L'Étoile: French Arias

L'Étoile: French Arias

by Jennifer Larmore
     
 
Although mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore has quite an extensive and varied repertory, she has earned special recognition for her singing of French operatic roles, and this delicious recital proves why. First of all, Larmore is an elegant singer, and elegance is an essential quality in this music. Yet her interpretations are also

Overview

Although mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore has quite an extensive and varied repertory, she has earned special recognition for her singing of French operatic roles, and this delicious recital proves why. First of all, Larmore is an elegant singer, and elegance is an essential quality in this music. Yet her interpretations are also extremely sensuous, achieving an ideal balance between refinement and voluptuousness that makes her singing sound authentically French. "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" from Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila, for example, is an outpouring of beautiful tone -- yet how tastefully supple her phrasing is, too. This is a Dalila with dignity and smarts as well as sex appeal. Saint-Saëns's aria is probably the best-known piece on the program, and though operaphiles will be familiar with the selections from Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, Massenet's Werther, Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, and Thomas's Mignon, the other numbers are virtually unknown. Larmore's interpretations, however, give these rare gems a new lease on life. Listening to her delightfully dramatic shaping of the aria from Massenet's Cendrillon leaves one eager to hear the entire score; "Ô Palerme! Ô Sicile!" from Auber's Zerline -- another, even more neglected treasure -- is a showcase for the voice that seems to form a stylistic bridge between Beethoven and the 19th-century Romantics; and the title track, "Je suis Lazuli" from Chabrier's sparkling operetta L'étoile, demonstrates Larmore's gifts as a vocal comedienne. Bertrand de Billy, who has done fine work for the Alagnas, elicits polished and precise playing from the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Vienna. Recommended? Oui, oui!

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Atlanta-born soprano Jennifer Larmore was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in February 2002, no mean feat for a singer who made her debut only 16 years earlier in the city of Nice. Her passion for nineteenth century French opera is essayed in the Teldec release l'étoile, a selection of 11 full-length arias from French composers ranging from Daniel Auber to Maurice Ravel. For once, listeners are treated to a collection of opera arias that is not a mere gathering of "hits," but instead illuminates a worthy and under-explored part of the repertoire through well-chosen pieces. Larmore is clearly at home in the French language and in this music; the Radio Symphonieorchester Wien is led by Bertrand de Billy with sympathy and care not to invade territory needed by the "star." As an operatic recital, l'étoile is enjoyable in every way. A standout track is the Auber aria from the opera "Zerline," which needs to be heard to be believed as it is an extremely difficult piece written for the nineteenth century diva Marietta Albeni. Larmore handles this florid, complicated aria with dignity, creativity, and considerable savoir faire.
Gramophone - Hugh Canning
Larmore has the technique and vocal allure to tackle roles as diverse as Massenet's radiant Cendrillon, Berlioz's imperious Didion, Saint-Saëns's sultry Dalila and the volatile Lazuli, the trouser-role lead of Chabrier's delightful operetta, L'étoile.... Her fans will surely not be disappointed.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/17/2003
Label:
Teldec
UPC:
0685738719327
catalogNumber:
87193

Tracks

  1. Les contes d'Hoffmann, opera in 4 acts: Vois sous l'archet frémissant  - Jacques Offenbach  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  2. Cendrillon, opera in 4 acts: Enfin, je suis ici  - Jules Massenet  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  3. Zerline, opera: Ô Palerme! Ô Sicile!  - Daniel-François-Esprit Auber  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  4. Samson et Dalila, opera in 3 acts, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix  - Camille Saint-Saëns  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  5. Les Troyens, opera, H. 133a: Ah! Ah! Je vais mourir - Adieu, fière cité  - Hector Berlioz  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  6. Werther, lyric drama in 4 acts: Va! Laisse couler mes larmes  - Jules Massenet  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  7. Sapho, opera: Ô ma lyre immortelle  - Charles Gounod  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  8. La Damnation de Faust, for mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, chorus and orchestra, ("légende dramatique") H. 111 (Op. 24): D'amour l'ardente flamme  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Hector Berlioz  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  -  Vienna Concert Choir  - Bertrand de Billy  - Gottfried Rabl
  9. L' heure espagnole, opera in 1 act: Oh! la pitoyable aventure  - Maurice Ravel  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  10. Mignon, opera in 3 acts: Connais-tu le pays  - Ambroise Thomas  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy
  11. L' Étoile, opéra-bouffe in 3 acts: Je suis Lazuli  - Emmanuel Chabrier  -  ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Marianne Kach  - Jennifer Larmore  - Bertrand de Billy

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