Orchestre symphonique et choeurs de La Monnaie, Marc Minkowski (conductor) & Laurent Pelly (director)
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This production of one of the late masterpieces of Massenet, 'Don Quichotte', in May 2010 from La Monnaie, was the last great role performed by the feted Belgian baritone, José van Dam.
This very special context generates a real intensity, enhanced by the stage direction of Laurent Pelly and the expertise of Marc Minkowski in French opera repertoire, following numerous productions by Massenet, Debussy, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Auber, Boieldieu, Gounod…
The DVD includes a touching documentary on this production.
José van Dam was born in Brussels. As a guest in the world’s leading opera houses, he has sung the title roles of countless operas but has become synonymous with Philip [Don Carlos] and Don Quichotte in particular. He has contributed to the success of many opera productions at La Monnaie, where he has also appeared in concerts and recitals. He also performs a vast concert, oratorio and song repertoire and has made many recordings. His cinema appearances include the title role in Gérard Corbiau’s 'Le Maître de musique' (The Music Teacher) and a brilliant Leporello in Joseph Losey’s 'Don Giovanni'.
His interpretations have earned him numerous awards. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal; the City of Berlin awarded him the honorary title of ‘Kammersänger’; the French Government has appointed him Commandeur des Arts et Lettres; and he has been ennobled by King Albert II of Belgium.
“At almost 70, Van Dam's voice is not what it was, but his artistry is as consummate as ever. His relative vocal frailty only enhances a characerisation that is a masterclass in expressive understatement...this is both a profoundly moving take on Massenet's 'comedie heroique' and a treasurable souvenir of a great performer in his final role.”
“This issue deserves particular praise because the central performance, on which so much of the opera hangs, was José van Dam’s farewell to the stage at La Monnaie...Van Dam is on very fine form here, clearly relishing the importance of the occasion. His gift for vocal flair is still there...Silvia tro Santafé is a very successful Dulcinée...Minkowski holds the whole evening together with charm, affection and his famous ear for detail”
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