Magazine article Gramophone


Magazine article Gramophone


Article excerpt


'Grand Opera'

L'Africaine--Anna, qu'entends-je ... Adieu mon doux rivage (a); La-bas, sous l'arbre noir ... Fleurs nouvelles. Alimeiek--Nun in der Damm'rung Stille. II crociato In Egitto--D'una madre disperta ... Con qual gioia (b). Emma di Resburgo--Sulla rupe triste, sola ... Ah questo bacio. Letolie du nord--Ah, mon Dieu! ... C'est bien l'air que chaque matin. Ein Feldlager In Schlesien--Oh Schwester, find' ich dich! ... Lebe wohl, geliebte Schwester (a). Les Huguenots--O beau pays de la Touraine ... A ce mot sul s'anime (c) Le pardon de Plourmel--Comme cette nuit est lente a se dissiperl ... Ombre legere. Le Prophete--Mon coeur s'elance et palpite. Robert le diable--Robert, toi que j'aime (d)

Diana Damrau sop Chorus and Orchestra of Lyon

National Opera / Emmanuel Vlllaume with

(c) Pascale Obrecht, (c) Pel min Yu sops =Kate Aldrich,

(c) Joanna Curelaru mezs (d) Charles Workman ten

(b) Laurent Naouri bass-bar

Erato (F) 9029 58490-1 (81' * DDD)

Includes texts and translations

There's a great deal to admire in realisation of a long-cherished idea for Diana Damrau. It's meticulously sung, well researched and beautifully presented. And don't be fooled by the 'grand opera' title: it's not just a matter of works in the spectacular genre with which Meyerbeer is most closely associated. There's repertoire in German and Italian as well as from French operas both grands and comiques, plus plenty of music from before the composer conquered Paris, going back as far as the singspiel Alimelek, oder Die beiden Kalifen (1814).

Damrau's own enthusiastic note in the booklet emphasises the variety that the programme demonstrates. And, to a certain extent, we hear that as we run the gamut from charming simplicity in the German works, Rossinian fireworks in the Italian ones to, well, Meyerbeerian fireworks in the French.

But having a whole disc of soprano arias by a composer whose major concern never seems to have been three-dimensional characterisation also seems to undermine the very point Damrau is trying to make. A third of the arias feature extensive flute obliggato, for example, others clarinet--or both. Perky coloratura, dispatched with cool aplomb by Damrau, is a standard device. Meyerbeer could certainly string notes (and lots of them) together fluently, but he struggled to hit upon truly memorable melodies. …

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