Magazine article Opera Canada

Les Troyens

Magazine article Opera Canada

Les Troyens

Article excerpt

Berlioz

MetOpera: 8340

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Tb mark conductor James Levine's 40th anniversary with the Metropolitan Opera in 2011, the company released two boxed sets (one of DVDs and one of CDs), which each contained 11 live Met performances conducted by Levine that had not been released commercially. These performances are now also available individually through the Met's website (www.metoperashop.org).

Levine, who has conducted more than 2,400 performances with the Met (a house record), is also responsible for expanding the company's repertoire and for championing less-familiar works. One of his crowning achievements was this new production of Berlioz's Les Troyens, which the Met mounted in 2003 to mark the bicentennial of the French composer's birth.

Les Troyens taxes the resources of most opera houses since it requires a large orchestra and chorus and a sizeable cast of exceptional singer-actors.The Met, however, clearly rose to the challenges. In the role of Enee, tenor Ben Heppner gives one of his most telling perfbrmances.His high-lying Act l entrance, "Du peuple et des soldats," is particularly treacherous, but Heppner dispatches it with relative ease. But he really shines in the tender love duet with Didon," Nuits d'ivresse et d'extase infinie!" and again in his Act V aria, "Inutiles regrets!" and his parting duet with Didon, in which he is torn between love and duty.

This recording also documents the much-admired American mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in her final Met performances (she died of cancer a few years later). …

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