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Messiaen: Saint François d'Assise
Recorded live at Het Musiektheater, Amsterdam, on 30th May, 11th June & 16th June 2008.
Camilla Tilling (Angel), Rod Gilfry (Saint François), Hubert Delamboye (Leper), Henk Neven (Frère Léon), Tom Randle (Frère Massée), Donald Kaasch (Frère Élie), Armand Arapian (Frère Bernard), Jan Willem Baljet (Frère Sylvestre), André Morsch (Frère Rufin)
The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Ingo Metzmacher (conductor) & Pierre Audi (stage director)
Messiaen's breathtakingly intense opera on the life of St Francis of Assisi stars Rod Gilfry as the charismatic visionary, beguiled by the glory of creation, yet fearful of both its imperfections and its transience. Pierre Audi's thoroughly engaging production for The Netherlands Opera brings out the naïve imagery, the grandeur, and above all the vast tenderness of the resplendent score, revealed as a grandiose ritual with the meaning and purpose of life as its central theme. But the real drama of the work takes place in the orchestra. Elevated to stupendous heights by the sublimely inspired Ingo Metzmacher, The Hague Philharmonic and the Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera combine forces with a brilliant cast to produce the finest possible musical pilgrimage.
‘The orchestra, drilled to absolute perfection, played as if their lives depended on it, while the choral singing was superb in its intensity. The cast tellingly emphasised the physicality as well as the spirituality of Messiaen's vision. Heartthrob baritone Rod Gilfry played Francis as a charismatic visionary beguiled by the glory of creation, yet fearful of both its imperfections and its transience. The Angel, who teases, consoles and ultimately guides him was sensually sung by Mozart diva Heidi Grant-Murphy. A stupendous evening, and one of the great operatic achievements of recent years.’ The Guardian
Illustrated synopsis & cast gallery.
Interviews: The Children
A Chamber Piece…Really
PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9
SOUND: 5.0 DTS SURROUND / PCM STEREO
“This Netherlands Opera production from Pierre Audi… is a triumph of wonderfully inventive, yet sympathetic direction. The imagery follows Messiaen's knack for sophisticated simplicity. His ingenious idea of having children as an audience for the Saint's ornithology lesson in The Sermon to the Birds is charming, while his imaginative treatment of the Angel is also a delight. ...Rod Gilfrey radiates empathy in his portrayal of the exceptionally demanding title role. Ingo Metzmacher's conducting is simply stunning, with marvellous pacing to keep the music flowing across the vast timescale, yet ensuring space and stillness when needed.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2009 *****
“Set in the smaller but still adequate confines of Amsterdam's Musiektheater, Audi's production thoroughly vindicates what may have been a practical decision to accommodate the vast orchestra at the back of the stage, with most of the action on an apron projecting into the stalls... Ingo Metzmacher is typically faithful to Messiaen's markings... and inspires his cohorts to greater feats of stamina and virtuosity than any conductor before him in the opera. Rodney Gilfry holds the stage as the Saint... Camilla Tilling's... sustains her lines with no obvious strain, swathed in the same robes as the Brothers, who all rise to the challenge of filling out their rather starkly defined characters. The chorus... is well drilled and deployed with great intelligence.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2009
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Messiaen: Complete Edition
Pierre-Laurent Aimard . John Alldis Choir . Martha Argerich . Daniel Barenboïm . Noelle Barker . Pierre Boulez / The Cleveland Orchestra . Catherine Cantin . Riccardo Chailly / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra . Myung-Whun Chung / Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France . Myung-Whun Chung / Orchestre de l'Opéra Bastille . Catherine Cournot . José van Dam . Sir Andrew Davis / BBC Chorus and Orchestra . Guy Deplus . Georges Guest / Saint John’s College . Jay Gottlieb . Heinz Holliger . Daniel Hope . Joela Jones . Jean-Paul Kreder / Ensemble Le Madrigal . Gidon Kremer . Hervé Lamy . Christian Lardé . Olivier Latry . Jeanne Loriod . Sextuor d'ondes Jeanne Loriod . Sylvia McNair . Maîtrise de Radio-France . Nathalie Manfrino . Olivier Messiaen . Chris Merritt . Yvonne Loriod . Roger Muraro . Kent Nagano / Hallé Orchestra . Yumi Nara . Françoise Pollet . Karl Anton Rickenbacher / Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin . Quatuor Rosemonde . Mstislav Rostropovich . Robert Sherlaw Johnson . Albert Tétard . Jean-Yves Thibaudet . Dawn Upshaw . Marie Vermeulin . Luben Yordanoff…
It was meant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the great French composer’s birth in December 2008. Released in September 2008, it was sold out before the anniversary date – all 4,000 boxes of the Messiaen Complete Edition.
There are benchmark performances by Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung, Olivier Latry and Roger Muraro, among many others. It’s the only set that can offer Messiaen’s magnum opus, the opera Saint François d’Assise. New recordings were made for the Edition; two works were recorded for the first time.
The only Messiaen box to offer the complete works. Highlights include:
Complete Orchestral Works: Boulez and Chung (including new  recording of Trois petites liturgies and Couleurs de la Cité céleste).
Complete Piano Works: Roger Muraro.
Complete Organ Works: Olivier Latry.
Saint François: José van Dam / Dawn Upshaw / Kent Nagano.
Rarities include La Mort du Nombres, Choeur des déportés, Fêtes des belles eaux for Ondes Martenot, 4 Inédits pour piano et ondes Martenot, Chant dans le style de Mozart ….
Lavish 400-page CD booklet in French and English.
DG - 4801333
(CD - 32 discs)
Scheduled for release on 10 June 2013. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.