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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mady Mesplé floats her high notes with great purity and impeccable intonation, her coloratura in the Bell Song is wonderfully true, and she invests her role with an innocent pathos and tenderness.
The present performance also stands up quite well against the famous Sutherland/Bonynge Decca LP recording made only a year previously: the conductor has the right feeling for the work, the orchestral playing is committed, and the cast—save perhaps for a mezzo in the ungrateful small part of a caricatured English governess—is a good one. Mady Mesplé's fast vibrato is not to everyone's taste, but every word of hers is crystal clear (compare Sutherland's!) and meaningful (compare her "Va-t-en!" with Mado
Robin's), her light, very French quality suggests Lakmé's youth and "candeur d'enfant", she floats her high notes with great purity and impeccable intonation, her coloratura in the Bell Song is wonderfully true, and she invests "Pourquoi dans les grands bois" with an innocent pathos and "C'est le Dieu de la jeunesse" with tender reminiscence: the Flower duet with Danielle Millet is charming. Outstanding among the other characters is Roger Soyer as her father, the vengeful Brahmin: a fine and noble basse chantant. Charles Burles as the English officer so infatuated with Lakmé's exotic beauty that he abandons his soldierly responsibilities sings appealingly and with feeling, though his voice tends to lose quality under pressure: in this role Alain Vanzo (in the Decca set) was in a class by himself.
-- Gramophone [7/1988]
Mady Mesplé is not a soprano in the Sutherland class; her voice is shallow and tremulous. However, she may be deemed more in the right tradition for the role, her easy, well-floated tone suited to the fey charm of Bell Song, duets and Berceuse, and she has a reputable Gerald in Charles Burles, who finds the airy charm for his two solos, though one might judge his timbre a little white and edgy when pressed upon. In that respect he is no match for Decca's Vanzo, caught at the height of his considerable career. In the now-famous Flower Duet, Danielle Millet is an apt partner for Mesplé. Nilakantha's solo receives perhaps the most distinguished singing on the record—from Roger Soyer, whose career was all too short.
-- Gramophone [8/1984]
Works on This Recording
Lakmé by Léo Delibes
Charles Burles (Tenor),
Mady Mesplé (Soprano),
Jean-Christophe Benoit (Baritone),
Roger Soyer (Bass),
Danielle Millet (Mezzo Soprano),
Bernadette Antoine (Soprano),
Monique Linval (Soprano),
Agnes Disney (Mezzo Soprano),
Joseph Peyron (Tenor)
Paris Opéra Comique Orchestra,
Paris Opéra Comique Chorus
Written: 1883; France
Date of Recording: 1970
Venue: Salle Wagram, Paris
Length: 149 Minutes 9 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 4 Customer Reviews )
Wonderful music March 25, 2014
By robert blair (Centennial, CO) See All My Reviews
"From the signature Flower Duet that everyone knows and loves,to the rest of the music there is not an unlovely melody in this opera. It does not get the exposure that the music deserves , no doubt due to what seems to us an archaic setting/story. Delibe makes significant demands on Lakme's register but for the right voice this must be an engaging role to sing. All in all a gem that probably gets very little exposure to most opera lovers."
Five stars for the music, ONLY. February 2, 2014
By Howard G Morgan (Palm Harbor, FL) See All My Reviews
"ALL the artists involved for both recordings purchased were outstanding, from the recording engineers to the composers. But there's more involved to that purchase. Both plastic housings were badly damaged. One, the Lakme, was obviously damaged, then re-packaged. I am at 727-744-2821, 24/7, if you wish to discuss this further. Howard G Morgan"
Charmingly French September 13, 2013
By R. Walters (Sherman Oaks , CA) See All My Reviews
"In her career, Mady Mesple made rather a signature role of Lakme and to very good effect. She has what is now known as the "french" type of soprano, high, light and precise. In this recording she uses all of them to good effect. Never will you hear a better version of the "Bell Song" or a more delightful rendering of the Flower Duet (with Danielle Millet). Charles Burles creates a great Frederic, and the remainder of the cast is both musical and characterful. Lombard conducts with panache and the Orchestra of the Opera Comique plays well. Lakme is one of my 10 desert island operas, and anyone interested will find this a treasureable recording."