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Gluck: Armide / Minkowski, Delunsch, Workman, Naouri, Et Al

Release Date: 03/01/1999 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 459616   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Charles WorkmanLaurent NaouriFrançoise MassetNicole Heaston,   ... 
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a great work, and this recording does it justice. Minkowski's band is superb.

This is a great work, and this recording does it justice. Gluck is not one of my favorites; all of his "reforms" seem to get in the way of what I like in early(ish) opera--the fiorature, huge ensembles, lengthy, melismatic diversions-- and often, I find his operas too "classical" and dry. Perhaps all they need is a great performance, as this one is, to come to life. Marc Minkowski takes an aggressive approach to the music and drama: The plot may come from Classical Antiquity, but the characters' emotions are fresh and fierce. His band is superb, from the pointed delivery of the reeds to that thwacking of the timpani
Read more and the strings' somewhat soft but precise attacks. And the horns can drive you crazy! Armide is a character who doesn't gracefully accept not getting her way, and her angry music is wonderfully performed by Michelle Delunsch, as are her sweeter, more cajoling moments. Charles Workman sings the role of Renaud with great tonal beauty and heroic utterance (if not heroic vocal weight). He and Delunsch are lovely in their Act Five duet. Laurent Naouri sounds somewhat insecure as Hidraot, but Ewa Podles, with only 10 minutes of music as the embodiment of Hatred, is spectacular. The remainder of the cast is very fine, and Archiv's engineers, despite the fact that this was taped live, have presented us with a clear soundstage filled with immediacy. This is a gem. [12/31/1999]

--Robert Levine
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Works on This Recording

Armide by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Charles Workman (Tenor), Laurent Naouri (Baritone), Françoise Masset (Soprano),
Nicole Heaston (Soprano), Mireille Delunsch (Soprano), Vincent le Texier (Bass Baritone),
Yann Beuron (Tenor), Valerie Gabail (Soprano), Sandrine Rondot (Soprano),
Brett Polegato (Baritone), Myriam Sosson (Soprano), Eric Vignau (Tenor),
Thierry Gregoire (Countertenor), Jean-Christophe Hurtaud (Tenor), Magdalena Kozená (Alto),
Marcos Loureiro de Sa (Baritone), Ewa Podles (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; Paris, France 
Venue:  Live  Grande Salle, Cité de la Musique, Paris 
Length: 139 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Selection recorded November and December, 1996. 

Featured Sound Samples

Act III: "Suis l'amour, puisque tu le veux"
Act V: Chaconne
Act V: "D'une vaine terreur pouvez-vous être atteinte"

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