[ Erato Classics / 4 CD/DVD Box Set ]
Release Date: Wednesday 15 November 2017
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This new Erato recording of the complete, uncut score of Les Troyens is drawn from two concert performances that took place over the Easter weekend in April 2017 in the city of Strasbourg in eastern France. A magnificent cast of singers, predominantly Francophone, assembled under the baton of John Nelson, an acknowledged master of Berlioz's music who has conducted Les Troyens more frequently than anyone else over a period of more than 40 years; he made his name with the piece when he led performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1974 and enjoyed great acclaim for a production at the Frankfurt Opera shortly before the Strasbourg concerts.
DVD Bonus: highlights from Live concert April 15th
"Nelson drives the drama with unforced tempos but ample theatrical vitality and grandeur…Spyres isn't as heroic an Aeneas as Jon Vickers…but sings with lyrical grace and spirit and decent if not perfect French. Joyce DiDonato sings Dido with characteristic security and expressiveness…Cyrille Dubois and Hanna Hipp are attractive as Iopas and Anna" BBC Music Magazine Awards
2018 WINNER - Opera
"[Nelsons] has a live-wire grip on the score and gets detailed playing from his orchestra...A key strength is the casting of French-speaking singers in so many roles...The main selling point, though, is the American pair of singers as Dido and Aeneas...Spyres sounds credibly the warrior hero, while managing his very high role with some elegance...DiDonato is by turns fiery and sensuous as the legendary Carthaginian queen." Financial Times
"For DiDonato, Didon marks a watershed: she has done nothing finer on disc...Even more arrestingly, Spyres surpasses the fabled Jon Vickers as Enée (Aeneas), with his lighter, higher, more "wieldy" tenor...Lemieux's Cassandre is in the Crespin class, the finest on any complete recording. A triumph." Sunday Times
"Nelson never allows the dramatic pace to slacken...Some might find [DiDonato's] singing mannered and over-stylised at times, but its dramatic commitment is undeniable and Dido's final aria is a tremendous emotional tour de force...[Spyres] offers a much more human and humane figure [than Vickers], with singing that never loses its elegance and stylish flexibility...this is now unquestionably the version of Berlioz's masterpiece to have at home." The Guardian
"All [three main roles] are superbly cast...Lemieux is in rampant histrionic form as Cassandra...And Michael Spyres and Joyce DiDonato are perfectly suited as the doomed lovers Aeneas and Dido...the Strasbourg Philharmonic sounds wonderfully engaged and idiomatic in a supportively resonant acoustic...many Berlioz lovers still cling affectionately to Colin Davis's two profound recordings, but for me, Nelson becomes top recommendation." The Times