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Berlioz:  Béatrice et Bénédict
Susan Graham, Jean-Luc Viala, Choeur & Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon
Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #2


     
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CD Details

All Artists: Susan Graham, Jean-Luc Viala, Choeur & Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon
Title: Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Erato Musifrance
Release Date: 5/5/1992
Album Type: Import, Box set
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 022924577321
 

CD Reviews

First-Rate Truly Complete Version of Berlioz Delight
Nicholas A. Deutsch | New York, NY USA | 10/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Shakespeare's plays had a profound and lasting effect on Hector Berlioz & his music: 2 major works, the dramatic symphony "Romeo et Juliette" & his last opera, "Beatrice et Benedict," as well as several shorter pieces. "B&B" has been described as "'Much Ado About Nothing' without the ado" -- & indeed Berlioz (who wrote his own libretto, both lyrics & spoken dialogue) eliminated the central intrigue around Hero & Claudio (who become minor characters) & concentrated instead on the battle of wits & evolving love between the volatile title characters. But it's the music rather than the plot that gives this work its irresistible charm & magic: "a caprice written with the fine point of a needle" was the composer's description (I believe), epitomized by the effervescent overture which remained in the repertoire even as the opera suffered neglect, at least until recent years.
We've now had 5 "complete" recordings on CD: that conducted by Daniel Barenboim, not currently available; no less than 3 conducted by Colin Davis; & this fine version from John Nelson, an outstanding Berlioz interpreter. And this is actually the only truly complete version, with ALL the dialogue (spoken largely by acting "doubles" which works better than in most such cases); Davis #1 & #3 have only the musical numbers, Davis #2 (with Janet Baker, etc.) has severely abridged dialogue performed by the singers, & Barenboim uses a narrator. So if you want to hear what Berlioz really intended -- & I recommend that you do -- this is your choice. Fortunately, it's an excellent ensemble effort, with outstanding women, including the young Susan Graham as Beatrice, & fine playing & choral work. Everyone seems to have gotten the scale of the work just right: not inflated to grand opera proportions, but not undercast or trivialized in any way. A fine achievement."
Near to Mozart
Santiago Barcon | Mexico city | 08/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A fantastic recording that I got due to a friend recomendation.It has several facets of Mozart, but handled in a french and particular way. This is Berlioz at his best and the singing of Graham is perfect. The recording is, as with Erato, clear and focused. The french diction is excellent, since they are several dialogues Highly recommended"
A must for Berlioz devotees
M. Astwood | Houston, TX USA | 05/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This has become my favorite opera recording. First of all, the quality of the recording is superb. Second, the performance itself, in all respects, is truly outstanding.
For many years, my only acquaintance with this work was the old Colin Davis recording on L'Oiseau-Lyre (1963!), which included none of the dialogue. Then, last fall, I was fortunate enough to see the Houston Grand Opera presentation of the Opera Australia production. While in many respects this was an excellent performance, I felt the staging of the show was rather slow in spots.
This Nelson recording, with its inclusion of all the original dialogue and taut performance, really brings Berlioz' final work to life. The pacing is great, and one can understand the work as a whole. It also makes it easy to understand why the opera was so well-received when Berlioz premiered it in 1862.
Once again, a really well-paced performance, with nothing overdone. Highly recommended."