Muzyka Klasyczna The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Thu, 20 Jun 2024 19:30:06 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management pl-pl Giacomo Meyerbeer - Hallelujah: The Choral Works (2016) Giacomo Meyerbeer - Hallelujah: The Choral Works (2016)

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Hallelujah. Cantata For Tenor, Bass, Organ And Choir
1. Hallelujah   
Psalm 91. Psalm Motet For Soloists And 8-part Double Choir
2. Der 91. Psalm
Cantique. Hymn For Bass, 6-part Choir And Organ
3. Cantique   
Pater Noster. Motet For 4-part Choir A Cappella
4. Pater noster   
7 Sacred Songs For Solo Voices And Choir A Cappella
5. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 1   
6. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 2   
7. Geistlicher gesang Nr. 3   
8. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 3 - Das Lied   
9. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 4   
10. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 5   
11. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 6   
12. Geistlicher Gesang Nr. 7   
An Mozart. Quartet For 4 Male Voices a cappella
13. An Mozart   

Rheinische Kantorei
Hermann Max - conductor


Hermann Max and his Rheinische Kantorei present an entirely new facet in the oeuvre of the opera composer Giacomo Meyerbeer on this recording premiere of his sacred chroal works. In the booklet, Max himself writes, ""The protagonists of the Enlightenment influenced Giacomo's social network in letters and conversations during his early years. It was only logical that religious texts were viewed more in literary terms than as faith documents to be taken seriously. The stories from the Bible contradicting the laws of nature were taken more nonchalantly than with absolute seriousness and naive faith. Jesus often was mentioned no longer as the Son of God but as the most important human being ever born. As a principle operating against prejudices and intolerance, reason questioned everything religious and offered guidance contributing to the proper recognition of the laws of nature. For Meyerbeer, the fascination of religious texts lay in their musical setting as historical and literary material. Romanticists experienced ""time travel"" to regions located in the distant past as a departure from reality and the exploration of an imaginary world created by the mind. Giacomo enjoyed all of the above and was enthusiastic about what he learned as a traveler in Europe. His career as a virtuoso, which his great talent as a pianist when he was a boy had seemed to promise, was soon forgotten. Italy fascinated Meyerbeer. Especially Rossini and Salieri. He now kenw that it was right to have abandoned the oppressively dry instruction in composition that he was receiving from Zelter and to study in Darmstadt with Abbe Vogler. The Abbe cured him of self-doubts and opened his imagination to a vast ocean of compositional possibilities. ---Editorial Reviews,

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Sun, 18 Feb 2018 16:27:34 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer - Il Crociato in Egitto [2010] Giacomo Meyerbeer - Il Crociato in Egitto [2010]

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Disc 1

1.   Act I Scene 1: Patria amata! (Chorus of Slaves, 2 Slaves) 00:10:19
2.   Act I Scene 1: I doni d'Elmireno (Palmide, Chorus of Slaves, Osmino, Aladino) 00:09:04
3.   Act I Scene 1: Ah! si: tutti i miei voti (Aladino, Palmide, Osmino) 00:02:07
4.   Act I Scene 1: Urridi vezzose (Chorus of Favourites) 00:04:28
5.   Act I Scene 2: Cessi, o miei fidi, la sorpresa (Armando) 00:04:16
6.   Act I Scene 2: E Palmide! … ella sola or manca (Armando, Palmide) 00:04:29
7.   Act I Scene 2: Ah! non ti son piu cara (Palmide, Armando) 00:07:43
8.   Act I Scene 3: Vedi il legno, che al cielo vivente (Chorus of People, Felicia) 00:03:36
9.   Act I Scene 3: Popoli dell'Egitto (Felicia) 00:00:51
10. Act I Scene 3: Pace io reco, a noi piu grata (Felicia, Chorus of People) 00:04:19
11.   Act I Scene 3: Ah! piu sorridere, labbro d'amore (Felicia, Chorus of People) 00:03:33
12.   Act I Scene 3: Tu, degli illustri cavalier di Rodi (Osmino, Felicia) 00:00:20
13.   Act I Scene 4: Tutto d'intorno tace omai (Adriano) 00:02:57
14.   Act I Scene 4: L'angustia mia, questa smania (Armando, Adriano) 00:02:46
15.   Act I Scene 4: Va': gia varcasti, indegno (Adriano, Armando) 00:04:42
16.   Act I Scene 4: Non sai quale incanto (Armando, Adriano) 00:07:42

Disc 2

1.   Act I Scene 5: Quai rimembranze amare (Felicia, Alma, Palmide) 00:00:39
2.   Act I Scene 5: D'Armando Orville! … (Palmide, Felicia) 00:03:56
3.   Act I Scene 5: Giovinetto Cavalier (Felicia, Palmide, Armando) 00:12:18
4.   Act I Scene 5: Armando! … Armando! … (Palmide, Felicia, Alma, Armando) 00:01:53
5.   Act I Scene 6: Gran profeta, ognor dal ciel (Chorus of Imams, Chorus of Knights) 00:05:08
6.   Act I Scene 6: Invitto, illustre gran maestro (Aladino, Adriano, Felicia, Palmide, Armando, Osmino) 00:07:57
7.   Act I Scene 6: Sogni, e ridenti di pace (Armando, Palmide, Felicia, Adriano, Aladino, Osmino) 00:05:02
8.   Act I Scene 6: Ite, superbi (Aladino, Felicia, Adriano, Osminio, Chorus of Imams, Armando) 00:07:08
9.   Act II Scene 1: Ove, incauta, m'inoltro … (Felicia) 00:01:41
10.   Act II Scene 1: Ah! ch'io l'adoro ancor (Felicia, Osmino, Chorus of Emirs) 00:04:51
11.   Act II Scene 1: Come dolce a lusingarmi (Felicia, Osmino, Chorus of Emirs) 00:03:53
12.   Act II Scene 2: Aria: O solinghi recessi! (Palmide) 00:02:25
13.   Act II Scene 2: Tutto qui parla ognor (Palmide) 00:03:53
14.   Act II Scene 2: Ma ciel! … s'ei mai peri! (Palmide, Alma, Osmino, Aladino) 00:02:17
15.   Act II Scene 2: D'una madre disperata (Palmide) 00:04:58
16.   Act II Scene 2: A suoi pie, ai suoi pianti (Chorus of Emirs, Aladino, Palmide) 00:03:58

Disc 3

1.   Act II Scene 2: A che mi chiami (Adriano, Aladino, Armando, Palmide) 00:03:03
2.   Act II Scene 3: In sen del nostro possente nume (Armando, Palmide, Adriano, Felicia) 00:04:11
3.   Act II Scene 3: O Cielo clemente (Armando, Palmide, Adriano, Felicia) 00:07:15
4.   Act II Scene 3: Che miro Oh cielo! (Aladino, Palmide, Armando, Adriano, Felicia, Osmino, Chorus of Emirs, Chorus of Guards) 00:03:08
5.   Act II Scene 3: Ah! questo e l'ultimo, crudele addio (Palmide, Armando, Adriano, Chorus of Emirs, Felicia, Aladino, Osmino) 00:03:50
6.   Act II Scene 3: Aladin, troppo ardente (Osmino) 00:00:52
7.   Act II Scene 4: Tutto e finito. E ancor pochi istanti (Adriano, Chorus of Knights) 00:07:45
8.   Act II Scene 4: Suona funerea l'ora di morte (Adriano, Chorus of Knights) 00:04:12
9.   Act II Scene 4: Guidati sian que' perfidi (Aladino, Adriano, Chorus of Knights) 00:00:53
10.  Act II Scene 4: L'acciar della fede ai prodi si chiede (Adriano, Chorus of Emirs, Chorus of Guards, Chorus of Knights, Aladino, Osmino) 00:03:50
11.   Act II Scene 4: O tu, divina fe de' padri miei (Armando) 00:03:25
12.   Act II Scene 4: Il di rinascera (Armando) 00:02:52
13.   Act II Scene 4: Sollecita, pietosa or tronchi morte (Armando, Felicia) 00:03:12
14.   Act II Scene 4: Con noi qual alto arcano!… (Chorus of Knights, Chorus of Saracens) 00:00:35
15.   Act II Scene 4: Primiero sul tiranno io piombero (Osmino, Adriano, Aladino, Chorus of Knights) 00:01:47
16.   Act II Scene 4: Ah! che fate! v'arrestate (Armando, Osmino, Chorus of Emirs, Adriano, Aladino, Chorus of Knights) 00:01:04
17.   Act II Scene 4: Rapito io sento il cor a tanto mio piacer… (Armando, Chorus of Knights) 00:04:25
18.   Act II Scene 4: Verrai meco di Provenza (Armando, Chorus of Knights) 00:02:42
Total Playing Time: 03:24:10

Armando d’Orville – Michael Maniaci, Countertenor
Palmide – Patrizia Ciofi, Soprano
Aladino – Marco Vinco, Bass
Osmino – Iorio Zennaro, Tenor
Alma – Silvia Pasini, Mezzo–soprano
Adriano di Monfort – Fernando Portari, Tenor
Felicia – Laura Polverelli, Mezzo–soprano
Primo schiavo – Luca Favaron, Tenor
Secondo schiavo – Emanuele Pedrini, Bass

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia
Emmanuel Villaume (conductor)

Teatro La Fenice, Venice 16 January 2007


“Meyerbeer created his operas not as Delacroix painted a battle or tragic death-scene; rather he made them as a vast, elaborate woven tapestry—showered with detail and colour—the result of years of painstaking work.”

The reputation that Giacomo Meyerbeer has enjoyed since the beginning of the twentieth century is surely that of a meritorious, but deeply old-fashioned, composer, whose works suited the taste of his own day but have little place in opera houses of more recent times. Meyerbeer is remembered as a maker of operas on a grand scale; yet his output during a long career was only seventeen stage works, of which just six remain familiar (by name alone) to most music-lovers, and not all of which are indeed that grand. Such was the impact that several of them made during his lifetime that it is both surprising and regrettable that they are not better known and admired in the 21st century.

This landmark recording of Meyerbeer’s Il crociato in Egitto was made during a performance at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice in January 2007. That production, directed and designed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, was the first anywhere for well over a hundred years and thus this recording offer a welcome opportunity for a reassessment of one of nineteenth-century opera’s long-forgotten, major masterpieces. Il crociato was composed at the close of Meyerbeer’s ‘Italian’ phase, a transitional stylistic period, shortly before he embarked upon his triumphant ‘French’ career.

Born Jakob Beer on 5 September 1791 in Tasdorf, near Berlin, the young prodigy changed his name to Meyerbeer at the age of nineteen, by which time he had already achieved recognition through several notable piano and orchestral compositions. His preference for the forename Giacomo reflected his love of Italian music, fostered during lengthy visits to Italy in his mid-twenties.

With the good fortune of being born into a prosperous Jewish family, Jakob received a musical education and sound advice from some of the most distinguished performers and academics of the day; he could hardly have hoped for better. Franz Lauska, his first teacher, had links with the Prussian Royal House and under his guidance Jakob gave his first public piano recital. He studied for a while with the composer Muzio Clementi, continued with Carl Zelter (two of whose later pupils were Felix Mendelssohn and Otto Nicolai) and knew Antonio Salieri in Berlin. An introduction to Abbé Vogler (Carl Maria von Weber’s teacher) took him to Darmstadt, where he worked and socialised with other young composers and developed an interest in writing for the opera stage. With this valuable experience behind him, Jakob travelled with unceasing energy throughout Germany and Austria (and once to London), continuing to compose and achieving performances of two early operas, Jephtas Gelübde and Wirth und Gast, albeit with mixed results. During this time he also created works in other genres, including songs, instrumental music and oratorios, for which he earned considerable acclaim.

A period in Paris was followed by his formative tours of Italy, when he came to know and admire (and, in the opinion of some contemporaries, to copy) the works of Rossini, almost his exact coeval. In 1817—and by now fully fledged as Giacomo Meyerbeer—his first Italian opera, Romilda e Costanza, was performed in Padua. This enjoyed the appreciable asset of a libretto by Gaetano Rossi. During a long career, Rossi produced over 120 texts for many Italian composers, including five for Meyerbeer himself, and during the next few years his collaboration undoubtedly contributed significantly to the success of Meyerbeer’s Semiramide riconosciuta (1819 in Turin), Emma di Resburgo (1819, Venice) and Margherita d’Anjou (1820, Milan).

Italy had clearly taken Meyerbeer to its heart, to such an extent that one of the country’s most famous theatres, La Fenice in Venice, commissioned a new opera from him for production during the city’s Carnival season of 1824. Il crociato in Egitto (The Crusader in Egypt) was an extraordinary triumph and before many months had passed it was presented in several other Italian cities. The first London performance was given at His Majesty’s Theatre in June 1825 and just three months later its Paris première, at the Théâtre Italien, paved the way for the remainder of Meyerbeer’s career, and his immensely influential output of six grand and comic operas in French. Over the next few years Il crociato was presented in the Americas, in Turkey and throughout Europe with consistent success.

With his career then centred in Paris, (apart from a short break when he returned to Berlin to take up a Court appointment), Meyerbeer composed successively Robert le diable (1831), Les Huguenots (1836), Le prophète (1849), L’étoile du nord (1854), Dinorah (1859) and, finally, L’Africaine, first performed at the Opéra in 1865, almost a year after the composer’s death.

As well as being known for this handful of French operas, Meyerbeer is less happily remembered as the target of lashing criticism from Richard Wagner, which began around 1850 and continued long after Meyerbeer’s death. This burning acrimony was apparently ignited by a mixture of professional jealousy and racial hatred, and seems particularly unpleasant in view of the support that Meyerbeer had given the younger composer a number of years earlier. How far the later decline in Meyerbeer’s reputation can be attributed to Wagner’s vitriol is difficult to assess but, nevertheless, decline it did; he surely remains the best-remembered forgotten composer of the nineteenth century.

When preparing his text for Il crociato in Egitto, Gaetano Rossi loosely based his libretto on a recently published play by Jean-Antoine-Marie Monperlier, Les Chevaliers de Malte (The Knights of Malta), set during the sixth crusade. The opera tells the story of the love of Palmide and Elmireno (otherwise known as Armando d’Orville), their child Mirva, of Armando’s duplicity, of the thwarted but ever-loyal Felicia, of the Knights of Rhodes and the religious tensions between the leading groups of characters, Christian and Muslim. The opera has one special claim to fame, being the last major work composed for a castrato, in this case the celebrated Giovanni Velluti who sang not only at the Venice première, but also in its first London performances; so taken was Velluti with the English capital that for a while he became manager of the King’s Theatre and returned to the city to sing several times, even after that administrative venture failed. Other principals in the first Venice performances were the French dramatic soprano Henriette Méric-Lalande, (who also created rôles for Bellini and Donizetti); mezzo Brigida Lorenzani; the ageing tenor Gaetano Crivelli, and Luciano Bianchi, one of Rossini’s preferred baritones.

When Il crociato was presented in Paris, however, the rôle of Armando was taken by the adored soprano Giuditta Pasta and Meyerbeer composed new music for her performances, to replace some of the original numbers. This led to the loss of several solos and ensembles and was followed by further changes for other productions in Italy and elsewhere. Meyerbeer adapted his scores as necessary—sometimes unwillingly—as his chosen singers were replaced by less satisfactory substitutes at the behest of local management. Such complexity makes analysis of early performances something of a challenge. On the present recording the rôle of Armando/Elmireno is taken by the American male soprano Michael Maniaci, whose timbre and extraordinary vocal agility surely convey something of the qualities of Velluti’s voice. To 21st century ears the unfamiliarity of such a sound can still sound strange, differing as it does from the better known countertenor voice, but Maniaci makes a convincing case for casting a male singer in this rôle, however beautifully Pasta, and later sopranos, may have performed it.

Almost two hundred years after its first performance, Il crociato in Egitto still inspires admiration, truly a ‘woven tapestry showered with detail and colour’, so different in scale from anything that had previously been composed. Meyerbeer led the way for an entirely new nineteenth-century operatic style which many others followed—and are better remembered. Putting it in context, it is worth recalling that in the year of its première Rossini had all but ended his career as an operatic composer; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was two years away and Bellini’s first opera had yet to be staged. Berlioz’s first opera was still ten years in the future and Verdi and Wagner were not yet teenagers.

The edition of Il crociato, prepared by Franco Rossi and Carlo Steno Rossi for the 2007 performances, omits some short sections of recitative and slightly reduces other scenes but, for the most part, retains the original version composed for La Fenice in 1824, thus giving a true sense of the original production. It is fitting that this timely new recording should have been made in the very theatre for which Meyerbeer conceived the opera and first saw it performed to such acclaim.

Il crociato in Egitto was first performed at the Teatro la Fenice, Venice on 7 March 1824. ---Paul Campion,

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:17:41 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer - Le Prophète (1976) Giacomo Meyerbeer - Le Prophète (1976)

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CD 1:
1. Le Prophète / Act I - Prélude - La brise est muette
2. Le Prophète / Act I - Mon coeur s'élance et palpite
3. Le Prophète / Act I - Fidès, ma bonne mère
4. Le Prophète / Act I - Ad nos, ad salutarem undam
5. Le Prophète / Act I - Ainsi ces beaux châteaux?
6. Le Prophète / Act I - Ô roi des cieux
7. Le Prophète / Act I - Le Comte d'Oberthal, le seigneur Châtelain!
8. Le Prophète / Act I - Un jour, dans les flots de la Meuse
9. Le Prophète / Act I - Eh quoi! tant de candeur
10. Le Prophète / Act II - Valsons toujours
11. Le Prophète / Act II - Ami, quel nuage obscurcit ta pensée?
12. Le Prophète / Act II - Pour Berthe moi je soupire
13. Le Prophète / Act II - Ils partent, grâce au ciel!
14. Le Prophète / Act II - Ah! mon fils, sois béni!
15. Le Prophète / Act II - O fureur! le ciel ne tonne pas sur ces têtes impies!
16. Le Prophète / Act II - Gémissant sous le joug et sous la tyrannie
17. Le Prophète / Act II - Ne sais-tu pas qu'en France
18. Le Prophète / Act II - Et la couronne

CD 2:
1. Le Prophète / Act III - Du sang! du sang! du sang!
2. Le Prophète / Act III - Aussi nombreux que les étoiles
3. Le Prophète / Act III - Voici la fin du jour
4. Le Prophète / Act III - Voici les fermières
5. Le Prophète / Act III - Valse
6. Le Prophète / Act III - Pas de Redowa
7. Le Prophète / Act III - Quadrille
8. Le Prophète / Act III - Galop
9. Le Prophète / Act III - Livrez-vous au repos, frères
10. Le Prophète / Act III - Sous votre bannière
11. Le Prophète / Act III - Pour prendre Munster
12. Le Prophète / Act III - Mais pourquoi dans l'ombre demeurer ainsi?
13. Le Prophète / Act III - Qu'on le mène au supplice!
14. Le Prophète / Act III - Par toi Munster nous fut promis
15. Le Prophète / Act III - Qui vous a sans mon ordre entraînés aux combats?
16. Le Prophète / Act III - Éternel, Dieu sauveur
17. Le Prophète / Act III - Grand prophète
18. Le Prophète / Act III - Roi du ciel et des anges
19. Le Prophète / Act IV - Courbons notre tête
20. Le Prophète / Act IV - Donnez, donnez pour une pauvre âme
21. Le Prophète / Act IV - C'est l'heure!
22. Le Prophète / Act IV - Un pauvre pèlerin!
23. Le Prophète / Act IV - Dernier espoir, lueur dernière

CD 3:
1. Le Prophète / Act IV - Un matin je trouvai dans mon humble logis
2. Le Prophète / Act IV - La Marche du couronnement
3. Le Prophète / Act IV - Domine, salvum fac regem nostrum
4. Le Prophète / Act IV - Le voilà, le Roi Prophète
5. Le Prophète / Act IV - Qui je suis?
6. Le Prophète / Act IV - Arrêtez!
7. Le Prophète / Act IV - Tu chérissais ce fils dont j'offre les traits?
8. Le Prophète / Act V - Ainsi vous l'attestez?
9. Le Prophète / Act V - O prêtres de Baal
10. Le Prophète / Act V - O toi qui m'abandonnes
11. Le Prophète / Act V - Comme un éclair précipité
12. Le Prophète / Act V - Ma mère! ma mère! ma mère!
13. Le Prophète / Act V - Eh bien! si le remords s'éveille dans ton âme
14. Le Prophète / Act V - Voici le souterrain
15. Le Prophète / Act V - Loin de la ville
16. Le Prophète / Act V - Ô spectre, ô spectre épouvantable!
17. Le Prophète / Act V - Hourra! hourra! gloire! gloire!
18. Le Prophète / Act V - Versez! que tout respire l'ivresse et le délire

Fidès – Marilyn Horne
Jean de Leyden – James McCracken
Berthe – Renata Scotto
Le Сomte d'Oberthal – Jules Bastin
Zacharie – Jerome Hines
Jonas – Jean Dupouy
Mathisen – Christian du Plessis
1er Paysan – Oliver Broome
2e Paysan – John Noble
1ère Paysanne – Patricia Clark
2e Paysanne – Shirley Minty
1er Bourgeois & 1er Anabaptiste – Vernon Midgley
Officier & 2e Anabaptiste – Leslie Fyson
2e Bourgeois – Neilson Taylor
3e Bourgeois – Bruce Ogston
Un soldat – John Treleaven
1er Enfant – Nicholas Webb
2e Enfant – Mark Richardson

Ambrosian Opera Chorus; Boys Choir, Haberdashers' Aske's School, Elstree
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor – Henry Lewis

Rec.: Henry Wood Hall, Trinity Church Square, London; 30.VI, 1, 2, 6, 9, 10-14.VII.1976.


This recording of what was once among the most popular operas of all was made in 1976. It has been reissued several times since then, in increasingly less sumptuous packaging (the 2016 version includes a cast list, a plot summary keyed to the track division, and little else). Casual observers may wonder what the big deal is. It's true; there are some big names involved. Marilyn Horne as Fidès, the mother of the tenor lead Jean de Leyden, was in fine form. The other top soprano, Renata Scotto, was a trifle less so, but there are some magnificent duets that, for lovers of the 1970s scene, may well be worth the price of admission (sample CD 1, track 8, "Un jour dans les flots de la Meuse"). But James McCracken as Jean is not in the same league, and the 1970s studio sound has a hollow quality that may make you think you're hearing theater sound. Really, the reason this recording has lasted so long is that nothing has come along to supplant it, and the opera is underrated. Its theme of elites living in fear of religious mobs has acquired new relevance, and its libretto by Eugène Scribe balances action, history, and romance as few other operatic stories have. The best reason to buy this album is that the time has come to appreciate why our great-grandparents knew Le Prophète so much better than we do. ---James Manheim, AllMusic Review


“People of my father’s generation,” said Reynaldo Hahn, “would rather have doubted the solar system than the supremacy of Le Prophète over all other operas”. Meyerbeer once again returned to the theme of religion and politics; if Huguenots is about religious bigotry, Le Prophète is about religion hijacked by unscrupulous men for political gain, and the dangers of utopianism. The Prophet is the Anabaptist leader John of Leyden, who captured Münster and ruled there tyrannically until he was overthrown and executed. Meyerbeer’s Jean is an impressive psychological portrait: a dreamy idealist and mother’s boy, a puppet of the murderously hypocritical Anabaptists, and a ruthless soldier. The work, set in the Netherlands and Germany in the early sixteenth century at the time of the Peasants’ War, was rewritten after the revolutions of 1848 and 1849. Meyerbeer is sympathetic to the grievances of the oppressed peasantry but does not suggest revolution as the answer.

The work is sombre in tone. Highlights of the score include the famous Cathedral Scene, which greatly impressed Verdi, and which opens with the Coronation March (possibly Meyerbeer’s best-known piece today); the divertissement of the skating ballet; and the arioso “Ah! mon fils, sois béni” and cavatine “Ô prêtres de Baal” sung by Jean’s mother, Fidès.

It was because of the role of Jean’s mother Fidès that the work was long delayed. Meyerbeer completed the first draft of Le prophète in 1841, but lodged the score with his Paris lawyer and refused to stage it because the Opéra director, Leon Pillet, wanted his mistress Rosine Stoltz to sing the role of Fidès, mother of the prophet, while Meyerbeer wanted Pauline Viardot. In 1849, Pillet was sacked, and Duponchel became director—and on 16 April 1849, nearly a decade after it was composed, the opera was at long last performed.

The opera was staged in London in the same year, and in Germany, Vienna, Lisbon, Antwerp, New Orleans, Budapest, Brussels, Prague and Basel the next. Of the various recordings, the best is undoubtedly the Henry Lewis recording with Nicolai Gedda as Jean and Marilyn Horne as Fidès (Opera Magic – OM24186). Warning: another recording (Opera d’Oro - B00004SU9S) exists with these singers; it is roughly recorded, and the listener can hear the conductor restart numbers and musicians turning pages. A new recording needs to be made, using the critical edition of the score published in 2010, which incorporates the manuscript full score found in the Bibliothèque National de Paris and several sections of the opera cut during rehearsals, the original parts of which were found in the Paris Opéra archives in the 1990s. ---Nick Fuller,

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Sun, 10 Sep 2017 09:44:24 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer - Margherita d'Anjou (2002) Giacomo Meyerbeer - Margherita d'Anjou (2002)

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Disc: 1
  1. Sinfonia Militare
  2. Quatro! Cinque! Che Bel Colpetto!
  3. Miei Fedeli!
  4. O Speme D'un Regno
  5. Ma Qual Suono
  6. Il Contento E Il Piacer Di Vittoria
  7. Proffitiam Del Tumulto
  8. Alfin Respiro
  9. Ah! Tu Non Sai
  10. Questa Speme Che Mi Avanza
  11. Insomma Mia Signora
  12. Fra Gli Applausi
  13. Regina, Al Nostro Oprar
  14. E'riposta In Questi Accenti
  15. Da Cosi Bell'impresa
  16. Per Noi Di Gloria Gia Splende Un Raggio
  17. Maesta, Due Francesi Qui Giunti Poco Fa'
  18. Non Vi E Ripato
  19. Eccolo, O Caro Sposo
  20. Si Mesto E Pensoso
  21. Secondiam Si Dolce Istinto

Disc: 2
  1. Regina, In Questo Istante
  2. Eccovi, O Prodi
  3. Fra Gli Applausi
  4. E Carlo Ancor Non Torna?
  5. Fra Quest'ombre
  6. Ciel! M'assisti
  7. Quintetto 'Curdel Cimento'
  8. Allegro Con Spirito 'Fissami Gli Occhi In Fronte'
  9. Stretta 'Ma Piu D'appresso
  10. Che Bell'alba
  11. Dolci Alberghi Di Pace
  12. Che Mai Giova Il Serto
  13. Cabaletta - 'Incerto Palpito'
  14. Ritiratevi Amici!

Disc: 3
  1. Finche Della Tenzon
  2. Ah Si! Pur Troppo
  3. Andantino - 'Tu Che Le Vie Segrete'
  4. Allegretto - 'D'un Tal Piacer'
  5. Eccomi Di Chirugo E Dottore
  6. Pensa E Guarda, Amico, All'erta!
  7. Ecco Altezza A Voi Davanti
  8. Andante Sostenuto 'Oh Rabbia! Oh Furore!'
  9. Allegro Alla Breve 'Piomba Il Fulmine Del Cielo'
  10. Bravi! Bravi Amiconi!
  11. Scena 'O Ciel! Qual Mai Contrasto'
  12. Aria 'Mio Pianto Rasciuga'
  13. Rondo 'Ah! Sposo Adorabile'
  14. Dolce Albergo Di Pace
  15. Perche Mai Sedurmi Amore
  16. Cabaletta - 'Incerto Palpito'

Margherita D’Anjou, (widow of Henry VI of England) - Annick Massis, (soprano)
The Duke of Laverenne, (Grand Senechal of Normandy) - Bruce Ford, (tenor)
Isaura, (Laverenne’s wife), Daniela Barcellona - (mezzosoprano)
Carlo Belmonte, (A general banished by the Queen, in the service of Glocester) - Alastair Miles, (bass)
Riccardo, (Duke of Glocester) - Paul Putins (bass)
Michelle, (a French physician) - Favio Previati, (bass)
Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
London Philharmonic Orchestra
David Parry - conductor


Premiered at La Scala in 1820, this opera was a grand success. It is a semi-seria; that is, with possible tragic elements along the way, it still manages to end happily. The plot is ridiculous and absolutely does not matter, but here goes: We are in the Scottish highlands. The tenor, Lavarenne, leader of the troops of our eponymous soprano heroine (widow of Henry VI), is in love with her; his ditched wife Isaura (mezzo) has tracked him down and is disguised as a young male soldier, accompanied by Michele (baritone), a comic doctor who later becomes a cook. The troops are fighting Gloucester (bass); there is a traitor, Carlo (bass), who was on Margherita's side but defected to Gloucester and later returns to Margherita. Troops change loyalties left and right. Eventually Lavarenne realizes that although he's wild for Margie, Isaura's the one he really loves, and it is she, Isaura the mezzo, who gets the final aria. Oh, never mind.

It is not a great work, but I defy anyone who hears it to have a bad time. There is some piano-accompanied recitative, but mostly it's fun, showy music, composed for virtuosos--and performed here by virtuosos. There's a trio for three basses that's as intricate as it is entertaining, an aria or two for Margherita--at least one of which is gorgeously lyrical with a violin obbligato to die for (did Verdi know it?), some fine music for tenor with high Bs and Cs popping up in the oddest places, offstage bands, two duets with mezzo, and a 10-minute sextet in Act 2 (which grows organically from the trio) that would make most composers proud.

As I said, we're in virtuoso land. Mezzo Danielle Barcellona's Isaura is thoroughly convincing; she has a substantial sound that is agile and appealing. Bruce Ford is endlessly impressive in this type of music, and his voice has taken on a certain density that doesn't detract from his ardency. He's militarily reliable, always sings on the note, and is fluid in passage work. Bass Alastair Miles is a Carlo with a nice dark tone and a seriousness of purpose, and amazingly, newcomer (to me at least) Fabio Previati makes the enigmatic, vaguely silly Michele a real character. As Margherita, soprano Annick Massis is perfect--she's a great under-recorded (and under-famous) singer, with a beautiful tone (she ends Act 1 on a high-D that's not only impressive, but rounded and lovely) and spectacular agility. Is she interested in the character? Is there a character to be interested in? It seems not to matter.

The rest of the singers are terrific, and the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, with plenty to do (they're an army, after all), is just as good. David Parry (when will he have an American career?) leads the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a sense of great purpose and they react accordingly. The notes in the accompanying booklet are a veritable course in Meyerbeerian lore, informative and entertaining. It ain't Don Giovanni, it ain't Otello (anyone's), it ain't Giulio Cesare, but it's a great time. Sound is just about ideal. ---Robert Levine,

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Thu, 21 Nov 2019 14:25:24 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer - Robert Le Diable (2006) Giacomo Meyerbeer - Robert Le Diable (2006)

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1. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Ouverture 
2. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Versez à tasse pleine 	
3. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Jadis régnait en Normandie 
4. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Qu'on arrête un vassal insolent! 
5. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. O mon prince! 
6. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Va, dit-elle, va 	
7. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Je n'ai pu fermer sa paupière! 
8. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Courage! Ta nouvelle 	
9. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Le duc de Normandie 	
10. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. O fortune à ton caprice 
11. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. J'ai perdu; ma revanche! 	
12. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Malheur sans égal! 	
13. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Entr'acte 
14. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Que je hais les grandeurs 	
15. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Il me délaisse 				play
16. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Approchons sans frayeur! 
17. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Idole de ma vie 	
18. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Courage! Allons montrez-vous 
19. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Avec bonté voyez ma peine 	
20. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Mon coeur s'élance et palpite 
21. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Oui! Dans ces combats guerriers 	
22. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Chorus 	
23. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Ballet 
24. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Quand tous nous chevaliers 
25. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Voici le signal des combats

1. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Du rendez-vous voici 
2. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Ah! L'honnête homme! 	
3. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Encore un de gagné!... O mon fils! 	
4. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Raimbaut! Dans ce lieu solitaire 	
5. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Quand je quittai la Normandie 	
6. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. O ciel le bruit redouble 			play
7. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. L'arrêt est prononcé! 	
8. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Mais Alice, qu'as-tu donc! 
9. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Fatal moment, cruel mystère 
10. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Qu'a-t-elle donc? 	
11. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Si j'aurai ce courage? 	
12. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Voici donc les débris du monastère 	
13. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Nonnes, qui reposez 	
14. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Voici ce lieu témoin

1. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Douce ivresse la tendresse 
2. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Mais n'est-ce pas cette jeune 	
3. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Du magique rameau 	
4. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Ou suis-je? 	
5. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Robert, toi que j'aime 
6. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Mon coeur s'émeut 	
7. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Quelle aventure! 	
8. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. Malheureux ou coupable 	
9. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. Dans ce lieu pourquoi me forcer 	
10. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. O ciel, que donc es-tu? 	
11. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. Je t'ai trompé, je fus coupable 	
12. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. L'arrêt est prononcé 
13. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. A tes lois je souscris 	
14. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. Mon fils, ma tendresse assidue 	
15. Robert le diable, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 5. Chantez, troupe immortelle		play

Robert - Alain Vanzo
Bertrand - Samuel Ramey
Albert - Jean Philippe Marlière
Raimbaud - Walter Donati
Isabelle - June Anderson
Alice - Michèle Lagrange
Hérault - Michel Philippe
Une Dame d'honneur - Martine Mahé
Un prêtre - Fernand Dumont

Orchestre et Choeur National de l'Ópéra de Paris
Thomas Fulton - conductor, July 1986


Robert le diable (Robert the Devil) is an opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer, often regarded as the first grand opera. The libretto was written by Eugène Scribe and Casimir Delavigne and has little connection to the medieval legend of Robert the Devil. Originally planned as a three-act opéra comique, "Meyerbeer persuaded Scribe to change (the opera) a five-act grand opera". The dramatic music, harmony and orchestration of Robert, its melodramatic plot, and its sensational stage effects (especially the ballet of the nuns) made it an overnight success and instantly confirmed Meyerbeer as the leading opera composer of his age, compelling Frédéric Chopin, who was in the audience to say "If ever magnificence was seen in the theatre, I doubt that it reached the level of splendour shown in Robert.....It is a masterpiece...Meyerbeer has made himself immortal"

The opera was the first new production by the new manager of the Opéra, Louis Véron, and its success underwrote his policy of commissioning similar works, which were to include Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, Fromental Halévy's La Juive, and Daniel Auber's Gustave III.

The opera premiered on 21 November 1831 at the Paris Opéra, and was the work that brought Meyerbeer international fame. The success owed much to the opera's star singers - Nicolas Levasseur as Bertram, Adolphe Nourrit as Robert—and to the provocative "ballet of the nuns" in the third act, featuring the great ballerina, Marie Taglioni.

The opera - under the title of The Fiend-Father in a version by Rophino Lacy - was first presented in London at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 20 February 1832 and in its original version at the Haymarket Theatre on 11 June of that year. Lacy's version was given in New York on 7 April 1834.

The 1984 revival by the Paris opera (with Rockwell Blake (Robert), Samuel Ramey (Bertram), Walter Donati (Raimbaut), Michèle Lagrange (Alice) and June Anderson (Isabelle))was the first in that city since 1911, and the first at the Opéra since 1893".

Synopsis: The opera is based loosely on the medieval legend of Robert the Devil, many versions of which allege that the Duke Robert the Magnificent of Normandy (father of William the Conqueror) was the devil.

Act 1

Robert and his mysterious friend Bertram are carousing in Palermo. The minstrel Raimbaud, not recognising Robert, sings a ballad referring to him as 'Robert the Devil'. Raimbaud begs for pardon and tells Robert that he is engaged to marry Robert's half-sister Alice. Alice enters and tells Robert she bears a message from their dying mother. Robert tells her to keep it till later and asks her to take a letter to his own fiancée, the Princess Isabelle. Bertram challenges Robert to a game of dice, at which Robert loses his entire possessions.

Act 2

The Prince of Granada challenges all comers for the hand of Isabelle, but Robert has been led astray by Bertram and does not respond.

Act 3

Bertram reveals that he has undertaken to obtain Robert for the devil by the end of the day, and this is echoed by a chorus of demons. He tells Robert that he can regain his fortunes by the aid of a magic branch, which can make him invisible. He leads Robert to the ruins of a convent, where the branch can be found. A ballet takes place of the ghosts of debauched nuns, rising from their coffins, led by their abbess.

Act 4

The invisible Robert enters Isabelle's chamber as she is preparing for her marriage with the Prince of Granada. He is intending to abduct her, but she admits that she loves him. In despair, Robert breaks the branch and the spell it has created, and is taken into custody.

Act 5

The Cathedral of Palermo. Against a background of chanting monks, Bertram reveals to Robert that he is Robert's true father and is willing to renege on his obligation to deliver him to the devil. Enter Alice, with news that the Prince refuses to marry Isabelle. She also reads her mother's message, which is to shun the man who betrayed her (Bertram). Midnight now strikes, and the time for Bertram's coup is past. Bertram falls down into hell, and Robert falls into the arms of Isabelle.

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Fri, 30 Sep 2011 18:46:49 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer - Vasco da Gama (Berlin 2015) Giacomo Meyerbeer - Vasco da Gama (Berlin 2015)

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1. Part 1
2. Part 2
3. Part 3

Don Pedro, Rat des Königs von Portugal - Seth Carico
Don Diego, Admiral - Andrew Harris
Ines, dessen Tochter - Nino Machaidze
Vasco da Gama, Seeoffizier -Roberto Alagna
Don Alvar, Ratsherr, Paul Kaufmann
Der Großinquisitor - Dong-Hwan Lee
Nelusco, Sklave - Markus Brück
Selica, Sklavin - Sophie Koch
Der Oberpriester der Brahmanen - Albert Pesendorfer
Anna - Irene Roberts
1. Matrose - Matthew Peña
2. Matrose - Gideon Poppe
3. Matrose - Thomas Lehman
4. Matrose / Gerichtsdiener - Michael Adams

Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Enrique Mazzola - conductor


Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera Vasco da Gama is known as L’Africaine. The composer worked on the score under the former title, but a year after his death the opera premiered in Paris as L’Africaine, and since then it has been staged under that name. The Deutsche Oper Berlin has now returned to Meyerbeer’s title of choice.

Giacomo Meyerbeer is a pivotal composer in the history of 19th-century opera, an authentic reference in French Grand Opera. Despite that, he has been largely forgotten in the past 50 years, and there have been few opportunities to see his works. One might think that a resurrection of Meyerbeer’s operas would have to come from France, and more specifically from the Paris National Opera, but that hasn’t happened. Apart from a few initiatives, including this year Les Huguenots in Nice and La Juive in Lyon and Munich, only Berlin’s Deutsche Oper is truly committed to producing Meyerbeer’s oeuvre. Last year they offered a concert version of Dinorah, and this year it’s the turn of L’Africaine/Vasco da Gama, in a new production and featuring an excellent cast. There are plans to offer Les Huguenots and Le Prophète over the next two years, which is great news.

L’Africaine was performed two years ago at La Fenice (with Gregory Kunde as Vasco de Gama), but there is a big difference between the operas offered in Venice and here in Berlin. La Fenice did a rather short version with under 3 hours of music. The Berlin opera is much more complete; although it is not the full version, it has almost one more hour of music than in Venice. I would say that the complete opera would run some 40 minutes longer.

Vera Nemirova’s attractive staging involves some ingenious sets. In the first act we see a wall with a world map which, in the scene of the Council and those that follow, becomes the floor where the action takes place. Some large curved panels act as sails for the boat and also serve to close the stage in the last acts. The action is brought up to modern times, which sometimes becomes strange but doesn’t interfere with one’s enjoyment. The costumes are attractive for both Westerners and the supposed African inhabitants.

The stage direction includes some debatable personal touches by Vera Nemirova, but it works as a whole and respects both libretto and score. In the opening scene there are a number of paper boats which appear to represent the dreams of Inès, who is in love with Vasco. The most original twist came at the start of the third act, in the middle of the trip to the Indies, with the wedding of Inès and Don Pedro. There’s a chorus of women dressed in a comical fashion and a few nuns, and Selica wears a nun’s habit. What the nuns were doing on the boat is beyond my understanding, but it was fun. The last two acts work well, with videos incorporated in the final scene.

Enrique Mazzola led the concert version of Dinorah a year ago, and his conducting of Vasco da Gama was effective and convincing. It lacked great inspiration in the more intimate passages, but the ensembles, so important in Meyerbeer’s operas, were always faultless. The orchestra gave a remarkable performance, and the chorus, one of the best in the world, was also superb.

Roberto Alagna as Vasco da Gama sang with devotion and conviction throughout the performance. There had been warnings of illness in past performances, but that didn’t happen here. However, I found Alagna uncomfortable on the high notes, which gave the impression that he was not in his best voice. He hit all these notes but not with his usual clarity, and he cut them short. In any case, it was a luxury to have him here.

French mezzo soprano Sophie Koch was Selica. She has an important, well-pitched voice in the middle and a good dose of expressiveness, and is easy and appealing on stage. Ms. Koch exhibited some weakness at the top notes: she’s a pure mezzo soprano, and Selica falls midway between the two voices.

Nino Machaidze sang the part of Inès, and I liked her better in the role than Jessica Pratt in Venice. The dark timbre of the Georgian soprano makes her nicely suited to the character, but I’ve always found her somewhat shrill at the top, and this was the case here.

Markus Brück was an outstanding Nelusko. This baritone appears often at the Deutsche Oper, and he is always marvelous. He doesn’t often perform outside Germany, which is a shame. He has an attractive voice and sang with gusto ̶ a magnificent interpreter.

In the secondary roles, Andrew Harris was a modest Don Diego. Seth Carico was convincing on stage, but his voice showed little interest on the part of Don Pedro. Tenor Clemens Bieber was good as Don Alvar, and Irene Roberts did fine in the part of Anna. Dong-Hwan Lee fell short as the Inquisitor, and the High Priest of Alexei Botnarciuc was not particularly interesting. ---José M. Irurzun,

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Thu, 03 Dec 2015 16:58:15 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer – Dinorah (2014) Giacomo Meyerbeer – Dinorah (2014)

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Disc 1

1 1. Akt: Overture - Chæur Salve ! Salve !	13:29 	
2 1. Akt: Chœur villageois Le jour radieux	4:17 	
3 1. Akt: Récitatif et Berceuse Bellah!	7:50 	
4 1. Akt: Air de cornemuse	0:54 	
5 1. Akt: Dialog Diantre!	0:25 	
6 1. Akt: Couplets Dieu nous donne à chacun en partage	2:37 	
7 1. Akt: Dialog Hein?	0:22 	
8 1. Akt: Duo Ah ! Encore !	8:33 	
9 1. Akt: Dialog Holà ! Père Alain !	1:46 	
10 1. Akt: Grand Air Ô puissante magie I	4:42 	
11 1. Akt: Dialog C'est moi...	2:27 	
12 1. Akt: Duo bouffe Un trésor I	3:32 	
13 1. Akt: Terzettino de la clochette Ce tintement...	4:26 	

Disc 2

1 2. Akt: Entracte	1:36 	
2 2. Akt: Chœur des Bucherons Qu'il est bon	2:01 	
3 2. Akt: Récitatif et Romance Me voici !	3:57 	
4 2. Akt: Scène et Air Comme cette nuit est lente à se dissiper !	10:36 	
5 2. Akt: Dialog Avance donc !	0:42 	
6 2. Akt: Couplets Ah ! que j' ai froid !	2:39 	
7 2. Akt: Dialog C'est toi, sonner ?	0:55 	
8 2. Akt: Légende Sombre destinée !	3:05 		
9 2. Akt: Dialog Le traître !	0:14 	
10 2. Akt: Grand Duo Bouffe Stt !	4:40 	
11 2. Akt: Dialog Mais, je te répète...	1:29 	
12 2. Akt: Grand Trio final Est-ce une ombre	7:56 	
13 3. Akt: Entracte	1:50 	
14 3. Akt: Chant du Chasseur En Chasse !	2:55 	
15 3. Akt: Chant du Faucheur Les blés sont baons à faucheer	2:40 	
16 3. Akt: Villanellle des deux Pâtres Sous les genevriers	3:09 	
17 3. Akt: Scène et pater noster Bref, nous retrouvons	3:45 	
18 3. Akt: Mélodrame Comment ?	1:04 	
19 3. Akt: Dialog Pouvait-on prévoir...	0:23 	
20 3. Akt: Scène et Romance Et maintenant, mélasse!	5:05 	
21 3. Akt: Dialog Dieu !	0:51 	
22 3. Akt: Duo et Final Un rêve !	16:54 	

Dinorah – Patrizia Ciofi
Hoël – Etienne Dupuis
Corentin – Philippe Talbot
Jäger – Seth Carico
Erste Schäferin – Elebenita Kajtazi
Zweite Schäferin – Christina Sadak
Mäher – Gideon Poppe

Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Enrique Mazzola - conductor

''Live'', Philharmonie Berlin, September 29 - October 1, 2014.


Dinorah was the penultimate opera by Meyerbeer and the last to be premiered during his lifetime. When L’africaine reached the stage on 28 April 1865 the composer was already dead. Meyerbeer collaborated primarily with Eugène Scribe but for Dinorah he turned to the highly successful duo of Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, responsible for most of Gounod’s librettos, including Faust and Rómeo et Juliette; also Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann. Considering the quality of the operas mentioned above, the Dinorah libretto must be regarded as an also-ran. It is not one of those monumental historical canvases, where Meyerbeer was at his best – Les Huguenots or Le prophéte. This is an opéra-comique in a semi-pastoral setting with ghosts and super-natural tidings. The story takes place in Brittany and goes like this:

“Dinorah is desperately mad, having been deserted on her wedding-day. She wanders about in the countryside, searching her beloved, the goatherd Hoël. She falls asleep in the cottage where Corentin lives. Hoël tells Corentin how a terrible storm destroyed his home on his wedding-day. Since he doesn’t want to force his bride to lead a life filled with hardship, she had gone away to search for a treasure she had heard a magician talk about. Corentin joins Hoël in the search for the treasure. Since the elves who are watching over the riches, kill everybody who tries to steal the treasurey, neither of them wants to be the first to touch it. When Dinorah appears – and Hoël runs away since he believes her to be a ghost, Corentin tries to persuade her to touch the treasure. She faints however and Hoël returns in time to wake her up. The sudden shock when she recognizes him has the fortunate effect that she forgets that she had been abandoned and the time she had been separated from her husband. Hoël hurries to convince her that nothing has happened and decides to give up the treasure. The happy couple return to Ploërmel to carry on the interrupted wedding.”

Not exactly a story in the Nobel Prize winner category, perhaps, but around this Meyerbeer wove a tasteful and elegant score and there is a plethora of beautiful arias and duets, expertly orchestrated and full of inventive ideas. Meyerbeer was the most successful opera composer of the entire 19th century and the neglect of his works when they gradually fell out of fashion must not obscure the fact that he had a professionalism and sense of what was efficient scenically and dramatically. This shines through even today and even in this rather cheap setting.

Only familiar with the ubiquitous Shadow song and a couple of other excerpts I was wholly engrossed in the development of the proceedings. The long overture followed by a couple of choral scenes – his handling of the choruses is overwhelming – shows his structural mastery. The chorus of the villagers gives a rural feeling and his melodic inventiveness may be regarded as ingratiating. He touches the heart-strings of the listener every so often. He also teases the listener with a lot of vocal acrobatics – the long duet Ah! Encore! (CD 1 tr. 8) is a wonderful example. There is a lot of spoken dialogue but it is delivered with conviction and flair and seldom outstays its welcome. With libretto and translations at hand it is easy to savour also this feature of the opéra-comique tradition. There are also several entertaining buffo scenes and at the opening of the third act there is a rural intermezzo where we meet a hunter, a reaper and two shepherdesses who all sing charming songs. The hunter has a dialogue with the French horns of the orchestra and the shepherdesses perform a beautiful villanelle.

Dinorah is the central character and her solos are the cream of the performance. Ombre légère is the hit song and Patrizia Ciofi negotiates the coloratura with expertise and beautiful tone. She is well partnered by Etienne Dupuis and Philippe Talbot. Together with the forces from the Deutschen Oper Berlin they have produced a delightful opera, well worth resurrection – at least as an aural experience. The recording from the Philharmonie in Berlin is excellent and although it obviously was made live there are no signs of an audience.

A pleasant surprise that should please everyone with a Francophone inclination. ---Göran Forsling,

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:34:30 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer – Gli Ugonotti (1995) Giacomo Meyerbeer – Gli Ugonotti (1995)

Disc 1
1	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Introduzione			
2	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Nel bel dě di giovinezza			
3	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Qiu sotto il ciel...			
4	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Non lungi dalle torri			
5	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Qual mai strana figura...			
6	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Una vecchia canzon. Piff, paff, piff...
7	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Del castello al Signor			
8	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Scioglier si dee l'imen			
9	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Vaga donna, illustre e cara			
10	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Talor soverchio merto			
11	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Il piacere e l'onor, ...			
12	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Lieto suol della Turrena, ...			
13	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Umor severo, All'eco intorno dir...		
14	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Chi giunge qui?...			
15	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Raul la vostra fe'...			
16	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Signora!... Ancor qui siete...		
17	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 1. Giusto ciel!...			

Disc 2
1	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Ecco il giorno di festa			
2	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Per compire un voto...			
3	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. L'attenderň! Al suo fianco...		
4	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Ah! L'infido			
5	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Su, su Marcel...			
6	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Per vendicar si grave affronto		
7	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Altolŕ!... Oh tradimento...			
8	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 2. Altolŕ! Rispettate di Navarro la Regina...	
9	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Alfin son sola...			
10	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Di Caterina un cenno			
11	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. La causa č santa			
12	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Gloria a Dio,			

Disc 3
1	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Raul... over vai tu?			
2	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Stringe il periglio,			
3	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Tutto a me tu dicesti!			
4	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 3. Non ascolti un suon funebre?		
5	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Sei tu, mio buon Marcel, ...			
6	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Perir io ti vedrň?			
7	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Signor, difesa e scudo...			
8	Les Huguenots, grand opera in 5 acts: Act 4. Abiurar o avrete morte!...

Margherita di Valois - Joan Sutherland
Raul de Nangis - Franco Corelli
Il Conte di Saint Bris - Giorgio Tozzi
Valentina - Giulietta Simionato
Urbano - Fiorenza Cossotto
Marcello - Nicolai Ghiaurov
Il Conte di Nevers - Wladimiro Ganzarolli
Tavannes - Piero de Palma
Cossé - Giuseppe Bertinazzo
Thoré - Manuel Spatafora
De Retz - Antonio Gassinelli
Méru - Alfredo Giacomotti
Maurevert - Silvio Maionica
Bois-Rosé - Walter Gullino
Léonard - Angelo Mercuriali
Un arciere - Virgilio Carbonari
Una dama - Clara Fotti
Quattro signori - Walter Gullino, Angelo Mercuriali, Giuseppe Morresi, Alfredo Giacomotti
Due zingare - Clara Fotti, Maddalena Bonifaccio
Tre frati - Enzo Guagni, Virgilio Carbonari, Giovanni Antonini.

La Scala Theater Orchestra
Conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Teatro alla Scala, Milan, June 7, 1962.


With Dame Joan Sutherland supremely cast as Queen Marguerite, one of the most difficult role in the coloratura reportoire, how can you lose? This performance was recorded in 1962, only a little after Sutherland's historical debut at La Scala, Milan as Lucia di Lammermoor in which the diva received 30 curtain calls after an astonishingly sung mad scene. I was there and was completely shattered by gorgeous tone and incredible singing. It really was a revelation in the Art of Bel Canto!!! She was immediately dubbed La Stupenda, and proclaimed Prima Donna Assoluta of the entire world, pushing Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi aside. This recording of Hugenots is a great demonstration of her phenomenal technique and ravishing dramatic soprano tone. From the bottom of the register to high E, she sings with complete ease. All staccatos, runs,and appeggios done to absolute perfection. And of course her legendary trill, trilling on notes way above the staff!!! As Franco Zefferelli said, Joan is the phenomenal singer of our time, and of course she is thatand more. But singing as wonderfully is the great tenor Franco Corelli. The role of Raul is perhaps one of the most difficult in the tenor's reportoire. And NO ONE can sing it like Corelli. His tone is ravishing, all high notes shot out of his mouth like a cannon ball. Especially stunning is the UNBELIEVABLE Grand Duet. Corelli's performance of that duet with the amazing Simionato is just INHUMAN!!!!! Both singers soaring from high note to high note, ringing like no other two singers can. The high D-flats were the most thrilling notes. But the high B's and C's were awesome too. The recording of the Grand Duet must rank as one of the greatest recording of spinto singing in history! Actually, this recording ranks as one of the greatest achievements in recording history. Bravissimi indeed! The sound isn't the best, but will you give up listening to one of the most astonishing singing ever recorded just because of audience noises. I hope not. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST for all opera fans.

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Fri, 23 Oct 2009 17:08:10 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer – L’Africaine (1963) Giacomo Meyerbeer – L’Africaine (1963)

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1. Part I		1:04:56
2. Part II 		1:13:46

Ines - Margherita Rinaldi (soprano) 
Selika - Antonietta Stella (soprano)
Vasco de Gama - Nicola Nikolov (tenor)
Nelusco - Aldo Protti (baritone)
Don Diego -  Enrico Campi (bass)
Inquisitore/Sacerdote - Plinio Clabassi (bass)
Don Pedro – Ivo Vinco (bass)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro San Carlo di Napoli
Franco Capuana – conductor


L'africaine was Meyerbeer's final opera. It was in production at the time of his death, and the renowned musicologist Fétis was asked to oversee the final touches before the premiere. The work is a grand opera in the heroic manner and contains many romantic elements popular with the audiences of the day. There are no fewer than three love triangles, a prison, a sleep scene, a sinister and vengeful African or Indian, storm-tossed ships that end up wrecked on an exotic continent, Indian natives and Brahmin rituals, trees with a poisonous fragrance, and self-sacrificing lovers who die by that fragrance.

The opera was premiered at the Paris Opéra on April 28, 1865. The work was a popular triumph and was performed in opera houses until the early twentieth century.

The libretto was inspired by a poem called "Le mancenillier" (The Manchineel Tree) by Millevoye, telling of a tree with a poisonous fragrance and a pair of lovers. Although Meyerbeer and Eugène Scribe, his librettist for the work, began the opera in 1837, they quickly set it aside to work on Le Prophète. When that work was done they again turned to L'africaine but yet again set it aside, finally finishing a first draft in 1843. However, even that was rewritten and reworked. The action in the original libretto took place in Africa and Spain, but the final revision, begun in 1857 placed the story in Portugal, made the lead character Vasco da Gama, and had the "Africans" now hailing from India or Madagascar. References to Brahmin rituals and Indian gods were never taken out, although Fétis titled the opera "L'Africaine" after the character of Sélika. In the original libretto, she had been an African queen who had been sold into captivity by slavers. Scribe died in 1861, and Meyerbeer had more than one other librettist help him complete the work. Then Meyerbeer himself passed away in 1864, leaving the finishing touches to those in charge of the production.

L'Africaine contains some of Meyerbeer's most beautiful music, and love is the predominant motive for all of the music making. Inès is immediately set up as the romantic lead in Act One of the opera; she is given passionately florid melody and coloratura solos. Her "Romance" characterizes her ardor for the valiant Vasco as heroic, and it is their love which is bound to triumph through the trials of the opera. However, Act Two is devoted in part to establishing the relationship between Sélika, the Indian queen, and Vasco. She adores him and sings him an exquisitely erotic sommeil song while he lies sleeping and vulnerable in the prison of the Inquisitor. Later, when she saves Vasco's life, she and Vasco enjoy what amounts to a love duet. Finally, in Act Four, their love is mutually recognized in an Indian wedding ceremony. They have a passionate duet, after which Sélika realizes that she must relinquish Vasco. Her self-effacement and self-sacrifice forces her to give up her life for her beloved's happiness, and the opera closes with the ecstatic death of Sélika as she inhales the toxic perfume of the manchineel trees and suffers visions of her beloved's return.

The Inquisitor, Don Pédro, and the colorful character of Nesuko who invokes the Indian gods against the sailors, are adequate villains for the piece. The feeling of the original poem with the image of a poisonous fragrance comes through strongly at the close of the opera, and one feels that the entire work is something of a metaphor. --- Rita Laurance, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Wed, 01 Sep 2010 15:55:37 +0000
Giacomo Meyerbeer – L’Africaine (2013) Giacomo Meyerbeer – L’Africaine (2013)

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1. Akt I
2. Akt II
3. Akt III
4. Akt IV
5. Akt V

Inès - Jessica Pratt
Sélika - Veronica Simeoni
Vasco de Gama - Gregory Kunde
Don Alvar - Emanuele Giannino
Nélusko - Angelo Veccia
Don Pédro - Luca dall’Amico
Don Diego - Davide Ruberti
Le grand inquisiteur de Lisbonne - Mattia Denti
Le grand-prêtre de Brahma - Ruben Amoretti
Anna - Anna Bordignon

Orchestra e coro del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia
Claudio Marino Moretti - choirmaster
Emmanuel Villaume – conductor

Teatro La Fenice in Venice, 23.11.2013


For several years, La Fenice in Venice has successfully started the re-proposal of the masterpieces of French theater, very popular a century ago but now almost definitively disappeared. Due to the evolution of contemporary taste, because of the majesty of staging required or either by the extreme difficulty of the vocal parts, the Grand Opéra that characterized much of the late Nineteenth century seem to survive in the memory of legendary titles but nothing more. The fact that La Fenice has chosen L’africaine on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of the author, Giacomo Meyerbeer, may have seemed even reckless, especially during these difficult times for the opera houses and with few great vocal interpreters around. On the contrary, the opera has had a happy outcome and brought to our attention the many aspects of a work of considerable interest, that the grandparents of our grandparents knew by heart, and now, beyond some beautiful pages and other perhaps less relevant, still retains its charm and an undeniable impact.

Last effort of the pair Scribe-Meyerbeer, which raged in Paris staring Robert le Diable, Les Huguenots and Le Prophete (some of the most impressive masterpieces of the Grand- Opera), L’africaine had a tiring and difficult path: after more than twenty years of thoughts, pauses and corrections, it finally came on the scene in 1865, but both the musician and the libretto author had died without being able to make the final. Maybe this is a reason why the Africaine is even more redundant, complex and incongruous than the other of the Grand- Opéra. It collect twists and relationships between the characters, often difficult to follow in a logical thread. Starting from the protagonist, who is intended as an African instead of an Indian. The taste for the exotic, that Italy will soon bring at its highest manifestation with Verdi’s Aida, here does not reserve so much fidelity to history and geography but to the love triangle in which the famous navigator Vasco da Gama is contented by Inès (bound, in turn, to another prominent member of the Portuguese court) and Selika, the Indian queen. Who is, in turn, loved by Nélusko, who was along with her enslaved. More than a triangle, a love pentagon indeed, which finds its fit – including the major coups de théâtre of the famous sinking of the ship and the subsequent boarding of Indian warriors in the third act – with the happy escape of the couple Vasco-Inès and the suicide of Selika and Nélusko under the manchineel tree, which heady scent brings to death. The Africaine is a nice meatloaf in five acts, corresponding to the Parisian taste at the time, full of unstoppable imagination and strong theatricality, as well as of evocative pages, like the enchanted Vasco’s aria O Paradis, favourite piece of many tenors of all times. Even today, it blows up the whole theater.

The Venetian edition of L’africaine, however, has not lived on the success of a few moments but on the professional quality of the whole, especially of the voices, putting together perhaps the best cast possible for a so ambitious opera. Gregory Kunde has reached maturity in his extremely wide tenor voice, capable to reach amazing high notes. His Vasco has revived the memory of the greatest interpreters, thanks to his vibrant momentum and the elegance of the sentimental expressions. With his presence, he has justified the validity of the opera, possible because of the presence of a true hero. But perfect in their parts were also the two female performers, Jessica Pratt and Veronica Simeoni. The Australian soprano was a luxurious Inès, singing dreamy tones and fluted, with a top-notch vocal brilliance in intensity and extent, all managed with superb class. Simeoni as Selika was an authentic revelation in a Falcon role, hovering between the soprano and mezzo-soprano voice. She claimed all the warmth of his beautiful timbre in the middle tones, along with richly vibrating acutes, an exquisite sensitivity of expression and a striking presence. Her performance has to be kept in mind, as well as the one by Angelo Veccia, a bit rough and introverted as the role requested but effective on stage. Valid was also the presence of numerous performers in secondary roles. They all played and sang at the time of Emmanuel Villaume’s baton, sometimes tumultuous but also capable of a certain allure as he mastered a fragmented and difficult score, well supported by the Orchestra and Coro of Teatro la Fenice.

The director Leo Muscato, having probably made a virtue of necessity, has managed a minimalist architecture (except for the act of the ship, which was rebuilt) in order to pack a show of undoubted charm, very respectful of the music – absolute protagonist in such an opera like L’africaine - and well resolved even in the most complex passages, also thanks to the scenes by Massimo Checchetto, the beautiful costumes by Carlos Tieppo and the light design by Alessandro Verazzi. I found less convincing the war footages that times to times backed the action, conflicting with the overall traditional set of the stage. That probably intended to actualize the condemnation of colonialism in which Meyerbeer had engaged in with his last artistic will.

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]]> (bluesever) Meyerbeer Giacomo Sun, 23 Feb 2014 17:12:13 +0000