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Gluck: Alceste / Von Otter, Groves, Gardiner

Gardiner / Von Otter / Groves / Henschel
Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 16570  
Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Frédéric CatonLudovic TézierYann BeuronPaul Groves,   ... 
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque SoloistsMonteverdi Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

When the historic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris re-opened after a period of extensive refurbishment, the first two productions mounted in the theatre were Gluck’s Alceste and Orphée et Eurydice. Both operas were sung in their French versions and were mounted and designed by Robert Wilson and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. This was the first time Wilson and Gardiner had collaborated and their individual credentials combined to produce an exceptional result. American polymath Wilson was responsible for some of the most ambitious avant-garde performance projects of the 1970s and 80s.Since the mid-1980s he has increasingly brought his prodigious creativity to works fiom the standard dramatic and operatic repertoire, transforming them Read more into his own unmistakably minimalist yet grandiose visions.

His styled, classical interpretations of Alceste and Orphée bear his trademarks of an uncluttered stage and the arresting use of colour and light. They are not so much timeless as, in Robert Wilson’s words, “full of time." With their minutely rehearsed gestures, at once formal and poetic, the singers have the grace and elegance of Balanchine or Martha Graham dancers. A key figure in the revival of Early Music, John Eliot Gardiner has long been a champion of Gluck’s French operas and is a great Gluck conductor. He received enormous critical acclaim for his musical direction of both Orphée and Alceste at the Chatelet, as did his orchestras and chorus. He sought to rid the operas of any vestiges of remoteness or venerable respectability and to release the huge emotional charge that lies behind the beauty of Gluck’s classical sobriety. The stories are, after all, he says, not only poignant and deeply moving, they have an immediate and contemporary relevance: they portray two married couples striving to protect their union and their love, plumbing the very depths of their emotional strength and summoning the courage to make huge personal sacrifices. “If presented in a way that’s immediate and with tremendous intensity and truth of expression then all the dross and superficiality of the stage action falls away and you’re left with what’s actually a very visceral connection between two living people." Television’s top opera director, Brian Large, worked closely with Robert Wilson and John Eliot Gardiner to ensure that the translation of live performance to the small screen is of the highest artistic and techcal standard.

Subtitles: German, English, French
Region: 0 (all)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Alceste by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Frédéric Caton (Bass), Ludovic Tézier (Baritone), Yann Beuron (Tenor),
Paul Groves (Tenor), Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano), Dietrich Henschel (Baritone),
Hjördis Thébault (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Vienna, Austria 

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