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In May 2011, Rolando Villazón made his acclaimed return to Covent Garden singing the title role in Massenet’s Werther - “a perfect fit for him” as The Independent glowed. Captured on CD, Werther showcases every facet of our tenor’s prodigious talent in this signature role.
The Telegraph lauded conductor Antonio Pappano for his“uninhibited affection for the score”.
Act 1: Assez! Assez! M'écoutera-t-on cette fois?
Act 1: "Bravo pour les enfants!"
Act 1: Alors, c'est bien ici la maison du Bailli? ... Je ne sais si je veille
Act 1: Jésus vient de naître! / Chers enfants!
Act 1: "Arriver donc, Brühlmann!"
Act 1: Sophie! / Albert! Toi de retour"
Act 1: Elle m'aime...elle pense à moi" - Quelle prière de reconnaissance et d'amour"
Act 1: Interlude
Act 1: Il faut nous séparer
Act 1: Mais, vou ne savez rien de moi.
Act 1: Rêve...extase...bonheur!
Act 1: Charlotte, Albert est de retour
Act 2: Prélude - "Vivat Bacchus! Semper vivat!"
Act 2: "Trois mois! Voici trois mois que nous sommes unis!"
Act 2 "Un autre est son époux!"
Act 2: "J'aurais sur ma poitrine"
Act 2: "Si Käthchen reviendra"
Act 2: Au bonheur dont mon âme est pleine ... Vous avez dit, mon âme est loyale et sincère
Act 2: Ai-je dit vrai? L'amour que j'ai pour elle ... Ah! qu'il est loin, ce jour plein d'intime douceur
Act 2: "N'est-il donc pas d'autre femme ici-bas"
Act 2: Oui, ce qu'elle m'ordonne...Lorsque l'enfant revient d'un voyage avant l'heure
Act 2: "Mais venez donc! Le cortège s'approche"
Act 3: Prélude
Act 3: "Werther! Werther...qui m'aurait dit la place"
Act 3: Des cris joyeux d'enfants
Act 3: "Bonjour, grande soeur!"
Act 3: Va! Laisse couler mes larmes
Act 3: Tiens, Charlotte, crois-moi, ne reste pas ici
Act 3: "Ah! mon courage m'abandonne!"
Act 3: Oui, c'est moi! Je reviens!
Act 3: Toute mon âme est là! Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle de printemps
Act 3: "N'achevez pas! Hélas!"
Act 3: "Ah! Moi! Moi! Dans ses bras!"
Act 3: "Werther est de retour"
Act 4: Entr'acte
Act 4: "Werther!...Rien!.."
Act 4: "Qui parle?"
Act 4: A cette heure suprême, je suis heureux!
Act 4: Noël! Noël! ... Dieu! Ces cris joyeux!
Act 4: Ah! ses yeux se ferment! ... Non Charlotte je meurs
16th March 2012
“Pappano keeps authoritative control over the temperature gauge throughout and never lets the emotions boil over into abject melodrama... in the last act [Villazon's] singing is coloured by a desperate sincerity which would melt the hardest heart.”
15th March 2012
“Villazón dies spectacularly well, navigating the arc from infatuation to despair to determination. Sophie Koch excels as the remorseful Charlotte...Not a dry eye in the house.”
18th March 2012
“[Villazon's] performance here — impassioned, poetic, both thrillingly extrovert and poignantly introverted — banishes most of the demons that have plagued him ...Pappano lets the Wagnerian orchestration rip in the interludes.”
30th March 2012
“Villazón is back where he’s seen at his best...he throws himself right inside the torments of Werther...you’ll either be irritated or charmed by Villazón’s rather cobwebbed habit of sliding upward toward key notes...But there are also numerous times when the subtlety and beauty of his vocal effects take the breath away...Villazón’s ardour finds its match in Antonio Pappano’s conducting. He never shrinks from the luscious ache in Massenet’s music”
The Independent on Sunday
8th April 2012
“The role of the orchestra is brilliantly realised in Antonio Pappano's performance...Sophie Koch's Charlotte persuades but Roland Villazón's hypersensitive Werther has more sob than suavity.”
“[Villazon] successfully negotiates the exposed or awkward passages. In the bigger singing of the third act...there's a touch of the old, devil-may-care Villazon...Even better is [Koch's Charlotte]...But what seems most likely to allow this recording to enter the lists of classic interpretations is Antonio Pappano's conducting...revealing the score's stresses and strains while deftly conveying its momentum.”
“Villazon's style of singing Massenet is distinctly Latin...his characterization of the part, which benefits greatly from the live stage production and Pappano's breathtakingly theatrical conducting...strikes me as uniquely compelling, even if his singing is not scrupulous stylistically...[Pappano] brings both a Wagnerian sound and Tchaikovskian volatility...I will return to this set as often for Pappano as I will for Villazon.”
“Tingling with nervous intensity, Villazon's Werther is alive at every moment in the mind's eye...Aside from Villazon, the strongest personality in the cast is Antonio Pappano, who gets detailed playing from the orchestra. This is Massenet with an Italianate cut but his sense of drama is second to none, rising to white heat at the climax of that fateful Christmas Eve meeting.”
The Arts Desk
26th May 2012
“There’s no one better [than Pappano] at glossing over the piece’s longueurs...buy this set for the white-hot orchestral playing. Brief orchestral interludes erupt with colour under Pappano and the score’s fruitier outbursts are incandescent”
“[Villazon] is fresh in tone and, most important of all, his half-voice is still in marvellous shape. Few if any present-day tenors have such an array of nuance. Villazon applies this with the music and text in mind, not to show off his technically impressive diminuendo... Anyone buying his/her first Werther who chooses the present one will, I’m convinced, fall in love with both the work and the artists.”
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