Notes and Editorial Reviews
Les nuits d’été. Benvenuto Cellini:
Entre l’amour et le devoir.
Act I Prelude.
Adieu, notre petite table.
Pleurez, mes yeux!
Il est doux, il est bon;
Dernier sommeil de la vierge;
L’extase de la vierge
Measha Brueggergosman (sop); Yoav Talmi, cond; Catherine Dallaire (vn);
Blair Lofgren (vc);
CBC 5236 (75:49
Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman has slowly been invading our consciousness since winning the Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition. Not yet 30, she seems set for a major career, and “Extase,” her second CD (an earlier was devoted to Barber, Copland, and Gershwin), shows that she is capable of singing in French that may not be perfect but at least does not makes us cringe at the ugly vowel sounds that are emitted by so many other singers today. Her choice of program shows her absolute fearlessness, as there are already many must-have performances of the
. Brueggergosman’s bright tone, extended range, and ability to color words stand her in good stead, and her already excellent performance will only improve over what we can only hope will be a long career.
I cared less for the excerpt from
, as she sings only Teresa’s aria without its preceding recitative and concluding cabaletta, omitting the characterization she brings to the Massenet items. The soprano may not be all “weakness and fragility” (Manon’s self-description), but touches nonetheless in “Adieu, notre petite table.” Salomé’s “Il est doux” is suavely sung, but it is Chimène’s “Pleurez, mes yeux” that seems to capture her imagination, making it the outstanding item on the disc, along with the final scene of
, perhaps taken at too leisurely a tempo by conductor Yoav Talmi. The Quebec Symphony Orchestra may not be in the same league as its neighbor in Montreal, but it need not be ashamed of its atmospheric contribution, with three items for display (Prélude to
, “Le dernier sommeil de la vierge,” and an entr’acte from
). There is a surprise 15th track on the disc with the soprano tackling a spiritual, not entirely in keeping with the rest of the program but best regarded as an encore.
FANFARE: Joel Kasow