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Le Grand Macabre [Import allemand] Coffret, Double CD, Import
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Description du produit
Description du produit
Zu den wenigen jüngeren Opern, die es erfolgreich ins Repertoire geschafft haben, gehört zweifellos "Le Grand Macabre" von György Ligeti, einem der wichtigsten Komponisten des 20. Jahrhunderts. Ursprünglich entstanden in den 1970er Jahren, hat Ligeti das Stück voller komisch-absurder Szenen zwanzig Jahre später für Aufführungen in Paris überarbeitet. In der dazu produzierten Referenzaufnahme leitet Stardirigent Esa-Pekka Salonen das Philharmonia Orchestra. Zu den prominenten Sängern gehören Jard van Nes, Derek Lee Ragin, Willard White und Charlotte Hellekant. In AUDIO hieß es: "Echt irre, was der Avantgarde-Senior in diesem Geniestück zusammengebraut hat: eine freche Collage aus Comic und Slapstick, abgeschmeckt mit Sarkasmen und vibrierenden rhythmischen Modellen."
Créé en 1978, cet opéra adapté de La Balade du Grand Macabre de Michel de Ghelderode constitue l'un des sommets de l'oeuvre de Gyorgy Ligeti. Le compositeur y déploie en effet les multiples facettes de son écriture orchestrale et vocale pour exprimer la vision à la fois funèbre, burlesque et dérisoire d'un monde en proie à la folie, au mensonge et à l'illusion. Le titre renvoie directement à une peinture de Breughel dont Ligeti actualise, par-delà les siècles, la verve et l'ironie grinçante. -- Michel Marmin
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Ligeti was one of the significant advanced composers of his time, and his work is what is of importance here. The Hungarian master had somewhat moved away from the clustered magnificence of the scores that brought him to international prominence, as heard in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968). In "Le grand macabre," first heard in 1978, he makes use of quotation and pastiche. As with any pastiche, certain passages are thrilling, some less so. In the final half-hour, we hear more of the great Ligeti, in the apocalyptic sections of the opera.
This recording of Ligeti's 1997 revision of the piece is of Peter Sellars' Salzburg Festival production, when it was seen at the Théâtre du Châtelet, in Paris. With Esa-Pekka Salonen's exemplary conducting, the magnificent cast includes Sibylle Ehlert, Laura Claycomb, Charlotte Hellekant, Jard van Nes, Derek Lee Ragin, Graham Clark, Steven Cole, Richard Suart, Sir Willard White, and Frode Olsen.
Derek Lee Ragin is arguably the greatest of counter-tenors, and he makes a sensational appearance as Prince Go-Go, his unique voice rising above the musical complexity. His was the definitive portrayal of Gluck's Orpheus, and, appropriate for his fame as a singer of the most challenging scores of the Baroque, the Prince's lines are heralded by harpsichord.
Sony's recording, reissued in 2017, is a revelation and a triumph.
What doesn't come up much in the other reviews is just how funny this opera is. It's a dark, dark comedy--some people just don't get dark comedy--but a comedy it is. The language, in translation, is often coarse and rough-hewn, but it's an accurately sharpened version of the way a lot of people speak. The music is in places slapstick but in other places is truly sublime. It has been pointed out that there's not much respect for authority figures in this opera. That's OK with me.
Ligeti spent a lot of time reworking this piece, removing impracticalities in performance and instrumentation. He ended up with a cohesive, hilarious whole. There are some real challenges for the singers, but I don't hear a weak voice in the entire performance. I find it quite listenable on its own. Readers on the the East coast will have an opportunity to see the Met perform this in the 2009-2010 season. I'm jealous.
I should also point out that Ligeti extracted a short suite from this opera that's available here as well as on a couple of other CDs. The suite itself is available in two forms--one with trumpet and one with soprano. The suite got me interested in the opera and it may serve as a stepping stone for others.
But then I got the Wergo version (live in 1987), and was not so impressed. Most of it, I understood, was due to the interpretation, which was too slow in spots for my tastes, but it also sounded distracted in the arrangement. It was hard to keep your eye on the goal with all the extended slapstick and farce going on.
Now comes this new version, edited and revised by Ligeti himself in 1997. And what a difference it makes. It is in English this time, but you'll still need the libretto, as some of the sung parts are just not understandable anyway (mostly the high register parts). However, the energy on this is just fantastic. It kicks and pops right from the start, and rarely lets up. The end section is much better done, providing a more logical and appropriate ending for the piece. Ligeti has abandoned the half-opera half-play aspect of it, opting this time for more opera, and it works beautifully. The opera has been cut from two hours in its original version to a more compact hour and 3/4, but you'll never miss the sections that are gone.
The only complaint I have is that Sibylle Ehlert seems to struggle unduly with her part as Gepopo; I can only imagine that, since this is a live recording (you can hear the audience laugh audibly during certain sections), running around and gesticulating wildly interferes with her ability to sing the passages as smoothly as the rest of the cast. She does the honors of repeating most of the performance on Sony's Ligeti Edition #4 in a variation of Gepopo's announcements, and does a stunning job there. Her performance issues do not interfere with the enjoyment of the piece; she still brings the energy.
The plot is a little loopy, and it's hard to discern a lot of coherence in it, but it's still fun. Death arrives in the personage of Nekrotzar to the little run-down hamburg of Breughelland. He ensnares the village drunk as his slave, and announces that he intends to destroy Breughelland at midnight. Along the way, we meet the two lovers who start and end the opera (and are completely oblivious to the fact that anything has occurred), Astradomors (the court astrologist) and his dominatrix wife Mescalina, Venus (not sure what her function is here, but it's a pretty part), and Prince Go-Go and his completely disfunctional cabinet. Nekrotzar storms into Prince Go-Go's audience, making lots of loud and pretentious pronouncements about destroying them all, gets really drunk, passes out and blows his opportunity to fulfill his mission (we assume, anyway; no one seems to have died by the end of the piece except after the proposed deluge by Nekrotzar has come and gone). The whole piece may be an attempt to point out the absurdity being consumed with the thought of death, but that's certainly going to be up to interpretation. In the end, Nekrotzar bubbles away to nothing, while most of the political factions involved in the farce tear each other to shreds.
Ligeti's use of instrumentation is, as always, innovative, and works as a whole. There are passages in here that are classic Ligeti, and with the new recording, it's so much easier to hear the subtlety of the arrangement. Kudos to Salonen for a fine job of balancing all the sections and keeping everything together; it can a difficult piece both to perform and to listen to, but this version makes it a pleasurable and enjoyable treat.
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