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Charles Gounod – Faust (Highlights)

Charles Gounod – Faust (Highlights)

Recorded at Brangwyn Hall, Swanse, UK on July, 1993.

About this opera:
Faust is a grand opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré’s play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part 1. It debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique (Théâtre-Historique, Opèra-National, Boulevard du Temple) in Paris on March 19, 1859.
Faust was declined at the National Opera House, on the grounds that it was not sufficiently “showy”, and its appearance at the Théatre-Lyrique had been delayed for a year because Dennery’s drama Faust  was currently playing at the Porte St. Martin. The manager Leon Carvalho (who cast his wife Marie Miolan-Carvalho as Marguerite) insisted on various changes during production, including cutting several numbers. Faust was not initially well-received. The publisher Antoine Choudens, who purchased the copyright for 10,000 francs, took the work (with added recitatives replacing the original spoken dialogue) on tour through Germany, Belgium, Italy and England, with Marie Miolan-Carvalho repeating her role. It was revived in Paris in 1862, now a hit. A ballet had to be inserted before the work would be played at the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra in 1869: it became the most frequently performed opera at that house and a staple of the international repertory, which it remained for decades, after being translated into at least 25 languages. Its popularity and critical reputation have declined somewhat since around 1950. A full production, with its large chorus and elaborate sets and costumes, is an expensive undertaking today, particularly if the Act V ballet is included. However, it appears as number eighteen on Opera America’s list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America. It was Faust with which the Metropolitan Opera in New York City opened for the first time on October 22, 1883. It is the 8th most frequently performed opera there, with over 730 performances up until 2008. It was not until the period between 1965 and 1977 that the full version was performed (and then with some minor cuts), and all performances in that production included the Walpurgisnacht and the ballet.

The Artists:
Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi: conductor

Welsh National Opera Chorus
Gareth Jones: chorus master

Jerry Hadley: Faust
Cecilia Gasdia: Marguerite
Samuel Ramey: Méphisthophéles
Alesandru Agache: Valentin
Susanne Mentzer: Siébel
Brigitte Fassbaender: Marthe
Philippe Fourcade: Wagner

Track List:
01. Act 1 – Vin ou bi re (choeur, Wagner) (5:01)
02. Avant de quitter ces lieux (Valentin) (3:10)
03. Le veau d’or (M phistoph l s, choeur) (2:06)
04. Ne permettrez-vous pas (Faust, Marguerite, M phistoph l s, choeur) (3:57)
05. Act 2 – Quel trouble inconnu (Faust) (6:03)
06. Les grands seigneurs (Marguerite) (6:21)
07. Il se fait tard (Marguerite, Faust) (6:26)
08. Act 3 – Il ne revient pas (Marguerite, choeur) (3:33)
09. Ecoutez! D posons les armes! (Marthe, choeur, Valentin, Si bel) (2:58)
10. Gloire immortelle (choeur) (3:03)
11. Qu’attendez-vous encore? (M phistoph l s, Faust) (1:12)
12. Vous qui faites l’endormie (M phistoph l s, Faust) (2:59)
13. Ecoute-moi bien, Marguerite! (Valentin, Si bel, Marthe, choeur) (5:14)
14. Act 4 – Dans les bruy res (choeur) (1:16)
15. Arr te! (Faust, M phistoph l s, choeur) (3:06)
16. Minuit! Minuit! (M phistoph l s, choeur) (2:34)
17. Que ton ivresse (M phistoph l s, Faust, choeur) (3:13)
18. Alerte! alerte! (M phistoph l s, Marguerite, Faust, choeur) (6:26)
19. Appendix – Musique de ballet – I: Allegretto (2:36)
20. II: Allegretto (1:39)
21. III: Allegro vivo (2:35)

Stereo, DDD, mp3 (320 kbps), 75:59 minutes, 176.46Mb. Covers & info included.

Christoph Willibald Von Gluck – La Rencontre Imprévue (The Unexpected Encounter)

Christoph Willibald Von Gluck – La Rencontre Imprévue

Recorded in January 1990

About this work:
La rencontre imprévue (The Unexpected Encounter), also known as Les pèlerins de la Mecque (The Pilgrims to Mecca) is a comédie mêlée d’ariettes, a form of opéra comique, by Christoph Willibald Gluck, first performed at the Burgtheater, Vienna on January 7, 1764. The libretto was by Louis Hurtaut Dancourt, who based it on a 1726 play by Alain René Lesage and d’Orneval.
In 1784 Mozart wrote a set of variations for piano (K.455) on the aria “Unser dummer Pöbel meint” from this opera. In 1887 the variations were orchestrated by Tchaikovsky as the final movement of his orchestral Suite No.4 “Mozartiana”.

The Artists:

Track List:

01. Ouvertüre (2:25)
02. Nr. 1 Air “Heureux l’amant qui se deprêtre de Cupidon” (2:06)
03. Dialogue: “Illah! Illah! ha!” (0:15)
04. Air “Castagno, castagna” (2:53)
05. Air “Les hommes pieusesment pour Caton nous tiennent” (2:34)
06. Dialogue “Eh! mes amis, vous voilà?” (0:30)
07. Air “D’un céleste transport, mon âme est agitée” (2:14)
08. Dialogue “Pourvu qu sa maladie ne se gagne pas” (0:19)
09. Air “Il fait entendre sa sonnette” (2:02)
10. Dialogue “Je ne vois pas ici Osmin!” (0:06)
11. Air “Castagno, castagna” (1:07)
12. Air “Je chérirai, jusqu’au au trépas” (4:23)
13. Dialogue “Moi, Calender!” (0:14)
14. Air “Bel inconnu qu’ici l’amour amène” (2:15)
15. Dialogue “Eh bien, Seigneur, que ne le suivez-vous” (0:08)
16. Trio “Je suis touché des bontés de la dame” (3:51)
17. Dialogue “Eh bien Seigneur, qu’en dites-vous?” (0:17)
18. Dialogue “Elle est fort gracieuse” (0:01)
19. Air “J’ai fait un rêve des plus doux” (2:23)
20. Air “Vous ressemblez à la rose naissante” (4:46)
21. Air “A ma maîtresse, j’ai promis, Seigneur” (1:26)
22. Dialogue “Ma foi, Seigneur, je crois qu’elle a raison (0:24)
23. Air “Je cherche à vour faire le sort le plus doux (3:16)
24. Air parodié “Tout ce qu j’aime est au tombeau” (4:53)
25. Air “J’ai perdu mon étalage” (1:48)
26. Dialogue “La favorite se rit de nous” (0:19)
27. Duo “Oh, Abrenuntio” (0:54)
28. Duo “Que vois-je! O ciel” (1:53)
29. Air “Je sais que l’amoureux flambeau” (3:21)
30. Air “Sans votre brusque retraite” (1:31)
31. Ariette “Ah, qu’il est doux de se revoir” (5:09)
32. Air “Venez, venez, troupe brillante” (1:09)
33. Ballets (10:10)
34. Finale Sextuor “Ah! je suis en transe” (2:19)
01. Dialogue “Vous êtes bien pressé de partir cette fois-ci” (1:01)
02. Dialogue “A vous frère” (0:06)
03. “Mahomet, notre grand prophète” (1:22)
04. Dialogue “Un bienfait n’est jamais perdu” (0:09)
05. Dialogue “Ami, ton Prince implore ton secours” (0:46)
06. Air “D’une telle lâcheté” (2:08)
07. Dialogue “Le bonheur de vous revoir” (0:08)
08. Air parodié”Maître des coeurs” (3:49)
09. Dialogue “Seigneur, allez vite” (0:10)
10. Ah! Osmin, te voilà (1:00)
11. Dialogue “Ah! Ah! Gaillard” (0:17)
12. Trio “Permettez que je vous embrasse” (1:54)
13. Trio “Ho, ho! Monsieur Vertigo” (1:07)
14. Trio “Est-ce un adagio?” (2:28)
15. Air “Des combats, j’ai peint l’horreur” (1:59)
16. Air “C’est un torrent impétueux” (1:23)
17. Air “Un ruisselet bien clair, bien net” (3:05)
18. Dialogue “Ah, j’ai cru qu’il allait m’étrangler” (0:09)
19. Dialogue “Ah! chère Rezia” (0:17)
20. Duo “Qu’il est doux de partager ses chaînes” (2:02)
21. Dialogue “C’en est fait de nous” (0:08)
22. Ensemble “Après un tel outrage, il faut que dans ma rage” (5:57)
23. Finale “Cesson de répandre des larmes” (1:59)

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 313.52 Mb, 106:45 minutes. Full info, synopsis & covers are included.


Jean-Philippe Rameau – Zoroastre

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Zoroastre

Recorded between 10-20/03/1983

About the Opera:
Zoroastre’s premiere in 1749 was not a success; despite the magnificence of the staging, it failed to compete with Mondonville’s new opéra-ballet Le carnaval du Parnasse. Rameau and Cahusac decided to rework the opera completely before offering it to the public again in 1756.
Acts 2,3 and 5 were heavily rewritten and there were several modifications to the plot. This time audiences took to the opera, although the critic Melchior Grimm was withering about Cahusac’s libretto: “In Zoroastre it is day and night alternately; but as the poet…cannot count up to five he has got so muddled in his reckoning that he has been compelled to make it be day and night two or three times in each act, so that it might be day at the end of the play”. Zoroastre was chosen to open the new Paris opera house on January 26, 1770, the old one having burned down in 1763. It was also translated into Italian by Casanova for a performance in Dresden in 1752, although some of Rameau’s music was replaced by that of the ballet master Adam. Its first modern revival was in a concert version at the Schola Cantorum, Paris in 1903.
Zoroastre includes some important innovations: it was the first major French opera to dispense with an allegorical prologue and its subject matter is not drawn from the Classical mythology of Greece and Rome, as was usual, but from Persian religion. There was good reason for this.  As Graham Sadler writes, the opera is “a thinly disguised portrayal of Freemasonry”. Cahusac, the librettist, was a leading French Mason and many of his works celebrate the ideals of the Enlightenment, including Zoroastre. The historical Zoroaster was highly regarded in Masonic circles and the parallels are obvious between Rameau’s opera and an even more famous Masonic allegory, Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1791), with its initiation rites conducted under the auspices of the wise “Sarastro”.

Act 1:
The story takes place in the ancient kingdom of Bactria and concerns the struggle between the forces of Good, led by Zoroastre, the “founder of the Magi”, and Evil, led by the sorcerer Abramane. When the opera opens, Bactria is in chaos after the death of its king, who has left behind two daughters: Amélite, the presumptive heir, and Erinice. Both are in love with Zoroastre, who is devoted to Amélite. Abramane has taken the opportunity to send Zoroastre into exile. The sorcerer also plots to seize the throne with Erinice, who wants revenge on Zoroastre for rejecting her love. Abramane conjures up demons to capture Amélite.
Act 2:
Zoroastre is in exile at the palace of the king of the good genies, Oromasès. Oromasès tells Zoroastre to go and rescue Amélite and destroy the forces of evil. He puts Zoroastre through a magic initiation ritual to prepare him for the task. In the dungeons of the fortress of Bactria, Abramane and Erinice are torturing Amélite to force her to renounce the throne, when Zoroastre suddenly appears. He releases Amélite and destroys the fortress with his magic powers. Amélite is presented as queen to her joyful Bactrian subjects.
Act 3:
Night. Abramane and Erinice quarrel over the disaster that has befallen their plans. Abramane hides Erinice in a cloud. At dawn, Zoroastre, Amélite and the Bactrian people assemble to worship the Supreme Being then celebrate the marriage of Zoroastre and Amélite. As the wedding ceremony takes place, Abramane arrives on a fiery chariot and kidnaps Amélite. Zoroastre prepares his magic spirits for war
Act 4:
In the temple of the god Arimane, Abramane receives news that the battle between the spirits of good and evil is going badly for him. He sacrifices to the god and summons up Hate, Vengeance and Despair.
Act 5:
Erinice, now repentant, warns Zoroastre of Abramane’s plan for a new battle. Abramane appears in the fiery chariot once more and reveals Amélite in chains. He calls on Zoroastre to surrender. Instead, Zoroastre calls on the gods, who strike down Abramane and his evil priests with thunderbolts. The opera ends with rejoicing as Zoroastre and Amélite are crowned king and queen of Bactria.

Track List:
01. Ouverture (4:48)
02. Acte premier: scène 1: À l’heureux Abramane (4:48)
03. Acte premier: scène 2: Princesse, avec Phoerés (5:16)
04. Acte premier: scène 3: Rassurez-vous tendre Amélite (4:00)
05. Acte premier: scène 3: Air tendre en rondeau (1:44)
06. Acte premier: scène 3: l’amour pour un coeur (1:17)
07. Acte Premier: Scène 3: Gavotte tendre (1:25)
08. Acte premier: scène 3: Cher Zoroastre, hélas! (3:09)
09. Acte Premier: Scène 3: Gavotte en rondeau I/II/I- Air léger (3:42)
10. Acte premier: scène 3: Les rayons du soleil (1:38)
11. Acte premier: scène 4: C’est vous, chère Érénice? (1:33)
12. Acte premier: scène 5 & 6: Entr’acte (2:56)
13. Acte second: scène 1: À mes tristes égards (3:11)
14. Acte second: scène 2: Dans cet azile favorable (3:16)
15. Acte second: scène 3: Aux accens de ma voix cieux (1:13)
16. Acte Second: Scène 3: Enchantemens: Sarabande-Air un peu gay & bien piqué-Gavotte gaye I/II/I (5:23)
17. Acte second: scène 3: Zoroastre vole à la gloire (3:19)
18. Acte second: scène 4: En vain l’innocence crie (3:32)
19. Acte second: scène 5 & 6: Hélas! Je bravois son courroux (4:09)
01. Acte second: scène 7: Le ciel, qu’ont attendri mes pleurs (1:22)
02. Acte second: scène 7: Entrée des Peuples- Air majestueux (1:54)
03. Acte second: scène 7:: Ah! Que l’absence est un cruel tournement! (2:26)
04. Acte Second: Scène 7: Menuet I/II/I (2:42)
05. Acte second: scène 7: Non, ce n’est pas toujours (3:00)
06. Acte Second: Scène 7: Rigaudon I/II/I (3:39)
07. Acte second: scène 7: Cessés de redouter des prêstres criminels (3:42)
08. Acte second: scène 7: Entr’acte (1:18)
09. Acte troisième: scène 1: Arrestés. Moderés cette fureur extrême (4:33)
10. Acte troisième: scène 2: Osons achever de grand crimes (2:49)
11. Acte troisième: scène 3: Sommeil fu de ce séjour (3:59)
12. Acte troisième: scène 4 & 5: Sommeil fui de ce séjour (0:58)
13. Acte troisième: scène 4 & 5: Entrée des Peuples différents (2:22)
14. Acte troisième: scène 4 & 5: Mille rayons brillans (4:06)
15. Acte troisième: scène 4 & 5: Loure (2:01)
16. Acte troisième: scène 4 & 5: Accourrées jeunesse brillante (2:29)
17. Acte Troisième: Scène 6: Entrée des montagnards (1:51)
18. Acte Troisième: Scène 6: Gigue vive (2:23)
19. Acte troisième: scène 6: Sur nos coeurs épuise tes armes (3:23)
20. Acte Troisième: Scène 6: Tambourin en Rondeau (0:43)
21. Acte troisième: scène 6: Hâtons notre bonheur (5:11)
22. Acte troisième: scène 7 & 8: Entr’acte (1:14)
01. Acte quatrième: scène 1: cruels tyrans, qui régnés dans mon coeur (2:25)
02. Acte quatrième: scène 2: Votre ennemi triomphe (8:19)
03. Acte quatrième: scène 3-4-5: Air grave (3:53)
04. Acte quatrième: scène 6: A ta voix nous quittons (1:01)
05. Acte quatrième: scène 7: Ballet-Air grave (2:18)
06. Acte quatrième: scène 7: Vengez-vous, cessez de souffrir (3:48)
07. Acte quatrième: scène 7: Ballet: Air vif (1:39)
08. Acte quatrième: scène 7:La flamme le consume! (1:50)
09. Acte quatrième: scène 7: Air très vif (2:43)
10. Acte quatrième: scène 7: Ah! Nos fureurs ne sont point vaines (3:00)
11. Acte quatrième: scène 8: Entr’acte- Air très vif (1:30)
12. Acte cinquième: scène 1: Quel tourment! (4:17)
13. Acte cinquième: scène 1: il approche (6:42)
14. Acte cinquième: scène 2-4 &5: Q’ue la fière Erinice triomphe (1:46)
15. Acte cinquième: scène 6: Par un dernier revers (1:32)
16. Acte Cinquième: Scène 7: Ballet: Air majestueux. (2:42)
17. Acte cinquième: scène 7: Air en rondeau-Mouvement de chaconne (1:54)
18. Acte cinquième: scène 8: Que ces noeuds sont charmants! (4:17)
19. Acte Cinquième: Scène 8: Entrée des Bergers, Pastres, Peuples, etc.- Andante (3:00)
20. Acte cinquième: scène 8: L’amour vole au son des hautbois (3:53)
21. Acte Cinquième: Scène 8: Ballet:1ere Gavotte-Vive- 2e Gavotte-1e Gavotte-Vive (2:48)

The Artists:

mp3, 320 kbps, ADD, 3 hours 3 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —-   Part2 —-   Part3 —-   Part4 —-   Part5

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Castor Et Pollux

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Castor Et Pollux

About the Opera:
Castor et Pollux (Castor and Pollux) is an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau, first performed on 24 October 1737 at the Académie royale de musique in Paris. The librettist was Pierre-Joseph-Justin Bernard, whose reputation as a salon poet it made.  This was the third opera by Rameau and his second in the form of the tragédie en musique (if the lost Samson is discounted).  Rameau made substantial cuts, alterations and added new material to the opera for its revival in 1754. Experts still dispute which of the two versions is superior. Whatever the case, Castor et Pollux has always been regarded as one of Rameau’s finest works. (The version presented here is the revised one from 1754).
Castor et Pollux appeared in 1737 while the controversy ignited by Rameau’s first opera Hippolyte et Aricie was still raging.  Conservative critics held the works of the “father of French opera”, Jean-Baptiste Lully, to be unsurpassable.  They saw Rameau’s radical musical innovations as an attack on all they held dear and a war of words broke out between these Lullistes and the supporters of the new composer, the so-called Rameauneurs.  This controversy ensured that the premiere of Castor would be a noteworthy event. As it turned out, the opera was a success.  It received twenty performances in late 1737 but did not reappear until the sustantially revised version took to the stage in 1754. This time there were thirty performances and ten in 1755. Graham Sadler writes that “It was […] Castor et Pollux that was regarded as Rameau’s crowning achievement, at least from the time of its first revival (1754) onwards.” Revivals followed in 1764, 1765, 1772, 1773, 1778, 1779 and 1780.  The taste for Rameau’s operas did not long outlive the French Revolution but extracts from Castor et Pollux were still being performed in Paris as late as 1792.  During the nineteenth century, the work did not appear on the French stage, though its fame survived the general obscurity into which Rameau’s works had sunk; Hector Berlioz admiringly mentioned the aria Tristes apprêts.  The first modern revival took place at the Schola Cantorum in Paris in 1903.  Among the audience was Claude Debussy.

Track List:
01. Acte 1 – Ritournelle (2:50)
02. Acte 1 – L’hymrn couronne votre soeur (3:47)
03. Acte 1 – Éclatez, mes justes regrests (2:41)
04. Acte 1 – Ah!, je mourrai content (3:32)
05. Acte 1 – Non, demeure, Castor (1:52)
06. Acte 1 – Chantons l’éclatante victoire (2:07)
07. Acte 1 – Menuets I & II (3:49)
08. Acte 1 – Quel bonheur règne dans mon âme (3:21)
09. Acte 1 – Gavotes I & II (3:36)
10. Acte 1 – Quitez ces jeux (1:54)
11. Acte 1 – Entracte-Bruit de guerre (0:57)
12. Acte 2 – Que tout gémise, que tout s’unisse (3:27)
13. Acte 2 – Tristes apprêts, pâles flambeaux (4:39)
14. Acte 2 – Cruelle, en quels lieux venez-vous (1:37)
15. Acte 2 – Marche fière (0:58)
16. Acte 2 – Peuples, cessez de soupirer (2:24)
17. Acte 2 – Princesse, un telle victoire (1:57)
18. Acte 2 – Airs pour les athlètes (3:17)
19. Acte 2 – Eclatez, fières trompettes (3:38)
20. Acte 2 – Airs I & II (2:08)
21. Acte 3 – Présent des Dieux, doux charmes des humains (2:48)
22. Acte 3 – Le souverain des Dieux (1:57)
23. Acte 3 – Ma voix, puissant maître du monde (2:22)
24. Acte 3 – Ah, laisse-moi percer jusques aux sombres bords (3:10)
25. Acte 3 – Pouvez-vous nous méconnaître (2:32)
01. Acte 3 – Tout ‘èlat de l?Olympe est en vain ranimé (1:25)
02. Acte 3 – Voicxi des Dieux l’asile aimable (3:29)
03. Acte 3 – Que nos jeux comblent nous voeux (3:04)
04. Acte 3 – Gavottes I & II (2:18)
05. Acte 3 – Quand je romps vos aimables chaînes (0:33)
06. Acte 4 – Esprits, soutiens de mon puvoir (2:08)
07. Acte 4 – Phoebe, tu fais de vains efforts (1:34)
08. Acte 4 – Rentrez, rentrez dans l’esclavage (2:04)
09. Acte 4 – Brisons tous nos fers (3:30)
10. Acte 4 – 2ème air des Démons (0:40)
11. Acte 4 – O ciel, tout cède à sa valeur (1:04)
12. Acte 4 – Sejour de l’éternelle paix (3:48)
13. Acte 4 – Qu’il soit hereux comme nous (3:40)
14. Acte 4 – Sour les Omgres fugitives (2:35)
15. Acte 4 – Dans ces doux asiles (2:47)
16. Acte 4 – Passepìeds I & II (1:21)
17. Acte 4 – Fuyez, fuyez ombres légères (5:25)
18. Acte 4 – Entracte: Rondeau (0:56)
19. Acte 4 – 2ème entracte: Menuet (1:22)
20. Acte 5 – Le ciel est donc touché des plus tendres amours (3:34)
21. Acte 5 – Mais j’entends des cris d’allégresse (1:12)
22. Acte 5 – Peuples, éloignez-vous (1:52)
23. Acte 5 – Qu’ai-je entendu (2:56)
24. Acte 5 – Les destins sont cxontents (2:06)
25. Acte 5 – Palais de ma grandeur, où je dicte mes lois (1:02)
26. Acte 5 – Que le ciel, que la terre et l’onde (10:21)
27. Acte 5 – Gavottes I & II (2:12)

The Artists:

mp3, 320 kbps, DDD, 2 hours 34 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3 —–   Part4

Niccolò Piccinni – Iphigénie En Tauride

Niccolò Piccinni – Iphigénie En Tauride
Recorded live in Bari, Italy, between the 6th and the 10th of December, 1986
(First world recording)

About the Opera:
Iphigénie en Tauride (Iphigeneia in Tauris) is a tragédie lyrique in four acts by Niccolò Piccinni, which was first performed at the Académie royale de musique (the Paris Opéra) on January 23, 1781. The opera’s libretto, by Alphonse du Congé Dubreuil, is based on a play of the same name by Claude Guimond de la Touche, although the ultimate source was the tragedy Iphigeneia in Tauris by Euripides. This opera marked the climax of the quarrel between the supporters of Piccinni and those of Christoph Willibald Gluck. Piccinni had been brought to Paris in the mid-1770s as a rival to the German composer, who had already had great success with his operas there. Arguments about the respective merits of their heroes raged between “Gluckists” and “Piccinnists”, although the composers themselves showed less enthusiasm for the fight. When Gluck learned that Piccinni was setting the same libretto to Roland as he was, he abandoned work on his score. For his part, Piccinni was an admirer of Gluck’s music and was reluctant to challenge him.  Nevertheless, in 1778 the director of the Paris Opéra, De Vismes du Valgay, finally succeeded in arranging a direct confrontation when he persuaded both composers to write an opera on the same story, but not the same libretto: Iphigénie en Tauride. Piccinni accepted on condition that his version was staged first. In the event, problems with the quality of the libretto (and, possibly, backstage political manoeuvrings) meant that Gluck’s opera was the first to receive its premiere in May, 1779. Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece. The success of his rival caused Piccinni to delay his own opera even further and it was not until a year and a half later that it was finally presented to a Parisian audience. The reaction was lukewarm, although a revival in 1785 was received more favourably.

Track List:
01. Ouverture (7:32)
02. Act 1 (Scene I) – “O jour fatal!” (2:01)
03. Act 1 (Scene II) – “Jeune et belle princesse!” (1:28)
04. Act 1 (Scene II) – “Pour adoucir mes maux” (1:57)
05. Act 1 (Scene II) – “Diane! Suspends ton courroux” (2:01)
06. Act 1 (Scene III) – “A mes peines sensible” (1:28)
07. Act 1 (Scene III) – “A la triste clarte” (2:01)
08. Act 1 (Scene III) – “Mais tout-a-coup le Ciel est sans nuage” (3:29)
09. Act 1 (Scene IV) – “De Diane en ce jour” (1:21)
10. Act 1 (Scene V) – “Mon Peuple, qui me croit heureux” (2:30)
11. Act 1 (Scene V) – “Quelle epaisse vapeur” (3:41)
12. Act 1 (Scene VI) – “Les Dieux ne sont point courrouces” (0:51)
13. Act 1 (Scene VI) – “Vous nous envoyez des victimes” (3:40)
14. Act 2 (Scene I) – “O sort funeste!” (3:49)
15. Act 2 (Scene II) – “Quel moment pour mon coeur sensible!” (4:11)
16. Act 2 (Scene II) – “Fais eclater la foudre” (1:58)
17. Act 2 (Scene III) – “Arretez, rendez-vous, ennemis de nos Dieux!” (2:42)
18. Act 2 (Scene IV) – “Dieux tout-puissants!” (4:00)
01. “Ah! barbare Thoas!” (5:38)
02. “Etrangers, que je plains” (2:50)
03. “Son fils… il a venge son pere.” (0:43)
04. “Qu’est devenu ce fils?” (0:53)
05. “Eh! Que reste-ti-il donc… ?” (2:05)
06. “O jour fatal!” (2:58)
07. “Au trepas tous les deux… ” (1:19)
08. “O moment cher a ma tendresse!” (0:44)
09. “Cruel! et tu dis que tu m’aimes?” (4:04)
10. “Je t’aime plus que moi” (2:31)
11. “Non, ne l’espere pas… ” (1:07)
12. “Mon coeur se fie a votre zele” (3:08)
13. “Si mon coeur ressent leurs alarmes” (5:59)
14. “On va conduire ici la victime innocente.” (4:30)
15. “Pour votre mort en ces lieux tout s’apprete” (3:27)
16. “Quel bonheur!” (2:13)
17. V) – “Que vois-je!” (2:04)
18. VII) – “Ah! pour nous le Ciel de declare” (2:17)
19. IX) – “J’abolis a jamais l’usage” (1:22)
20. IX) – “Quittez cet horrible rivage” (3:20)

The Artists:

mp3, 320 kbps, cd ripping, 103:52 minutes
Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–  Part2 —–  Part3

Christoph Willibald Gluck – Iphigénie En Aulide

Christoph Willibald Gluck – Iphigénie En Aulide

About the Opera:
This is the only available recording of a neglected masterpiece, Gluck’s first “Iphigenie” opera, (there was a recording by Riccardo Muti, a few years back, which is now deleted) premiered in Paris in 1774, five years before his greatest work, “Iphigenie en Tauride”. Though “Iphigenie en Aulide” doesn’t have the concentrated force of the later opera, it is still very moving and contains much beautiful music. It was the first of Gluck’s six operas to be written for the French stage and while it certainly forms part of his mission to reform the old, seemingly undramatic style of Baroque opera, it also owes a great deal to the tradition of `tragedie lyrique’, and listeners familiar with Rameau or Leclair will be at home here – Gluck’s work, like theirs, is built up from a mosaic of short arias, choruses and dances, with plenty of opportunity for big setpiece scenes.

Gluck’s other opera on the theme, “Iphigenie en Tauride”, uses an alternative version of the myth where Iphigenia vanishes at the moment of sacrifice and is taken off by the goddess Diana to serve as her priestess in the desolate, far distant region of Tauris on the Black Sea, until she is rescued, years later, by her long-lost brother, Orestes.

Track List:
01. Ouverture (6:23)
02. Acte I – Scene 1. “Diane Impitoyable” (1:26)
03. Acte I – Scene 1. Air. “Brillant Auteur de la Lumiere” (2:25)
04. Acte I – Scene 2. Choeur. “C’est Trop Faire de Resistance” (1:27)
05. Acte I – Scene 2. “D’une Sainte Terrreur” (2:19)
06. Acte I – Scene 2. Choeur “Nommez-Nous la Victime” (0:57)
07. Acte I – Scene 3. “Vous Voyez Leur Fureur Extreme” (0:45)
08. Acte I – Scene 3. Air. “Peuvent-Ils Ordonner?” (2:06)
09. Acte I – Scene 3. “Vous Oseriez Etre Parjure?” (1:10)
10. Acte I – Scene 4. Air. “au Faite Des Grandeurs” (1:43)
11. Acte I – Scene 4. “Dieux Cruels!” (0:24)
12. Acte I – Scene 4. Choeur. “Que D’attraits!” (3:22)
13. Acte I – Scene 5. Air. “Que J’aime a Voir Ces Hommages Flatteurs” (1:04)
14. Acte I – Scene 5. “Demeurez Dans Ces Lieux” (0:23)
15. Acte I – Scene 5. Choeur. “Non, Jamais” (2:38)
16. Acte I – Scene 5. Air “Les Voeux Dont ce Peuple M’honore” (1:05)
17. Acte I – Scene 5. Air (Mouvement de Passepied) (0:45)
18. Acte I – Scene 6. “Allez, il Faut Venger Notre Gloire Offensee” (1:14)
19. Acte I – Scene 6. Air. “Armez-Vous D’un Noble Courage” (1:27)
20. Acte I – Scene 7. “L’ai-je Bien Entendu?” (0:34)
21. Acte I – Scene 7. Air. “Helas! Mon Coeur Sensible!” (2:51)
22. Acte I – Scene 8. “en Croirai-je Mes Yeux?” (1:37)
23. Acte I – Scene 8. Air. “Iphigenie, Helas!” (1:00)
24. Acte I – Scene 8. “S’il Est Vrai” (0:21)
25. Acte I – Scene 8. Air. “Cruelle, Non Jamais” (2:43)
26. Acte I – Scene 8. “Mon Trouble, Mes Soupcnons” (0:36)
27. Acte I – Scene 8. Duo. “ne Doutez Jamais de ma Flamme” (3:50)
28. Acte II – Scene 1. Choeur. “Rassurez-Vous, Belle Princesse” (2:29)
29. Acte II – Scene 1. Air. “Par la Crainte et Par L’esperance” (2:28)
30. Acte II – Scene 2. “ma Fille, Votre Hymen S’apprete” (0:52)
31. Acte II – Scene 3. Marche (1:00)
32. Acte II – Scene 3. “Rival de ma Valeur” (0:33)
33. Acte II – Scene 3. “Chantez, Celebrez Votre Reine” (2:37)
34. Acte II – Scene 3. Air. “Achille Est Couronne” (1:06)
35. Acte II – Scene 3. “Ami Sensible, Ennemi Redoutable” (0:56)
36. Acte II – Scene 3. Air Gai (Danse) (0:45)
37. Acte II – Scene 3. Passacaille (Ballet) (7:19)
01. Scene 3. Choeur. “Les Filles de Lesbos” (2:00)
02. Scene 3. Air Pour Les Esclaves (3:58)
03. Scene 3. Quatuor. “Jamais a Tes Autels” (1:12)
04. Scene 4. “Princesse, Pardonez” (1:39)
05. Scene 4. Air. “Par un Pere Cruel” (4:15)
06. Scene 4. “Reiner, Rassurez-Vous” (0:36)
07. Scene 4. Trio. “C’est Mon Pere, Seigneur” (3:08)
08. Scene 5. “Suis-Moi, Patrocle” (1:33)
09. Scene 6. “je le Vois” (2:27)
10. Scene 6. Duo. “de Votre Audace Temeraire” (1:01)
11. Scene 7. “tu Decides Son Sort” (5:12)
12. Scene 7. Air. “o Toi, L’objet le Plus Aimable” (4:18)
13. Scene 1 &2. Choeur. “Non, Non, Nous ne Souffrirons Pas” (1:25)
14. Scene 3. “Princesse, Suivez-Moi” (1:07)
15. Scene 3. Air. “il Faut, de Mon Destin” (1:42)
16. Scene 3. “et Vous M’aimez” (0:40)
17. Scene 3. “Adieu: Conservez Dans Votre Ame” (3:12)
18. Scene 3. “Sans Vous, Achille Pourrait Vivre?” (0:41)
19. Scene 3. Air. “Calchas, D’un Trait Mortel Perce” (1:18)
20. Scene 4. “Cruel! il Fuit” (0:29)
21. Scene 5. “Osez Mettre le Comble” (1:20)
22. Scene 5. Air. “Adieu, Vivez Pour Oreste” (1:30)
23. Scene 5. “Vous Entendez Les Cris” (1:01)
24. Scene 6. “Dieux Puissants Que J’atteste” (2:34)
25. Scene 6. Air. “Jupiter, Lance la Foudre” (1:38)
26. Scene 6,7,8. Choeur. “Puissante Deite” (3:48)
27. Scene 9. Descente de Diane “Votre Zele Des Dieux a Flechi la Colere” (1:36)
28. Scene 9. “Adorez la Clemence” (1:30)
29. Scene 9. Quatuor. “Mon Coeur ne Saurait Contenir” (2:21)
30. Scene 9. Choeur “Jusque Aux Voutes Etherees (1:47)
31. Scene 9. Passacaille (2:44)
32. Scene 9. Choeur “Partons, Volons a la Victoire” (1:53)

The Artists:

mp3, 320 kbps, cd ripping, 2 hours 12 minutes
Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–  Part2 —–  Part3 —–  Part4

George Bizet – Carmen

George Bizet – Carmen

About the Opera:

Carmen is a French opéra comique by Georges Bizet. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée, first published in 1845,itself influenced by the narrative poem “The Gypsies” (1824) by Pushkin. Mérimée had read the poem in Russian by 1840 and translated it into French in 1852.The opera premiered at the Opéra Comique of Paris on 3 March 1875, but its opening run was denounced by the majority ofcritics. It was almost withdrawn after its fourth or fifth performance, and although this was avoided, ultimately having 48 performances in the first year, it did little to bolster sagging receipts at the Opéra Comique. Near the end of this run, the theatre was giving tickets away in order to stimulate attendance. Bizet died on 3 June 1875, never knowing how popular Carmen would become. In October 1875 it was produced in Vienna, to critical and popular success, which began its path to worldwide popularity. It was not staged again at the Opéra Comique until 1883. Bizet’s final opera not only transformed the opera-comique genre that had been static for half a century, it virtually killed it. Within a few years, the traditional distinction between opera (serious, heroic and declamatory) and opera-comique (light-hearted, bourgeois and conversational with spoken dialogue) disappeared. Moreover, Carmen nourished a movement that was to win both celebrity and notoriety first in Italy and then elsewhere: the cult of realism known as verismo. The early death of Bizet and the negligence of his immediate heirs and publisher led, as with most of Bizet’s operas, to major textual problems for which scholars and performers only began to find solutions since the 1960s.


Act 1

A square in Seville. On the right a cigarette factory, on the left a guard house, with a bridge at the back. Moralès and the soldiers are on guard, (“Sur la place, chacun passe”). Micaëla appears seeking Don José, a corporal, but is told by Moralès that he is not yet on duty, so why does not she stay and wait with them? She runs away saying that she will return later. Zuniga and José arrive with the new guard, imitated by a crowd of street-children (“Avec la garde montante”). A bell sounds and the cigarette girls emerge from the factory, greeted by young men who have gathered (“La cloche a sonné”). Finally Carmen appears, and all the men ask her when she will love them (“Quand je vous aimerai?”). She replies that she loves the man who does not love her in the famous Habanera (“L’amour est un oiseau rebelle”). When they plead for her to choose a lover from among them, (“Carmen! sur tes pas, nous nous pressons tous!”) she tears a bunch of cassia from her bodice and throws it at Don José, who has been ignoring her, before going back into the factory with the others. José is annoyed by her insolence. Micaëla returns and gives him a letter – and a kiss – from his mother (“Parle-moi de ma mère!”). José longingly thinks of his home, and reading the letter sees that his mother wants him to return and get married. Micaëla is embarrassed and leaves, but Don José declares that he will marry her. As soon as she leaves, screams are heard from the factory and the women run out, singing chaotically (“Au secours! Au secours!”). Don José and Zuniga find that Carmen has been fighting with another woman, and slashed her face with a knife. Zuniga asks Carmen if she has anything to say, but she replies impudently with a song (“Tra la la”). Zuniga instructs José to guard her while he writes out the warrant for prison. The women go back into the factory and the soldiers to the guardhouse. To escape, Carmen seduces José with a Seguidilla (“Près des remparts de Séville”) about an evening she will spend with her next lover who is “only a corporal”; José gives in and unties her hands.  Zuniga returns, and Carmen allows herself to be led away but turns, pushes José to the ground, and as laughing cigarette girls surround Zuniga, she escapes.
Act 2

Evening at Lillas Pastia’s inn, tables scattered around; officers and gypsies relaxing after dinner. It is two months later. Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès sing and dance (“Les tringles des sistres tintaient”). Lillas Pastia is trying to get rid of the officers, so Zuniga invites Carmen and her friends to come with him to the theatre, but she can only think of José, who was demoted and has been in jail since letting her escape, and was released the day before. The sound of a procession hailing Escamillo passes by outside, and the toreador is invited in (“Vivat, vivat le Toréro”). Escamillo sings the Toreador song (“Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre”), and flirts with Carmen, but Carmen tells him that for the time being he need not dream of being hers. When everyone except Carmen, Frasquita and Mercédès have left, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado arrive and tell the girls of their plans to dispose of the contraband they have smuggled via Gibraltar (Quintet: “Nous avons en tête une affaire”). Carmen refuses to accompany them, saying to their amazement that she is in love. As José’s voice is heard (“Halte là!”), Dancaïre tells Carmen she must try to get Don José to join them. Alone together, José returns a gold coin Carmen had sent him in jail and she orders fruit and wine to be brought. Carmen vexes him with stories of her dancing for the officers but then dances with castanets for him alone (“Je vais danser en votre honneur…Lalala”). During her song the sound of bugles is heard calling the soldiers back to barracks. Carmen’s temper flares when José says he must leave, but he makes her listen by producing the flower she threw at him, which he kept while he was in prison and is proof of his love (the Flower Song – “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée”). Carmen is unmoved and asks him to join her gipsy life if he really loves her (“Non, tu ne m’aime pas”). Her picture of a life of freedom tempts him but he finally refuses saying he will never be a deserter. He begins to leave when Zuniga enters hoping to find Carmen. Don José draws his sword on his superior officer, but before they can fight the smugglers burst in and disarm both of them. Zuniga is made a prisoner (“Bel officier”) and José has no alternative but to flee with Carmen (“Suis-nous à travers la campagne”).
Act 3

A wild and deserted rocky place at night. The smugglers along with Carmen and José are travelling with the contraband (“Écoute, écoute, compagnons”), but Carmen has tired of José, and does not conceal this, taunting him to return to his village. Carmen, Frasquita and Mercédès read the cards (“Mêlons! Coupons!”): Frasquita and Mercédès foresee love and romance, wealth and luxury; but Carmen’s cards foretell death for both her and José (“En vain pour éviter les réponses amères”). The smugglers ask the girls to come and charm the customs officers (“Quant au douanier, c’est notre affaire”) and everyone goes off, leaving the jealous José to guard the goods. Micaëla arrives with a guide seeking José. She sends the guide away and vows to take Don José away from Carmen (“Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante”). She sees José firing a gun, and hides in the rocks. It was Escamillo whom José had fired at, but when he arrives José welcomes him, until he says he is infatuated with Carmen and tells José the story of her affair with a soldier, not realising José is that soldier. José challenges Escamillo to a knife-fight, but Escamillo fights defensively, infuriating José. They start again and José finds himself at the mercy of Escamillo who releases him, saying his trade is killing bulls, not men. The third time they fight Escamillo’s knife breaks, but he is saved by the return of the smugglers and Carmen (“Holà, holà José”). Escamillo leaves, but invites Carmen and the smugglers to his next bullfight in Seville. Remendado finds Micaëla hiding, and she tells José that his mother wishes to see him. Carmen mocks him and at first he refuses to go (“Non, je ne partirai pas!”), until Micaëla tells him that his mother is dying. Vowing that he will return to Carmen, he goes. As he is leaving, Escamillo is heard singing in the distance. Carmen rushes to the sound of his voice, but José bars her way.
Act 4

A square in front of the arena at Seville: the day of a bull-fight; bustling activity. It is the day of the contest to which Escamillo invited the smugglers. The square is full of people, with merchants and gipsies selling their wares (“À deux cuartos!”). Zuniga, Frasquita and Mercédès are among the crowd and the girls tell Zuniga that Carmen is now with Escamillo. The crowd and children sing and cheer on the procession as the cuadrilla arrive (“Les voici! voici la quadrille”). Carmen and Escamillo are greeted by the crowds and express their love, Carmen adding that she had never loved one so much (“Si tu m’aimes, Carmen”). After Escamillo has gone into the fight, Frasquita warns Carmen that José is in the crowd (“Carmen! Prends garde!), but Carmen scorns their fears. Before she can enter the arena she is confronted by the desperate José (“C’est toi! C’est moi!”). He begs her to return his love and start a new life with him far away. She calmly replies that she loves him no longer and will not give way – free she was born and free she will die. Cheers are heard from the bull-ring and Carmen tries to enter, but José bars her way. He asks her one last time to come back, but she scornfully throws back the ring that he gave to her (“Cette bague, autrefois”). He stabs her (“Eh bien, damnée”) and as Escamillo is acclaimed in the arena she dies.  DonJosé kneels in despair beside her. The spectators flock out of the arena and find José (“Ah! Carmen! ma Carmen adorée!”), confessing his guilt over her dead body.

Track List:

The Artists:

mp3, 320 kbps, cd ripping, 108:57 minutes
Covers & info included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3 —–   Part4