The critic Malcolm Hayes once proposed that Debussy’s only complete opera might be more appropriately titled L’amour de Golaud, on the grounds that he is the only truly rounded character. This recording, made in Paris in 1953, adheres firmly to that dictum. Michel Roux’s Golaud is so forceful, so dark and brutish, and so mad with jealousy that he dominates the proceedings absolutely. But though this changes the focus – the eponymous lovers become somehow catalysts rather than protagonists – it does not detract from the other performances. Camille Maurane is an attractive Pelléas, but the ardour he feels for Janine Micheau’s tremulous and touchingly innocent Mélisande seems incidental when compared with the passion – howeverRead more negative – expressed by his half-brother. Of the supporting cast, both Annik Simon’s boyish and bemused Yniold and Xavier Depraz’s wise and weighty Arkel are outstanding. If Ernest Ansermet’s sublimely magical recording from the previous year (reviewed last month) emphasised the opera’s mysterious side, this is a version grounded in realism – these are real people with credible emotions, not merely characters from a fairytale – a sense sustained by startlingly clear sound (remarkable given the age of the recording), exemplary diction, and augmented by dazzling playing from the Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux, under Jean Fournet. Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)
Pelléas et Mélisandeby Claude Debussy Performer:
Janine Micheau (Soprano),
Xavier Depraz (Baritone),
Rita Gorr (Mezzo Soprano),
Michel Roux (Bass),
Camille Maurane (Baritone)
Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1893-1902; France Date of Recording: 1953 Language: French
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Luscious and ethereal !April 23, 2014By Joseph Erdeljac (West Chester, PA)See All My Reviews"Although not one of my favorite operas this recording captures much of the 'atmosphere' of the composition. Superbly conducted by Jean Fournet the orchestra gives a lush and ethereal reading of this wonderful score. The singers are in top voice and their characterizations come clearly through in all instances."Report Abuse
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