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Massenet: Werther / Sir Colin Davis, Carreras, Von Stade

Release Date: 10/12/2004 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 475496   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Jules Massenet
Performer:  Frederica Von StadeLinda HumphriesThomas AllenIsobel Buchanan,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden OrchestraRoyal Opera House Covent Garden Childrens Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

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 between piano Read more 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 Read less

Works on This Recording

Werther by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano), Linda Humphries (Soprano), Thomas Allen (Baritone),
Isobel Buchanan (Soprano), Paul Crook (Tenor), Donaldson Bell (Bass),
José Carreras (Tenor), Malcolm King (Bass), Robert Lloyd (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Childrens Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; France 
Language: French 

Sound Samples

Werther: Prélude
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 1: "Jésus vient de naître!" - "Charlotte! Charlotte!" - "Ah! monsieur Werther!" - "Arriver donc, Brühlmann!"
Werther / Act 1: "O spectacle idéal d'amour et d'innoncence" - "Mon- sieur Werther!..." - "A ceux-là ne souhaitons rien!" "Vivat Bacchus!"
Werther / Act 1: "Sophie!"
Werther / Act 1: "Elle m'aime..elle pense à moi" - "Quelle prière" - Interlude orchestral"
Werther / Act 1: "Il faut nous séparer" - "Ah! Pourvu que je voie ces yeux"
Werther / Act 1: "Mais vous ne saver rien de moi" - "Mon âme a recon- nu votre âme" - "Vous avez dit vrai!" - "Si vous l'a- viez connue"
Werther / Act 3: "N'achevez pas!" - "Ciel, ai-je compris?" - "Non, vous ne verrez plus"
Werther / Act 1: "Rêve! Extase! Bonheur!" - "Charlotte! Charlotte! Al- bert est de retour!"
Werther / Act 2: Prélude - "Vivat Bacchus! Semper vivat!"
Werther / Act 3: "Ah! Moi! Moi! Dans ses bras!" - "Mais non, c'est im- possible" - "Prends le deuil, ô nature!"
Werther / Act 3: "Werther est de retour"
Werther / Act 2: "Trois mois! Voici trois mois que nous sommes unis!"
Werther / Act 4: La Nuit de Noël (orchestre)
Werther / Act 2: "Un autre est son époux!" - "J'aurais sur ma poitrine" - "Si Kätchen reviendra"
Werther / Act 4: "Werther!...Rien!.." - "Non, non c'est impossible!"
Werther / Act 2: "Mais celle qui devint ma femme" - "Vous l'avez dit, mon âme est loyale"
Werther / Act 2: "Frère, voyez le beau bouquet!" - "Du gai soleil, plein de flamme" - "Heureux! Pourrai-je l'être encore? - "Du gai soleil"
Werther / Act 4: "Qui parle?"
Werther / Act 4: "Oui, du jour même"
Werther / Act 4: "Noël! Noël! Noël!" - "Oui, Noël c'est le chant de la délivrance"
Werther / Act 4: "Ah! Ses yeux se ferment.." - "Là-bas, au fond du ci- metière" - "Jésus vient de naître"
Werther / Act 2: "Ah! qu'il est loin" - "N'est-il donc pas d'autre fem- me ici-bas"
Werther / Act 2: "Lorsque l'enfant revient" - "Mais venez donc!"
Werther / Act 3: Prélude
Werther / Act 3: "Werther! Werther!..qui m'aurait dit" - "Ces lettres ...ah!"
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?"

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