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Offenbach: La Belle Hélène / Minkowski, Lott, Beuron, Et Al

Release Date: 11/06/2001 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 45477   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Yann BeuronFelicity LottLaurent AlvaroFrançois Le Roux,   ... 
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du LouvreChoeur des Musiciens du Louvre
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This live performance of Offenbach's witty, tuneful, swift-moving operetta smacks of the theater: in addition to some audible movement (not bothersome), the singers play off one-another in a marvelous manner, making the whole work gleam. Marc Minkowski's field of expertise apparently is not only French Baroque--he leads with energy, charm, and an ear for Offenbach's pointed orchestration (the brass is heard at its shiniest here) and reinstates some music dropped after the premiere (for whatever reason), including another little aria for Paris. The dialogue has been coyly updated and it works.

Felicity Lott plays Hélène with a bit too much dignity--we never get the image of a woman whose capriciousness
Read more could ruin the world (Jessye Norman, normally a stuffed shirt, is more pointedly wicked on the EMI recording under Plasson)--but she sings beautifully and with plenty of "face". As Paris, tenor Yann Beuron is ardent in a feather-light sort of way, and he sings the "Mount Ida" aria (famous to opera lovers from the amazing 1938 recording by Jussi Björling) in the true French style, with voix-mixte for the high notes. In fact, he resorts to falsetto once or twice too often throughout the performance. Michel Sénéchal's Menelaus is funny and stylish, and François Le Roux pouts well as Calchas. The rest of the cast is very much in the spirit as well. This is undoubtedly froth, but it's the epitome of froth. The Plasson recording may be classier, but this one is more entertaining. [10/7/2002]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Yann Beuron (Tenor), Felicity Lott (Soprano), Laurent Alvaro (Baritone),
François Le Roux (Baritone), Stéphanie D'Oustrac (), Laurent Naouri (Baritone),
Michel Sénéchal (Tenor), Hjördis Thébault (Mezzo Soprano), Magali Léger (Soprano),
José Canalès (Spoken Vocals), Alain Gabriel (Tenor), Eric Huchet (Baritone),
Marie-Ange Todorovitch (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France 
Length: 118 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: French 

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