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Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

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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.

Duration : 146 minutes

Subtitles : Fr, Eng, Ger, Spa

Colour 16/9, NTSC

PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1

“[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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The Labèque Way: A Letter to Katia and Marielle by Alessandro Baricco

The Labèque Way: A Letter to Katia and Marielle by Alessandro Baricco

A film by Felix Cabez


Poulenc:

Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos & Orchestra

Saint-Saëns:

Le carnaval des animaux


Katia and Marielle Labèque (pianos)

Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle

"The best piano duo in front of an audience today" New York Times “When I sit with Marielle in front of the piano, I always feel something gripping my heart as soon as we play the first notes. It is very important to me and I think it has got to do with being always amazed towards life […].” Katia Labèque

Picture format: 16:9 NTSC

Sound format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.0

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Running time: 120 mins

Language: French, English, Italian, Spanish

Subtitles: English, German, French

Production years: 2012 (Bonus 2005)

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Chung, Argerich, Angelich: Live at the Theatre Antique d’Orange

Chung, Argerich, Angelich: Live at the Theatre Antique d’Orange


Berlioz:

Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9

Bizet:

Carmen: Prelude to Act I

Poulenc:

Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos & Orchestra

Rachmaninov:

Pieces (2) in A major for piano 6 hands: Romance

Saint-Saëns:

Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 'Organ Symphony'

Christophe Henry (organ)


Martha Argerich and Nicholas Angelich alongside Myung-Whun Chung for a concert homage by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France to its conductor in the magical setting of the Théâtre Antique in Orange.

The concert begins with Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, composed in 1844 and ends with Saint-Saëns’s Third Symphony in C minor. This 'Organ' Symphony, dating from 1885-86, is dedicated to Franz Liszt, who had recently died.

Between these two works, the internationally celebrated Argentine pianist Martha Argerich and the equally talented American Nicholas Angelich join to interpret Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, a joyous score in the musical spirit of the 1930s.

The Korean conductor-pianist Myung-Whun Chung conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which he has shaped over many long years.

Running time: 116 min.

Booklet: FR / ENGL

Video: 1 DVD9, colour, 16/9, NTSC

Audio: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1

“Argerich has long made the Poulenc a party piece of hers and with Angerlich gives a super-charged performance to relish” Classical Music, September 2016 ****

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Summer Night Concert 2016

Summer Night Concert 2016


Berlioz:

La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Rákóczi March

Bizet:

L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2

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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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 DVD: 16:9 - NTSC

Sound format DVD: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Booklet Notes: English, German, French

Running time: 90 mins

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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, DD 5.1

Picture Format: 16:9

Original Language: FR

Subtitles: GB, DE, FR, ES, IT

DVD 9 / NTSC

Running Time: 149 mins

FSK: 6

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Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109204

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Maria João Pires: Portrait of a Pianist

Maria João Pires: Portrait of a Pianist

A film by Werner Zeindler


Beethoven:

Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 'Tempest'

Chopin:

Nocturne No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1

Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 'Elvira Madigan'

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F, K280

Poulenc:

Clarinet Sonata, Op. 184

Schubert:

Moments Musicaux, D780: No. 2 in A flat

Schumann:

Der Abschied, Op. 82, No. 9


The Portuguese pianist’s return to the concert platform in the mid-1980s, after a break due to ill health, was a triumph. This programme shows her pursuing her professional career with renewed vigour and talking with great frankness and intensity about her life and work. The music Pires plays includes Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 K. 488 and 21 K. 467, as well as his Piano Sonata K. 280, Chopin’s Nocturne No. 7 in c-sharp minor, Op. 27, No.1, Schumann’s “Abschied” from Waldszenen Op. 82, Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in d-minor, Op. 31, No. 2 and Schubert’s Moments Musicaux No. 2 A flat major D780.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Audio Languages: DE, FR, PT

Subtitles: GB, FR, DE

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD 9 / NTSC

Running Time: 59 mins

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Waldbühne 2005: French Night

Waldbühne 2005: French Night

Live from the Waldbühne Berlin, 2005


Berlioz:

Le carnaval romain Overture, Op. 9

Debussy:

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Dukas:

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Poulenc:

Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos & Orchestra

Katia Labeque (piano) & Marielle Labeque (piano)

Ravel:

Boléro

Danse generale from Daphnis et Chloe, Suite No. 2

Saint-Saëns:

Le carnaval des animaux

Satie:

Gymnopédie No. 1


The Waldbühne in Berlin, one of the most appealing outdoor amphitheatres on the European continent, is the home of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s summer concerts. With over 20.000 in attendance, they are some of the most popular classical music concerts in the world.

In 2005 Simon Rattle conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker and the extraordinary pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque. The French born Labèque sisters are known not only for the seamlessness of their playing, but also for their superlative musicianship and extraordinary scope of repertoire.

Picture format DVD: 16:9 - NTSC

Sound format DVD: PCM Stereo

Region code: 0 (worldwide)

Running time: 120 mins

German FSK: 0

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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

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Güher & Süher Pekinel in concert

Güher & Süher Pekinel in concert

Live from the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Ludwigsburg International Music Festival, 2012


Bartók:

Concerto for 2 pianos, percussion & orchestra, BB 121, Sz. 115

Zubin Mehta

Brahms:

Hungarian Dance No. 5

for two pianos

Debussy:

En blanc et noir

Infante:

Danze andaluse (for 2 pianos): No. 2 Sentimento

Lutosławski:

Variations on a Theme by Paganini, for two pianos

Milhaud:

Brazileira from Scaramouche

for two pianos

Mozart:

Sonata for 2 pianos in D major, K448

Poulenc:

Elegie

for two pianos

Schubert:

Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940


DVD + CD

The two concerts from 2012 released on this DVD once again prove what Güher and Süher Pekinel are famous for: playing piano with the sixth sense. Whether they play Bartók’s Concerto for two pianos and percussion at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (conducted by Zubin Mehta) or Schubert’s wonderful Fantasia in F minor at the Ludwigsburg International Music Festival – their total homogeneity is not only audible but also visible.

They seldom sit facing one another, as in the Bartók concerto. They love the risk involved in having the pianos placed one behind the other, which is highly benefi cial in acoustic terms and forces them to be particularly keen-eared. One of them sees only her sister’s back, while the other sees nothing of her fellow performer at all. Where others make use of facial expressions and gestures, they have to rely completely on their ears.

In addition to Bartók and Schubert they also interpret Debussy, Mozart, Poulenc and Lutosławski, which makes this DVD a diversified and refreshing experience for the ears and for the eyes.

BONUS: CD with parts of the Live Concerts

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9 NTSC

Running Time: 111 mins (Concert), 61 mins (Bonus CD)

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