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Berlioz: Les Troyens / Dutoit, Lakes, Pollet, Voigt, Et Al

Release Date: 10/03/1994 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 443693   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Françoise PolletDeborah VoigtGino QuilicoJean-Phillipe Courtis,   ... 
Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony OrchestraMontreal Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BERLIOZ Les Troyens Charles Dutoit, cond; Gary Lakes ( Énée ); Deborah Voigt ( Cassandre ); Françoise Pollet ( Didon ); Gino Quilico ( Chorèbe ); Hélène Perraguin ( Anna ); Jean-Luc Maurette ( Iopas ); John Mark Read more Ainsley ( Hylas ); Catherine Dubosc ( Ascagne ); Ren Schirrer ( Priam ); Claudine Carlson ( Hécube ); Montreal SO & Ch DECCA 443693 (4 CDs: 237:46 Text and Translation)

There’s no question about it: This is the most difficult of the great operas to cast, stage, and perform. Harder, even, than Rienzi, Les Huguenots, or the Ring Cycle. First, you need a cast of large, rich-sounding voices with great technique, an extremely wide range, and interpretive skills. Then you need to coordinate them all into a whole. And then you need to put the whole thing together. No wonder Thomas Beecham only performed half of the opera. He would have needed close to five years, in his time and place, to do the full work justice.

The Charles Dutoit recording is not flawless. Gary Lakes’s voice, though at its peak here, is not as effortless in the high range as was Jon Vickers on the 1969 Colin Davis recording, but the Davis recording had several other singers who did their roles far less well than Lakes does Énée here. Deborah Voigt is not the equal of Jessye Norman as Cassandre, but Norman only did it on the Met stage, never in the recording studio. Many collectors fail to remember a wonderful but abridged Troyens that came out on CD with Shirley Verrett as a wonderful Didon and Nicolai Gedda as the finest of all Énées, but abridged is not complete.

Given the almost insurmountable problems of assembling the kind of singers necessary for this opera, Dutoit pulls it off with aplomb and excitement. His performance combines all the best virtues of the Davis complete recording, the Verrett-Gedda broadcast, and the various recordings of excerpts by such famed conductors as Munch and Monteux. Flawless it is not, but superb it most certainly is. You come away from this recording with the best moments of Les Troyens resounding in your head. More than that, you cannot ask.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley [3/2012]
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Works on This Recording

Les troyens by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Françoise Pollet (Soprano), Deborah Voigt (Soprano), Gino Quilico (Baritone),
Jean-Phillipe Courtis (Bass), Jean-Luc Maurette (Tenor), Michel Beauchemin (Bass),
Martina Brehmer (Soprano), Celine Chaput (Soprano), Gary Lakes (Tenor),
Hélène Perraguin (Soprano), Gregory Cross (Tenor), René Schirrer (Bass),
Marc Belleau (Bass), Catherine Dubosc (Soprano), Michel Philippe (Tenor),
John Mark Ainsley (Tenor), Claudine Carlson (Mezzo Soprano), Lucie Mayer (Soprano),
Joanne Fillion (Soprano)
Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1858; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1993 
Venue:  St. Eustache, Montreal 
Length: 237 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 

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