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French Arias


Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 1 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000058B1Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #94,997 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Maitre Pathelin: Act 1. Romance: Je Pense A Vous
2. Le Cid: Act 3: Ah! Tout Est Bien Fini!... O Souverain, O Juge, O Pere
3. Les Abencerages: Act 2. Recitatif Et Air: Suspendez A Ces Murs... J'ai Vu Disparaitre L'espoir
4. Mireille: Act 3. Cavatine: Mon Coeur Est Plein D'un Noir Souci... Anges Du Paradis
5. L'Amant Jaloux: Act 2. Ser: Tandis Que Tout Sommeille
6. La Juive: Act 4. Air: Rachel, Quand Du Seigneur
7. Mignon: Act 3. Romance: Elle Ne Croyait Pas, Dans Sa Candeur Naive
8. L'Africaine: Act 4: Pays Merveilleux
9. La Damnation De Faust: Part 4, Scene XVI. Invocation A La Nature: Nature Immense
10. Iphigenie En Tauride: Act 2. Recitatif Et Air: Quel Langage Accablant... Unis Des La Plus Tendre...
11. Les Pecheurs De Perles: Act 1. Recitatif Et Romance: A Cette Voix Quel Trouble Agitait Tout Mon...
12. Le Roi D'ys: Act 3. Puisqu'on Ne Peut Flechir... Vainement, Ma Bien-aimee
13. Joseph: Act 1. Recitatif Et Air: Vainement Pharaon Dans Sa Reconnaissance... Champs Paternals
14. Samson Et Dalila: Act 3: Vois Ma Misere, Helas!
15. L'Attaque Du Moulin: Act 2: Le Jour Tombe, La Nuit Va Bercer Les Grands Chenes

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Roberto Alagna is without peer among contemporary tenors in the French repertory, as this excellent collection of staples, sprinkled with rarities, demonstrates. He has the right blend of sweetness for the lyric selections and exciting vocal heft for those requiring more muscle. If one must find something to carp at, it's the tenor's occasional tendency to slip into an inappropriate Italianate verismo style. Examples of the "sweet" Alagna are his gorgeous floating soft ending to "Je crois entendre encore," from Bizet's The Pearlfishers, and the lovely head voice in the Lalo aria. His "Rachel, quand du Seigneur," a favorite of tenors from Caruso to Richard Tucker, is taken at a sluggish tempo, but it has the requisite vocal finish and characterization. And Alagna creates the necessary sense of wonder in the opening of "Pays merveilleux," from Meyerbeer's L'Africaine. The Bruneau selection that closes the disc is a welcome rescue of a lovely farewell-to-life aria from a long-forgotten late-Romantic opera. Unlike most collections done with a generalized, one-size-fits-all approach, Alagna's finds him almost always in character. Bertrand De Billy's accompaniments are sometimes too restrained (the orchestral introduction to the Bizet aria is downright sleepy), but that shouldn't keep admirers of French opera and world-class singing from grabbing this disc. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By A Customer on Feb. 13 2003
Format: Audio CD
Roberto Alagna has the makings of a great French tenor. He has the style and diction down pat. This CD shows off his tenor to great effect. I especially liked the rare selections that were included. There is some wonderful French music on this disc.
Alagna is given great support by conductor Bertrand de Billy and the Royal Opera House Orchestra of Covent Garden. The sound is excellent. This disc was finely produced. On to the review.
Alagna's voice has a scratchy edge to it that gives character to his otherwise rough timbre. His voice is not ugly, but it is not the typical sweet voice of a French tenor. His voice grows on you. His voice also has some dramatic heft to it. He is best in the arias that require some dramatic heft, but not a whole lot. He is totally committed dramatically to the music that he sings. The aria from "Joseph" and the one from "Le Cid" are two great examples. He sings the famous aria from "La Juive" very well. However, on some of the arias, he tends to use too much unnecessary drama. The editorial reviewer was correct in saying that Alagna has a tendency to slip into inappropriate Italian verismo style. Alagna's rendition of the aria from "Samson et Dalila" is not that good. That aria is probably too heavy for his voice. The timbre of his voice takes on an unattractive edge when he sings that aria. Alagna sings the delightful Sérénade from "L'Amant Jaloux" very well with lovely pianissimos. However, it seems that he is a bit rough in his delivery of some of the words. By rough delivery, I mean the use of too much emotion. This charming piece is probably not suited to a relatively heavy voice like his. Also, the exquisite aria from "Le Roi d'Ys" suffers from rough delivery of some of the words.
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Format: Audio CD
Roberto Alagna is probably the greatest tenor to come from France since Georges Thill, widely considered to have been the greatest French tenor of the 20th century. This is unquestionably Alagna's best solo album, the equal of his astonishing work in Werther. All of his virtues are amply displayed here: a splendid voice, directness and honesty of expression, superb diction in his native French, intelligence, imagination, complete and utter immersion in character, and the ability to make each word he sings mean something. Throughout the disc we hear nobility and sweetness, elegance and passion, tenderness and pain, even charm and humor. This is not merely a 'stud', but a great artist in the service of music.
Most important of all is Alagna's questing spirit. While some superstar singers barely change or add to their repertory over decades of performing, Alagna is eager to mine the rich lode of French repertory (of which we only know a few nuggets) and bring otherwise unknown or forgotten works to a new public. Some of these arias haven't been recorded in at least 60 and even almost 80 years. In fact, so rarely performed are they that the ROH Orchestra had to borrow the orchestral parts for two arias from the Orchestre de Paris!
Since his career began Alagna's voice has grown in drama and power with little loss to the basic lyric quality of his instrument. He does so well with the more dramatic selections not only because of his great skill as a vocal actor, but also because he actually sings the arias beautifully and lyrically instead of just belting them. He is strongest when he can combine heroism with introspection, as in the arias from 'Samson et Dalila', 'Le Cid', and especially 'La Juive', where he perfectly embodies the inner conflicts of these three very different religious men.
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By A Customer on May 22 2001
Format: Audio CD
I generally liked this recording because it presents much unfamiliar material (Mehul, Bruneau) combined with Mr. Alagna's excellent diction. However, after I unwrapped the CD, I immediately compared his singing of "Je crois entendre encore" with Jussi Bjorling and found it lacking. Bjorling lets you feel the melancholy of what the character had and lost. He is obviously reliving his memories. The pianissimo at the end is truly haunting. Mr. Alagna's soft notes seem almost mechanically manufactured.and sometimes border on the unpleasant. He was best in those pieces that required more spinto sound (the selections from Samson et Dalila and Le Cid, for example). I would recommend this recording if only for the unfamiliarity of much of the material.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is among the best I ever heard. Alagna's beautiful tenor tone is truly amazing throughout the CD and his perfect French diction is very enjoyable. After listening mr. Alagna's French I prefer him to anyone else I've heard singing this repertoire. IMO the loveliest songs are "Je pense à vous" with the easy high C# and the light "Vainement, ma bien-aimée". I think the arias from Le Cid and Samson are a bit too heavy for him, but however, he sings them with the great interpretative power. It's possible that he uses a little too much pianissimo in the Bizet aria, but on the other hand that's where I think his voice is at its best. Nothing can take the fifth star away! This CD will be with me anywhere I go...
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