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Poulenc: Dialogues Des Carmélites / Dervaux, Duval, Et Al

Release Date: 04/06/2004 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 62768   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Régine CrespinRita GorrPaul FinelXavier Depraz,   ... 
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Theater Opera Orchestra of ParisNational Theater Opera Chorus of Paris
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 24 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In and out of the catalogue since its first appearance on LP in 1958, this unique first recording of Poulenc's great opera was caught in the revolving door of deletions and reissues common to the major labels. It's back again, this time on EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series, and it definitely merits the distinction. In mono, it now has strong stereo rivals but remains highly competitive--and for those who care, it has historic importance. History comes into the equation in several ways: Poulenc supervised these recording sessions made with the original cast during the opera's first French performances; it also features singers who were close to the composer and captures them in what proved to be the last flowering of the idiomatic Read more French style.

Denise Duval's Blanche still strikes me as the finest exponent of the part, while Régine Crespin and Rita Gorr are their usual outstanding selves, smaller roles are done to perfection, and Liliane Berton's Sister Constance hasn't been bettered. Pierre Dervaux never enjoyed the celebrity of some of his contemporaries, but here he conducts with crackling tension and inspired lyricism--and gets the Paris Opera Orchestra to outdo itself. EMI provides an informative booklet with pictures, synopsis, texts, and translations.

This new remastering vastly improves on its predecessors. Earlier CD versions suffered from a boxy acoustic and limited dynamic range, greatly ameliorated this time around. As I listened, I didn't miss stereo at all, for what we get on these discs is close-up and immediate sound; even those chilling thwacks of the guillotine at the end are convincingly clear. So unless you're a stickler for stereo, sound need not be a major issue in choosing which of the three fine versions of this opera to own. Kent Nagano on Virgin is excellent in most respects, with a fine cast and slightly recessed engineering, the conducting slightly soft-centered in some scenes. Jean-Pierre Marty's equally good performance is on a hard-to-find INA Memoire release of a 1980 French stereo broadcast. However, the Dervaux scores as an easily available, great performance of a great opera with a pedigree to match. [4/13/2004]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Dialogues des carmélites by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Régine Crespin (Soprano), Rita Gorr (Mezzo Soprano), Paul Finel (Tenor),
Xavier Depraz (Bass), Max Conti (Baritone), Liliane Berton (Soprano),
Louis Rialland (Tenor), Denise Scharley (Soprano), Janine Fourrier (Soprano),
Denise Duval (Soprano), Gisčle Desmoutiers (Soprano), René Bianco (Baritone),
Jacques Mars (Bass), Raphael Romagnoni (Tenor), Charles Paul (Bass),
Michel Forel (Tenor)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris,  National Theater Opera Chorus of Paris
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953-1956; France 
Date of Recording: 1958 
Length: 144 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: French 

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