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Berlioz: La Captive / Lisa Larsson

Berlioz / Larsson
Release Date: 09/09/2014 
Label:  Challenge   Catalog #: 72639   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Lisa Larsson
Conductor:  Antonello Manacorda
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gelders Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The trend towards casting Berlioz with lighter voices, often with singers more seasoned in chronologically earlier repertoire, takes a fruitful if limited turn as Baroque-repertoire soprano Lisa Larsson steps into music associated with Dame Janet Baker and Jessye Norman. Next to them, Larsson’s personality and strength of conception stand up to any comparison – as long as listeners can shift some fundamental ideas about the sound and nature of these characters.

Far from the wounded goddess that would eventually lead to Dido in Les Troyens, Larsson’s characterisations of these early-period works have a more fragile humanity, with pockets of psychological detail missed by others, often conveyed with a confiding intimacy that
Read more might only be possible in the recording studio. Even the studio setting, though, doesn’t protect her from being covered by the orchestra, particularly in sections of La mort de Cléopâtre that lie in the weaker, lower areas of her voice. In moments when her voice starts to show its mileage, the two different voices used for Herminie and Cléopâtre (Michèle Lagrange and Béatrice Uria-Monzon) on the Naxos disc ‘Berlioz Cantatas’ seem preferable.

Then the Larsson disc re insinuates itself. Of all the spacious SACD productions that have come out of Challenge Classics, none I’ve heard is this luminous. Antonello Manacorda never overshadows Larsson heedlessly, but with interpretative purpose. His orchestra may not be ready to record Symphonie fantastique but his advocacy of these works makes them sound like major Berlioz (as opposed to dry runs for later, better works). In fact, his treatment of the Cléopâtre orchestral writing makes the piece sound downright dangerous. Another drawing card is La captive, Berlioz’s Op 12 song from which the disc takes its title, with Larsson making the somewhat discursive Victor Hugo verse sound more cogent, with special sensitivity to the nocturnal imagery. Flaws and all, this is a fine addition to the Berlioz discography.

-- David Patrick Stearns, Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

Herminie by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Lisa Larsson (), Lisa Larsson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Antonello Manacorda
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gelders Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; France 
Venue:  Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, The Netherlands 
Length: 19 Minutes 15 Secs. 
La captive, Op. 12 by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Lisa Larsson ()
Conductor:  Antonello Manacorda
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; France 
Venue:  Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, The Netherlands 
Length: 7 Minutes 33 Secs. 
La mort de Cléopâtre by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Lisa Larsson ()
Conductor:  Antonello Manacorda
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; France 
Venue:  Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, The Netherlands 
Length: 13 Minutes 20 Secs. 

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