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Notes and Editorial Reviews
For the longest time this has been the preferred version of this opera; and despite some quirks, it remains so. In the late 1950s, when this was recorded, Nicolai Gedda was the finest Faust in the world, with a ringing, easy top and a winning combination of French, elegant style, and ardency. Victoria de los Angeles, with her beautiful, narrow tone, similarly is just right as Marguerite; she presents an innocence in the early scenes that is unmatchable and a broken-ness later on that can break your heart. Boris Christoff is simply amazing: he's unbeatable when it comes to "face", that ability to practically be visible through sound alone. The fact that he chews the scenery and sounds about as French as Boris Godunov is just the
price we have to pay. I wouldn't trade his performance for any other singer's.
Ernest Blanc's Valentin is a bit soft-edged, but it's wonderfully drawn nonetheless, and casting Rita Gorr as Marthe is luxurious. Liliane Berton's Siebel is energetic and boyish. The leadership of André Cluytens is warm and idiomatic, and his orchestra and chorus are right at home. The sound is very fine for its fortysomething age. This is an honest, straightforward, effective presentation of this opera, and I bet you'll love Christoff--glottal emphases and all.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing this recording previously reissued as EMI 67975
Works on This Recording
Faust by Charles Gounod
Boris Christoff (Bass),
Victoria de los Angeles (Soprano),
Nicolai Gedda (Tenor)
Paris National Opera Chorus,
Paris National Opera Orchestra
Written: 1859; France
Date of Recording: 1953
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Careful with the your expectations May 31, 2012
By L. ACKERMAN (Washington, DC) See All My Reviews
"I should immediately note that this recording is in MONO and from 1953. Mr Levine's posted review seems to refer to the 1958 later version, which naturally is subject to confusion since the principal singers (Christoff, Gedda, de los Angeles) the conductor and the orchestra, are exactly the same. The Valentin here is Jean Borthayre (not Ernest Blanc), the Siébel Marthe Angelici.
I assume the story behind EMI's decision for a remake in such short time span was simply the launch of Stereo technology in the mid-fifties. Both versions are, in fact, very similar, with the Stereo offering the obvious advantages in sound, thus commercially overshadowing this one. As you see, the confusion remains.
If you are a completist, get both."