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Description du produit
Jessye Norman et Placido Domingo réunis pour le Chef-d'oeuvre de Berlioz Les Troyens représentent pour Berlioz la somme de toute sa carrière artistique et son oeuvre la plus développée. Voici une production grandiose, filmée au Met en 1983 par Brian Large. Dirigées par James Levine à la tête de l'Orchestre du Metropolitan Opera de New York, les deux plus grandes voix du moment, Jessye Norman et Placido Domingo, nous offrent une performance inoubliable, dans de somptueux décors et costumes. Un must.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
And by all means this is not to lose sight of the singing by Troyanos, Norman and Domingo which is spectacular.
If one might quibble it would be with the filming which was clearly an afterthought.
I bought the disk for Jessye, but I cannot stop thinking about Tatiyana.
(BTW - there is a CD of a radio broadcast whereJessye sings BOTH Cassandre and Dido -- it is definitely worth procuring.)
TROYENS, Berlioz's ambitious and comprehensive setting of Virgil's AENEID, is a challenging opera for theaters and audiences alike. It had made its belated Met debut in 1974 under the baton of its great champion Maestro Rafael Kubelik, and was chosen to inaugurate the theater's centennial season in the fall of 1983. For more than one reason, we are fortunate that a television broadcast from the run preserved the undertaking for posterity. For starters, there will never be a great abundance of recordings of TROYENS (although there are at present two other DVD versions), and the lead roles on this one reflect luxury casting at the most extravagant level. Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos, and Plácido Domingo provide (literally) hours of ravishingly beautiful singing, and they are not simply empty-headed generators of pretty tone. They are all diligent and sophisticated musicians, and their work here has that rare frisson one encounters when singers of the first rank, at the peak of their capabilities, are seen and heard measuring themselves against roles in which they have not settled into a comfortable routine. There is the electricity of the special occasion, so rare in operatic videos.
This brings me to a second major reason to be grateful this exists: our supertenor did not keep Enée in his vast repertoire for long. This was the one and only production in which he sang it; no studio recording exists; and the high tessitura of the role was such a source of anxiety and second thoughts for him that he asked a few months before opening night to be released from his contract. Ever the professional, he stipulated that if no suitable replacement could be found, he would give the role his all, not least out of loyalty to Maestro Levine. Presumably no such replacement could be found in time. I would not be able to blame the Met administration if it only conducted a halfhearted search. TROYENS was not an easy sell in 1983 (and is little easier today); its conspicuous scheduling on opening night must have loomed large on the calendar; and I imagine the Met staff was collectively ulcerating at the thought of losing Domingo's marquee value for such a prestigious event. Whatever the case, he did end up singing the prima and the broadcast before withdrawing. His reviews were mostly very good, but he has admitted (in his book MY OPERATIC ROLES) to having some divo's wounded feelings about the carping of a vocal minority that he had transposed down a small portion of the tenor's music (what amounted to about eight pages in a score as long as TRISTAN, as one defender put it), after all the hard work and worry he had put into his Enée. He vowed never to touch the role again. With benefit of hindsight, he now thinks of the performance as a great career triumph, in large part because of his and Troyanos's performance of the love duet in Act IV. And he is right -- they are mesmerizing in what is without doubt the high point of a lengthy and varied score.
Troyanos, with stiff competition, all but runs away with the evening; her regal yet sympathetic Didon, with pride and pathos in exquisite balance, gains easy admission to the short list of the finest performances in my audio-plus-video library. Her performance is as impressive qua acting as it is qua vocalism. Jessye Norman is more of a temperamental match for Didon than for the role she sings, Cassandre, and she has given more subtle performances, but there is no gainsaying her intensity. With the full weight of that blockbuster voice behind Cassandre's volcanic, wild-eyed agitations in the first two acts, you wonder how this character's prophecies ever could be ignored.
With such a commanding trio at the top of the order, it is only a mild disappointment that the bench proves not so deep. Assorted "major-minor" roles are no more than adequately filled. Allan Monk's Chorèbe is the best of them -- my initial impression was that he was simply not up to Norman's scale in their duet early on (a tall order, admittedly; in her 1983 form, she would have knocked flat most baritones); but on closer inspection, one can divine shadings to what he does, and the instrument itself is of good quality. Later, however, we encounter a yelpy, pinched Iopas (his lovely solo goes for little), a slightly woolly Narbal, and an Anna who poses no risk of steering one's attention away from the Didon.
Both the production and the musical leadership are marked by good sense, lucidity, and a faith and trust in Berlioz's score. The design makes use of a simple revolving stage in a series of stark, methodical tableaux that constantly direct the viewer to the humanizing efforts of the singing actors, rather than to lavish appointments. The effect is pleasingly...well, spartan. Conductor Levine, who often seems to be passing off lethargy as profundity in Wagner, and tends toward an empty, featureless efficiency in much Italian standard rep (especially early-to-middle Verdi), puts his formidable smarts to good use here. Berlioz's overgrown problem child emerges as more unified than it has elsewhere in my experience -- the two Trojan acts are unusually convincing; the three musically stronger Carthaginian ones that follow seem to join them as part of an organic whole. Levine does particularly well by "big" passages (of which there are many); the orchestral climaxes and massed choral business have weight and power but also a fine sense of order to them. The music never sounds like spectacle and noise for its own sake; it has inevitability, grandeur. The avoidance of autopilot extends even to the conducting of the ballet sequences (of which, again, there are many; this will please or annoy, to taste, and you know who you are). It nearly goes without saying that Levine's orchestra and chorus are spectacular, surely far advanced from what Kubelik had had nine years earlier.
It would be a shame if this got lost in the shuffle of highly professional/competent modern Met runthroughs on DVD, for it is a TROYENS that deserves to be seen and considered by listeners at all levels of familiarity: those already under the work's spell, those who know it and remain skeptical, and those coming new to it. For the last-named group, I can imagine no better introduction.
What a pleasure to see this somewhat shortened production - it still runs up to 4 hours - not only with a perfect cast of principals but also secondary characters - even non-singing ones - clearly put in relief and thereby presenting a clear, total picture and story. They so often get totally lost in other productions where one wonders where these people, mentioned in the opera, actually could be found.
I don't have to praise the principal singers: Jessye Norman, Tatiana Troyanos and Placido Domingo do not need my encomium. It is so gratifying to see the young Domingo who for valid vocal reasons never sang this opera again. So I am very thankful for this very special treat.