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Roberto Alagna - Berlioz: Arias


Release Date: 07/04/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000686202   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto AlagnaJeffrey DyballGérard DepardieuJean-Marc Zvellenreuther,   ... 
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden OrchestraParis Opera Children's ChorusFrench Army Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Berlioz's music for tenor is not only varied from light-lyric to heroic, it's also ungraciously written: high notes pop up out of nowhere; tessitura remains in the E-F-G "bridge" area far longer than is comfortable for tenors of any ilk; rhythms require true musicianship; and soft singing is called for at unfortunate heights. But Roberto Alagna is in grand voice here, more suited to the heroic (Troyens) and really light music (the narrator in L'enfance du Christ) than in the in-between arias, where a certain type of French voix-mixte eludes him. That having been said, he comes closer than any tenor since Nicolai Gedda, who came closer than any tenor since Georges Thill, to filling Berlioz's bill, and overall this is a brilliantly Read more successful recital.

I'm certain that he wouldn't be able to sustain all of Aeneas's music on stage, but here Alagna is marvelous--manly, confused, insistent. His singing of Iopas's little tune is lovely, but a real lyric voice--not the spinto Alagna is turning into--is called for. As mentioned, he sings the narrator in L'enfance du Christ with great beauty and simplicity; perhaps he might have done precisely the same with Iopas's tune if it didn't sit so high. He sings the duet from Damnation de Faust with Angela Gheorghiu and both are lovely and engaging. The excerpts from Lélio, hardly masterworks, are interesting, and Gerard Depardieu adds flavor as the speaker.

An oddity is an aria we're accustomed to hearing for the bass-baritone Mefistofeles; here we get an earlier work by the composer in which it's for tenor and guitar. Alagna's Cellini is a bit strained, but there may be no way of singing this music perfectly. The CD ends with Berlioz's rip-snorting arrangement of La Marseillaise, complete with choruses of men and kids. It almost makes you want to be French. Almost. This is a terrific CD, filled with difficult music by a tough-composer-for-voice. And it's a must-have.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Les troyens: Du peuple et des soldats, ô roi! by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 1 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: French 
2. Les Troyens: O blonde Ceres by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Jeffrey Dyball (Harp), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: French 
3. Les troyens: Inutiles regrets...Ah! quand viendra l'instant by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection continues with "En un dernier naufrage..." 
4. L'enfance du Christ, Op. 25: Le repos de la Sainte Famille by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Paris Opera Children's Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850-1854; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 5 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: French 
5. Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Mab, la messagère Fluette et légère "Bientot de Roméo" by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
6. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Merci, doux crépuscule! by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: French 
7. Scènes (8) de Faust, Op. 1: no 8, Sérénade de Méphistophélès by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor), Gérard Depardieu (Spoken Vocals), Jean-Marc Zvellenreuther (Guitar)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828-1829; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: French 
8. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Grand Dieu!...Ange adoré by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 4 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: French 
9. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Nature immense by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1845 - 1846). 
10. Béatrice et Bénédict: Ah! Je vais l'aimer by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860-1862; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: French 
11. Lélio, Op 14bis: Le Pêcheur - L'onde frémit, l'onde s'agite by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Gérard Depardieu (Spoken Vocals), Jeffrey Cohen (Piano), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1832; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: French 
12. Lélio, Op 14bis: Chant de bonheur - O mon bonheur, ma vie by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Jeffrey Dyball (Harp), Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1832; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: French 
13. Benvenuto Cellini: La gloire était ma seule idole by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1837; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 5 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins with "Une heure encore." 
14. Benvenuto Cellini: Seul pour lutter, seul avec mon courage by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1834-1837; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 8 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection continues with "Sur les monts les plus sauvages." 
15. Hymne de Marseillaise by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Roberto Alagna (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Paris Opera Children's Chorus,  French Army Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; France 
Date of Recording: 2002 
Length: 6 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Arranged: Hector Berlioz 

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