[Plowright's] performance has a dramatic veracity that is disturbing in the extreme...Long sceptical about the piece, I was completely won over – the highest complement I can pay it.” The Guardian, 12th December 2014 *****

“this film of a production staged in Paris in 2013 has the immediate advantage of a wonderfully responsive conductor in Jérémie Rhorer and a largely Francophone cast...Py’s abstract staging is refreshingly straightforward...overall this is a performance charged with all the opera’s doom-laden dramatic urgency and spiritual power.” The Telegraph, 24th January 2015 ****

“taken as a whole, this is visually by far the best recent Carmelites. It also has a dream cast...Petibon masterfully conveys the complexities of her contradictory character...Piau is a wonderfully bright-eyed as Constance, Rosalind Plowright is suitably disturbing in the alternate 'mad scene'..With Jérémie Rhorer's nuanced conducting, the Philharmonia on top form and sympathetic filming, there are no weaknesses.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2015 *****

“Gens is a lean, nervous (rather than benelovent) Madame Lidoine...Koch's strong presence puts a particularly sharp point on the severity of Carmelite life...Plowright maintains great vocal and dramatic tension...Ultimately, the production and performances take the opera beyond the nuns' story but question the moral responsibility of martyrdom.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - March 2015

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Video Winner

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Erato - 2564621953

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Live Recording from The Staatsoper Hamburg, 2008


Alexia Voulgaridou (Blanche de la Force), Wolfgang Schöne (Marquis de la Force), Nikolai Schukoff (Le chevalier de la Force), Kathryn Harries (Madame de Croissy), Anne Schwanewilms (Madame Lidoine), Gabriele Schnaut (Mère Marie de l‘Incarnation)

Staatsoper Hamburg, Simone Young (conductor) & Nikolaus Lehnhoff (director)

Set Design by Raimund Bauer.

The opera Dialogues of the Carmelites is the only opera the French composer Francis Poulenc has ever written. It is based on the screenplay Die begnadigte Angst by Georges Bernanos. The material for the opera is based on actual historic events. Poulenc converges religion and revolution: The young Blanche de la Force who suffers from existential fear all life long, escapes into a convent hoping to conquer her paralysing fear of life and death. Even the walls of the convent cannot stop the French Revolution. The nuns of the Carmelite Order fail to resist it and accept to die in martyrdom. Fascinated by their constancy finally Blanche overcomes her angst and follows her sisters to the scaffold. This dramatic opera in three acts had its debut performance at La Scala in Milan in 1957. With its religious theme this opera takes a special position in the theatre of music in the 20th century. Poulenc's clear and insistent musical language is perfectly interpreted by conductor Simone Young and the Philharmoniker Hamburg. This production showcases big, vibrant voices from all age categories who are not only brilliant in singing but also in acting. Besides the great musical performance, the main reason for the huge success of the opera is stage director Nikolaus Lehnhoff. His simplistic stage design together with the mystic light installation this opera guarantees great listening and also an amazing viewing pleasure.

“…the sheer power of Lehnhoff’s final scene simply takes your breath away.” Hamburger Abendblatt

“It is remarkable how Lehnhoff succeeds in narrating the events of a two-and-a-half hour drama that is low on action without losing power or intensity.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Sound Format: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 7.1

Picture Format: 16:9

Resolution: 1080i FULL HD

Subtitle Languages: FR, GB, DE, ES, IT, JP

Running Time: 166 mins

Blu-ray Disc: 50 GB (DUAL LAYER)

FSK: 0

“Lehnhoff takes a relatively minimalist approach...The principals are generally strong. Kathryn Harries is moving as the dying Madame de Croissy...Laura Aikin is effective as the gregarious Sister Constance and Gabriele Schnaut captures the frustrations of Mere Marie...Simone Young draws some marvellous textures from the orchestra” BBC Music Magazine, October 2010 ***

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Arthaus Musik - 101494

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Filmed in HD at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich), 03/2010


Alain Vernhes (Marquis de la Force), Susan Gritton (Blanche de la Force), Bernard Richter (Chevalier de la Force), Sylvie Brunet (Madame de Croissy), Soile Isokoski (Madame Lidoine), Susanne Resmark (Mère Marie), Hélène Guilmette (Soeur Constance), Heike Grötzinger (Mère Jeanne) & Anaïk Morel (Soeur Mathilde)

Bayerisches Staatsorchester & Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Kent Nagano

Stage direction and set design: Dmitri Tcherniakov

Costumes Elena Zaytseva, Lighting Gleb Filshtinsky

A passionate lover of the human voice, Francis Poulenc composed the Dialogues des Carmélites in 1953, using a libretto he himself had written from a screenplay by Georges Bernanos. The first ever performances in Munich, this production was entrusted to Dmitri Tcherniakov, whose worldwide reputation is underpinned by productions like Eugene Onegin and Macbeth at the Paris Opera and Don Giovanni at Aixen-Provence.

The superb international cast includes a fine Blanche de la Force in Susan Gritton and an excellent Madame de Croissy by Sylvie Brunet, who was favourably compared to Rita Gorr in the press. They are superbly backed up by Soile Isokoski, Susanne Resmark, Hélène Guilmette, Alain Vernhes and the fabulous Bernard Richter.

Kent Nagano with the Dialogues literally at his fingertips – he recorded a landmark version some years ago – is at the helm of the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Subtitles : Fr, Eng, Ger, Spa

Colour 1080i HD, 16/9

PCM Stereo, DTS HD Master Audio

“[the production is] set in a soulless authoritarian state but filmed in a way that underlines individual dilemmas and common humanity. It is worth watching for Sylvie Brunet’s doughty Madame de Croissy, Soile Isokoski’s gracious Madame Lidoine and Susan Gritton’s winning Blanche.” Financial Times, 4th June 2011 ***

“Tcherniakov's production is probably the most physically active Dialogues ever staged. Everyone is seemingly in constant motion...Sylvie Brunet is a memorably formidable and pitiable Croissy...Helen Guilmette's Constance, lively but never cloying or cute, is immeasurably enhanced by heavenly floated pianissimi...Isokoski, suitably dignified in her role, is in ravishing voice.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

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Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites

Live Recording from Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, Milan, 2004


Dagmar Schellenberger (Blanche), Anja Silja (Madame de Croissy), Barbara Dever (Mère Marie de l‘Incarnation), Laura Aikin (Soeur Constance de Saint-Denis) & Christopher Robertson (Le Marquis de la Force)

Teatro Alla Scala, Riccardo Muti (conductor) & Robert Carsen (director)

When Canadian opera director Robert Carsen produced his intense staging of Francis Poulenc’s compelling opera Dialogues des Carmélites in 2001, it impressed audiences and critics alike, and also gained the interest of Riccardo Muti, who arranged for the production to be staged at La Scala, Milan. Muti himself conducted Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala and a superb, handpicked cast of singers. German soprano Dagmar Schellenberger, who received much critical acclaim for her debut at La Scala, takes the role of the young aristocrat Blanche who, during the French Revolution, seeks salvation in a convent. Following a decree dissolving all the country’s religious houses, the Carmelite nuns take a vow of martyrdom and sing their way to the scaffold. The last to die is Blanche, together with Soeur Constance, sung by the American soprano Laura Aikin. The production was particularly notable for the participation of Anja Silja, one of the greatest singers of our times, as Madame de Croissy.

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

Original Language: FR

Subtitles: GB, DE, FR, ES, IT

Blu-ray Disc 25 GB (Single Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Running Time: 149 mins

FSK: 6

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Poulenc: La Voix Humaine

Poulenc: La Voix Humaine

piano version


“Felicity Lott remains for me the quintessential Poulenc singer” Graham Johnson

La Voix Humaine is Poulenc’s one-woman tour de force to a text by Cocteau. It is a work which Felicity Lott has made her own – she gave a spellbinding performance at the BBC Proms in 2003: "Felicity Lott’s in wonderful form" said The Daily Telegraph and Classicalsource.com wrote “Having made the role very much her own in recent years, Felicity Lott duly encompassed its range of emotional minutiae with an impressive command ... and impeccable French.”

This new HD filmed performance is the world-premiere recording with piano and is here in both DVD and Blu-ray format. It is the first time (since Francis Poulenc’s own performances, accompanying Denise Duval over 50 years ago), that permission has been given for La Voix Humaine to be recorded with piano accompaniment. Mme Rosine Seringe, the composer’s niece, has granted a special dispensation to Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson – as a token of decades of special friendship between the artists and the Poulenc Estate – for this work to be produced.

Champs Hill Records is delighted to celebrate its relationship with Felicity Lott with this unique recording, in the fiftieth anniversary year of the composer’s death. Other ‘Flott’ releases on the label include ‘Summertime’, ‘My Own Country’ and a recital disc of Strauss songs. La Voix Humaine, premiered at the Opera Comique in Paris in 1959, is based on Cocteau’s 1927 stage monologue and is the most nakedly emotional of all Poulenc’s works. It presents a woman on stage speaking on the telephone with her (invisible and inaudible) departing lover, who is leaving her to marry another woman. She is frequently interrupted by problems with the unreliable Paris phone system of the time (not unlike contemporary problems with mobile phone signals!).

The drama is communicated even more powerfully by Poulenc’s score, telling us about the unheard half of the conversation and making the character of ‘Elle’ more sympathetically, with genuine tenderness accompanying her desparate and manipulative attempts to keep her departing lover on the phone.

“it is hard to think of two finer champions of Poulenc's music, and this set finally gives us a chance to see Lott's devastating interpretation...Johnson is responsive to every psychological eddy and it is simply and tastefully filmed...Just remember to allow some recovery time in solitude afterwards.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013

“Lott and Johnson are a natural choice for this venture. Much of the opera calls for the saying of one thing while acting another...Lott brings this off with huge fluency in one small, attractively lit studio...The feeling, from Johnson's vivid, emotive accompaniment too, is very 'live'” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

“Lott not only sings with a richness that belies her years but also acts with extraordinary intensity. Johnson is unseen throughout but his musical presence is strongly felt...for those collectors who already have a recording of the work as Poulenc wanted it to be heard, I can't imagine a better companion than this moving and intensely personal performance.” International Record Review, July/August 2013

“Lott's late-career revisitation of the score is if anything even more searing than the earlier audio recording.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 21st November 2014

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - June 2013

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Champs Hill Records - CHRBR045

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Classic Archive™ Collector’s Edition – Voices

Classic Archive™ Collector’s Edition – Voices


Berlioz:

La Damnation de Faust: D'amour l'ardente flamme

Regine Crespin (soprano)

Brahms:

Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

Dvorak:

Mesícku na nebi hlubokém 'Song to the Moon' (from Rusalka)

Falla:

Siete Canciones populares españolas

Teresa Berganza (mezzo)

Mahler:

Rheinlegendchen (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)

Irmgard Seefried (soprano)

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (4 songs, complete)

Mozart:

Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio (from La Clemenza di Tito)

Teresa Berganza (mezzo)

Mussorgsky:

Oy, dušno, dušno! - Prošcay, moy sïn (from Boris Godunov)

Boris Christoff (bass)

Poulenc:

Tu as raison (from La Voix Humaine)

Denise Duval (soprano)

Schubert:

Wohin? (No. 2 from Die schöne Müllerin, D795)

Victoria de los Angeles (soprano)

Schumann:

Intermezzo (No. 2 from Liederkreis, Op. 39)

Regine Crespin (soprano)

Mondnacht (No. 5 from Liederkreis, Op. 39)

Regine Crespin (soprano)

Strauss, R:

Der Rosenkavalier, Act 1 – conclusion

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Hertha Töpper (contralto)

Wagner:

Euch Lüften, die mein Klagen (from Lohengrin)

Elisabeth Grummer (soprano)

Amfortas! Die Wunde! (from Parsifal)

Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor)

Wesendonck-Lieder (5)

Julia Varady (soprano)

Weber:

Wie nahte mir der Schlummer … Leise, leise, fromme Weise (from Der Freischütz)

Wolf, H:

Das verlassene Mägdlein (No. 7 from Mörike-Lieder)

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)


Great performances from legendary artists of the 20th century, the Classic Archive™

Collector’s Edition – VOICES offers unique insights in the world of music interpretation of the golden age.

This fifth part of the edition is dedicated to some of the most outstanding voices of the past.

With more than 14 hours of material the edition includes various concerti, recitals, interesting documentaries, some in colour, some in glorious black and white, as well as comprehensive booklet information.

This collector’s edition makes rare classical archive footage from the years 1957-1998 suitable for Blu-ray Disc lovers.

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Ideale Audience International Classic Archive - 3075084

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Silvesterkonzert 2015

Silvesterkonzert 2015

New Year‘s Eve Concert 2015


Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor

Chabrier:

L'Etoile: Overture

Massenet:

Le Cid: Suite

Poulenc:

Les Biches: Suite

Ravel:

La Valse

Tzigane

Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin)

Saint-Saëns:

Introduction & Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28

Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin)


With the traditional New Year’s Eve Concert from Berlin the Berliner Philharmoniker give a warm welcome to the New Year.

In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle celebrate with famous French compositions.

The guest star is Anne-Sophie Mutter who performs Camille Saint-Saëns’s thrilling Introduction et Rondo capriccioso and Maurice Ravel’s highly virtuosic Tzigane.

Anne-Sophie Mutter is winner of some of the most prestigious awards such as Grammy Award, Echo Klassik, Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur and Herbert von Karajan Music Prize.

Picture format Blu-ray Disc: 1080i Full HD – 16:9

Sound format Blu-ray Disc: PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Booklet Notes: English, German, French

Running time: 90 mins

German FSK: 0

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EuroArts - 2061474

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Summer Night Concert 2016

Summer Night Concert 2016


Berlioz:

La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Rákóczi March

Bizet:

L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2: IV. Farandole

Offenbach:

Can-Can (from Orpheus in the Underworld)

Poulenc:

Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos & Orchestra

Katia and Marielle Labèque (pianos)

Ravel:

Daphnis et Chloé - Suite No. 2

Boléro

Saint-Saëns:

Le carnaval des animaux: Finale

Strauss, J, II:

Wiener Blut Waltz, Op. 354


The Summer Night Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic is an annual open-air event that takes place in the magical setting of the Schönbrunn Palace Baroque park in Vienna with the palace as a magnificent backdrop. Entrance to the concert is free, and each year up to 100,000 people take up the invitation. The concert is also broadcast on TV and radio in more than 60 countries, and thus reaches an audience of millions. This year’s Summer Night Concert will take place on Thursday 26 May, 2016. The eminent Seymon Bychov will conduct the Summer Night Concert, with Katia and Marielle Labèque playing as soloists.

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Sony - 88985313589

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