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Chausson : Le roi Arthus
 
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Chausson : Le roi Arthus

9 janvier 2007 | Format : MP3

EUR 13,99 (TVA incluse le cas échéant)
Également disponible en format CD

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Format: CD
Voici la version de référence de l'opéra du compositeur français Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) - "Le roi Arthus", ou Arthur -, dirigée de main de maître par le regretté Armin Jordan. Créée à La Monnaie (l'Opéra de Bruxelles) en 1903 - quelques années après la mort du compositeur -, proche esthétiquement d'un Debussy et influencée par le wagnérisme (on ne peut pas ne pas penser à "Tristan et Isolde"), cette oeuvre mériterait d'être connue et reconnue en France. L'équipe est ici largement francophone, ce qui est indispensable pour ce type de musique lyrique. Il y a pourtant l'exception du Lancelot chanté par le grand ténor suédois Gösta Winbergh. Les interprètes font globalement honneur à cette partition vraiment superbe. Puisse donc ce très bon enregistrement faire mieux connaître et apprécier cette musique d'une extrême qualité, à l'instar de celle(s) d'un Fauré, Lalo, d'Indy et de quelques autres encore... !
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Format: CD
La grande oeuvre de Chausson l'occupa pendant dix ans, le compositeur se chargeant lui-même du livret. C'est dire son implication dans un projet qui parle certainement beaucoup de lui. Si l'influence de Wagner est manifeste, notamment celle de Tristan et Isolde, l'amour que se vouent Lancelot et Genièvre étant tout ausi exhalté, Chausson s'en démarque sur le fond avec l'émergence in fine du Roi Arthus comme figure principale, habité par une forme d'idéal chevaleresque désenchanté face au manque de vertus des hommes, un esprit certainement partagé par le compositeur.
Il faut un acte à Chausson pour trouver la bonne respiration et le rayonnement spirituel mais ensuite que de beautés! Rien n'est gratuit dans cette musique travaillée et exigeante dont il faut pouvoir dépasser quelques longueurs pour se laisser gagner par un monde lointain qui nous élève peu à peu jusqu'à un tableau final à l'onirisme prenant, sorte d'assomption du roi...
La distribution est dominée par la magnifique Zylis-Gara, dont les accents enchanteurs évoquent furtivement Dalila, et Gino Quilico, Arthus d'une grande distinction. Le tout nouvellement créé philarmonique de radio France est encore un peu vert mais Armin Jordan, très à l'aise dans ce romantisme crépusculaire, sait en obtenir ferveur et engagement.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x96decc90) étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96712b70) étoiles sur 5 Wagner's French Opera 13 janvier 2008
Par Leo J. Wolansky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
For all of you Wagnerites who wished the maestro had written one more opera in his later years, your dream has come true...well almost. Ernest Chausson's "Le Roi Arthus" is the closest thing to a Wagner opera as you'll find. Apparently Chausson idolized Wagner and his music. According to the liner notes by John Underwood, after a trip to hear "The Ring", Chausson happened to catch a glimpse of Wagner and for the rest of his life cherished the image of Wagner's "noble head". Needless to say the music of Chausson's only opera reflects the influence of Wagner throughout--in the harmonies, the deceptive cadences, and the primary importance of the orchestra. This is not to say that the work is plagiarism. Chausson is writing in Wagner's musical language. It is only because Wagner's musical language was so revolutionary that anyone using it would sound like an imitator. In fact, Debussy, Chausson's friend, criticized the opera for being too Wagnerian and made several musical suggestions to Chausson, which he incorporated, so that when Debussy's "Pelleas" was completed, there were some passages in common with "Arthus".

Apart from the overture and finale, which are somewhat corny, the opera is fabulous. The love duet/scene at the end of act one between Lancelot and Guenievre (French for Guinevere) is stunning. It is for this scene specifically that this Armin Jordan "Arthus" is strongly recommended over the Leon Botstein recording. Teresa Zylis-Gara was in her prime and has a rich sumptuous sound from each hair-raising forte to each delicate pianissimo. Susan Bullock's portrayal on the Botstein recording demonstrates good musicality but the overall performance is flawed by her vibrato, which is often unacceptably slow. Gosta Winbergh's Lancelot is very good. His voice blends well with Zylis-Gara's. Gino Quilico is very effective as Arthus. This is particularly true of his Act 2 soliloquy where he laments his suspicions of Lancelot. Complemented by the beautiful orchestral support, his sensitive interpretation is most evocative. Comparing again with the Botstein recording, it must be admitted that Simon O'Neill as Lancelot and Andrew Schroeder are also solid. Gilles Cachemaille on this recording is superb as Merlin, better than Francois Le Roux of Botstein's recording.

The opera is filled with haunting orchestral passages such as the introduction to Act 1 Scene 2 which preceded the soliloquy of Lyonnel, Lancelot's loyal friend who keeps watch with trepidation as Lancelot has his rendezvous with Guenievre. Vocally, Gerard Friedmann, the Lyonnel of this recording is not quite at the level of Botstein's Garret Sorenson, although both are able to convey the beauty of the music. Another orchestral gem is the Prelude to Act 2, which is performed magnificently on both recordings. This is followed by the song of the ploughman / laboureur. While Thierry Dran, the laboureur on this recording is very good vocally, the slow tempo taken by Andrew Kennedy on the Botstein recording better maintains the contemplative, mournful mood.

One technical shortcoming, this recording of Arthus only has one track on the CD per each act, making it better to navigate on an iPod than an average CD player if you want to skip the pompous overture.

In conclusion, if you wish that Wagner had written another opera along the lines of Parsifal and Tristan (with a hint of impressionism) you need to buy this CD. If this recording is unavailable then get another recording like that of Botstein and wait for this one to reappear.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96712ac8) étoiles sur 5 Good recording, good opera. 29 mai 2010
Par Jerry Seattle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD Achat vérifié
Well-recorded, well-performed recording of an opera that deserves to be better-known. The work is clearly influenced by Tristan und Isolde, which Chausson had recently seen, but Arthur (baritone) is the central character, and he dominates the first and third acts. Guinevere and Lancelot get their love music in the second act. The music is powerful and beautifully orchestrated, but doesn't have the unforgettable theme that Wagner came up with. Quilico is quite impressive in the title role.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96702c30) étoiles sur 5 Fin de siècle Wagnerian epic 5 octobre 2012
Par Ralph Moore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: CD
I have been listening of late to two somewhat rare French operas from the late 19C, both of which share a Wagnerian harmonic and even thematic musical language: this and Magnard's "Guercoeur". I have to say that I find Chausson's opera the more entertaining, though neither quite lives up to being invariably absorbing for me and I cannot be quite as enthusiastic as some previous previewers.

In some ways, despite the excellence of the cast, the most striking passages are the purely instrumental preludes and interludes, which are highly atmospheric and evocative without being especially memorable melodically speaking. Overlaying the Wagnerian substructure - which even includes appearances of the "Tristan chord", there is frequent evidence of Debussy's specific, practical influence over the score but it never quite assumes the unique, translucent colouring of "Pelléas et Mélisande", remaining rooted in a more conventional Romantic world, both in terms of the music and the plot firmly based on Arthurian legend. Chausson was an avid reader of Celtic legend and concocted his own, sometimes slightly gauche libretto in which he depicts the lovers, Lancelot and "Genièvre" as faintly distasteful, their love being rather more tainted by a deviousness and selfishness, without the redeeming intensity which ennobles the love of Tristan and Isolde.

Parallels with that greater opera are many and they are not just musical. In many ways, the quality of the opera improves as it progresses and there is much in Act 3 which is highly effective, such as Guinevere's final scene in which she commits suicide by strangling herself with her own hair (a macabre, ironic twist - as it were - on an idea reminiscent of Mélisande).

The singing, playing and Jordan's conducting are first class. I am especially impressed by the power and noble beauty of Gino Quilico's baritone as Arthus, Teresa Zylis-Gara is pure, flexible and intense as the adulterous queen, Winbergh, despite occasionally unidiomatic French, is beefy and impassioned as Lancelot while Gilles Cachemaille, in his earlier days when he was more bass than baritone, puts in a very effective cameo appearance as Merlin. The smaller roles, often again reminiscent of Kurwenal, the Shepherd and the supporting parts in Berlioz's "Les Troyens" like Hylas and Iopas with their little showpiece arias, are mostly beautifully sung by such as Thierry Dran as the Ploughman and René Massis as Mordred (who plays a role in the plot equivalent to that of Melot in "Tristan"), although a more mellifluous tenor than that belonging to Gérard Friedmann would have made more of Lyonnel (a combined Kurwenal-Brangäne function).

Chausson laboured and agonised over this opera and I would like to think that greater acquaintance with its music will deepen my appreciation of it. Perhaps it merits a revival given the evident mastery of its craft and the coherence and appeal of its subject; meanwhile we are unlikely to get better advocacy of its merits on disc.
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