This is a great performance of Massenet's maudlin melodrama. In 1980, when it was recorded, José Carreras was only a few years past his prime, and only his high notes are really affected: there's some strain, and there's an uncomfortable shifting of gears above G. But anything lower than that is just gorgeous, his honeyed tone still intact, his ardency potent. If he lacks that extra, vaguely insane sense of being transported by the universe and Charlotte, well, he has enough urgency to make up for it. In fact, there's occasionally a bit too much urgency, bordering on flailing. And he sings in beautifully enunciated French. About Frederica von Stade's Charlotte there isn't enough praise. Her mezzo is used with a dozen degrees betweenRead more piano and forte, and her rapture is as real as her self-denial. Her Charlotte is fragile at times, resolute at others--but always with a note of sadness that is the cornerstone of the role. Thomas Allen is a knowing Albert, not cruel, but wise, and Isobel Buchanan does more than just chirp as Sophie. The rest of the cast is splendid. Colin Davis leads the fine Covent Garden forces and soloists with lots of give-and-take, great shading, and sensitivity. The sound is superb and realistic--for example, when Charlotte races off in Act 3, there's a real sense of departure and distance to her tone. The track listing still quaintly offers chapters within tracks, which I haven't seen in a long time. This production may not capture the opera's ethos as ideally as the oldest Werther available (with Vallin and Thill), but it's as good as or better than the rest of the fine competition. [10/28/2004]
-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com reviewing this recording previously reissued as Philips 4754962 Read less
Works on This Recording
Wertherby Jules Massenet Performer:
José Carreras (Tenor),
Linda Humphries (Soprano),
Thomas Allen (Baritone),
Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano),
Isobel Buchanan (Soprano),
Robert Lloyd (Bass),
Donaldson Bell (Bass),
Paul Crook (Tenor),
Malcolm King (Bass)
Sir Colin Davis
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Childrens Chorus
Period: Romantic Written: 1892; France Language: French
Werther / Act 1: "Assez! Assez!" - "Noël! Jésus vient de naître!" - "Bravo pour les enfants!"
Werther / Act 1: "Je ne sais si je veille" - "O Nature, pleine de grâce
Werther / Act 3: "Bonjour, grande soeur!" - "Mais souffres-tu?" - "Ah le rire est béni!"
Werther / Act 3: "Va! Laisse couler mes larmes" - "Les larmes qu'on ne pleure pas"
Werther / Act 3: "Ah! mon courage m'abandonne!"
Werther / Act 3: "Oui, c'est moi!" - "Pourqoi cette parole" - "Traduire ...Ah!"
Werther / Act 3: "Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle du printemps?"
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Pure LuxuryAugust 20, 2016By Sharon T. See All My Reviews"This recording is not only beautifully cast with magnificent voices, but the artists combine their talent with the passion the story requires. The quality can't be outdone. This version is a masterpiece."Report Abuse