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French Arias / Magdalena Kozená, Marc Minkowski


Release Date: 10/14/2003 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000130202   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Daniel-François AuberCharles GounodJules MassenetHector Berlioz,   ... 
Performer:  Magdalena KozenáEdwige ParatClaire Delgado-BogeJean-Marc Zvellenreuther,   ... 
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber OrchestraChoeur des Musiciens du Louvre
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Magdalena Kožená is a remarkable singer. Her voice is a somewhat light mezzo with many colors, and she can shade it to a whisper or impress with a fortissimo high B-flat. Her range is absolutely even from top to bottom and she never switches gears; similarly she refuses to push the voice at either end. Her reading of Eboli's "Veil Song" from Verdi's Don Carlos is seductive and insinuating, with just the right Spanish flavor in the low-register roulades--but they're soft-focused. Perhaps she has no "chest" register, or is afraid to use it? But then, along comes the character of Dulcinée in Massenet's Don Quichotte, and she belts out some phrases that would impress
Read more Marilyn Horne and Fiorenza Cossotto, and you realize that a certain type of expressive device--i.e., belting--simply would have been wrong for the elegant Eboli, while the earthy Dulcinée is right at home with such exclamation.

This entire recital--all 78 minutes of it--is equally impressive and thought through. Beginning with a rarity from Auber's Le domino noir, in which the heroine, escaping from pursuers, enters breathlessly and then proceeds to enchant with a coloratura showpiece, we get superb portraits of Marguerite dreaming of the King of Thule (from La damnation de Faust), young, impetuous Stephano from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, the Princess-heroine of the same composer's unknown Cinq-Mars meditating gorgeously on the night, Sapho's tragic suicide aria, the mock-heroics of the heroine of Ravel's L'Heure espagnole, Mignon's thoroughly personal "Connais-tu le pays?", and more. Massenet's Cendrillon in an autobiographical aria is followed by Bizet's Carmen (in the Gypsy Song), sung as if Carmen were light on her feet and playfully sexy.


I've left a few out (Nicklausse; Jenny in La dame blanche; Massenet's Cléopatre), but you get the point: from long-lined cantilena to explosive exclamation to perky observations, Kožená is in total control and always both interesting and lovely. The voice seems smallish, but it's used wisely. The trill is in place, the legato smooth as silk. DG's production is grand: not only are the sonics remarkably clean and clear, with ideal balances between Kožená and Minkowski's wonderful Mahler Chamber Orchestra, but the producers have left a couple of seconds between tracks so we can prepare for another character. This is a brilliant disc.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Le domino noir: Flamme vengeresse by Daniel-François Auber
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 6 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection is preceded by "Je suis sauvée enfin...Ah! quelle niut..." 
2.
Roméo et Juliette: Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection is precede by "Depuis hier je cherche.." 
3.
Cléopâtre: J'ai versé le poison by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: French 
4.
La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Autrefois un roi du Thulé by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 5 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: French 
5.
L'heure espagnole: Oh! la pitoyable aventure by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1909; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: French 
6.
Mignon: Connais-tu le pays? by Ambroise Thomas
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: French 
7.
Sapho: O ma lyre immortelle by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 7 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection is preceded by "Où sui-je? Ah, oui." 
8.
Cendrillon: Que mes soeurs sont heureuses by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 8 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: French 
9.
Carmen: Les tringles des sistres tintaient "Gypsy Song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Edwige Parat (Soprano), Claire Delgado-Boge (Mezzo Soprano), Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1873 - 1874). 
10.
Cinq Mars: Nuit resplendissante by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876-1877; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 5 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: French 
11.
Don Carlos: Nel giardin del bello "Veil Song" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection begins with the Choir "Sous ce bois au feuilliage immense..." 
12.
Don Quichotte: Lorsque le temps d'amour a fui by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Jean-Marc Zvellenreuther (Guitar), Jean-Christophe Keck (Tenor),
Christophe Grapperon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 6 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection is followed by "...Par fortune...Alza! Alza! Ne pensons qu'au plaisir d'aimer." 
13.
La dame blanche: Chut! Chut! Écoutons! by François Boieldieu
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Jean-Christophe Keck (Tenor)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: French 
14.
Les contes d'Hoffmann: Voyez-la sous son Éventail by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Jean-Christophe Keck (Tenor), Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: This selection is preceded by "O rêve de joie et d'amour..."
Arranger: Jean-Christophe Keck. 
15.
Don Carlos: Sotto ai folti, immensi abeti by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Marina Lodygensky (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867/1884; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/2002 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: French 

Sound Samples

Le Domino noir - Original Version / Act 3: Je suis sauvée enfin - Ah! quelle nuit - Flamme vengeresse
Cinq Mars: Nuit resplendissante
Roméo et Juliette - original version / Act 3: Depuis hier je cherche en vain mon maître
Cléopatre: J'ai versé le poison
Don Carlos / Act 2: Choeur et Scène: "Sous ces bois au feuillage immense"
Don Carlos / Act 2: Chanson du Voile: "Au palais des fées"
La Damnation de Faust, Op.24 / Part 3: Le roi de Thulé (Chanson gothique). "Autrefois un roi de Thulé"
L'heure espagnole, Comédie en un acte: Oh! la pitoyable aventure! (Scenes XVII-XIX)
Don Quichotte - Poème de Henri Cain, d'après Le Lorrain / Act 4: Lorsque le temps d'amour a fui - Par fortune - Alza! Alza! Ne pensons qu'au plaisier
Mignon / Act 1: Connais-tu le pays?
La Dame blanche: Chut! Chut! écoutons
Sapho - opera in 3 Acts / Act 3: Où suis-je?...O ma lyre immortelle
Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Act 2: Voyez - la sous son éventail
Cendrillon - Opera In 4 Acts - Lib. Cain After Perrault / Act 1: Ah! que mes soeurs sont heureuses!
Carmen / Act 2: Chanson: "Les tringles des sistres tintaient"

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