No. I. Introduction: Teresa! Mais Ou Peut-Elle Etre?
Air: Ne Regardez Jamais La Lune
No. 2. Choeur Des Masques: Enfin Il Est Sorti
No. 3a. Recit Et Romance: Les Belles Fleurs!
Romance: Ah! Que L'amour Une Fois Dans Le Coeur
Heureuse Celle A Qui Jamais L'amour
No. 4. Trio: Cellini!
O Mon Bonheur, Vous Que J'aime
Ah! Mourir, Chere Belle
No. 5. Recitatif: Ceil! Nous Sommes Perdus
No. 6. Final: A Nous, Voisines Et Servantes!
Ah, Maitre Drole!
No. 8. Scene Et Choeur: A Boire, A Boire!
Chant Des Ciseleurs: Si La Terre Aux Beaux Jours Se Couronne
Amis, Avant Qu'on Recommence
Air (Ascanio): Cette Somme T'est Due
Ecoutez, Tout A L'heure
No. 9. Recitatif: C'est Trop Fort!
No. 10. Air: Ah! Qui Pourrait Me Resister?
No. 11. Recitatif: Viens, Le Temps Passe
Track Listings (23) - Disc #2
No. 12. Final: Vous Voyez, J'espere
Venez, Venez, Peuple De Rome
Ah! Ah! Bravo!
Pantomime Du Roi Midas: Voici Maitre Arlequin
Ariette D'Arlequin: Regardons Bien Maitre Arlequin
Cavatine De Pierrot: Il Plait Fort
Viens, Pas A Pas
Assassiner Un Capucin
Ah! Cher Canon/Maudit Canon Du Fort Saint-Ange
No. 13. Entracte & Scene
Ah! Qu'est-il Devenu?
No. 14. Priere: Rosa Purpurea
No. 15. Recit: Teresa! Ma Dague En Main
No. 16. Duo: Ah! Le Ciel, Cher Epoux
Quand Des Sommets
No. 17. Recit: Ah! Maitre!
No. 18. Quintette: Ah! Je Te Trouve Enfin
No. 19. Sextuor: Le Pape Ici!
Justice A Nous, Seigneur Et Maitre!
Dieu! Sur Ma Tete En Ce Moment
Ah! Ca Demon!
No. 20. Final: Ah! Maintenant De Sa Folle Impudence
Track Listings (19) - Disc #3
No. 21. Entracte
No. 22. Air: Mais, Qu'ai-je Donc?
No. 23. Recit Et Air: Seul Pour Lutter
Sur Les Monts Les Plus Sauvages
No. 24. Choeur: Bienheureux Les Matelots
No. 25. Scene: Vite, Au Travail, Sans Plus Attendre!
Quel Contretemps! Vite, Allons, Ma Rapiere!
No. 26. Choeur: Peuple Ouvrier
No. 27. Scene Et Choeur: Ah! Ciel! Il Est Mort!
No. 28. Choeur: A L'atelier!
No. 29. Recitatif: Ah! Le Calme Renait
No. 30. Scene: Teresa! Teresa Ici!
No. 31. Final: Du Metal! Il Nous Faut Du Metal!
Seigneur, Use De Ton Pouvoir
Allons! Vivat! Faites-moi Place
Entre L'amour Et Le Devoir
Quand J'aurai Votre Age
Une Heure Encore
La Gloire Etait Ma Seule Idole
This recording presents--almost--Berlioz's original thoughts on this very complicated opera (which went through more than a dozen versions, with additions and subtractions, in the composer's lifetime), although conductor J... more »ohn Nelson also adds an aria or two Berlioz later added, making it somewhat different from the version recorded by Philips under Sir Colin Davis a little over 30 years ago. If I had to choose one of these two superb performances, it would be this: the opera's odd rhythms are more strongly underlined by Nelson, the whole work seems more lively, and the comic moments are genuinely funny. And the singing is superb, with Patrizia Ciofi a simply great, light-toned Teresa, Gregory Kunde tackling the title role and singing as impressively as Gedda did for Davis, and Joyce di Donato singing Ascanio's music as well as you'll ever hear it. The darker-voiced roles are equally well taken, with Laurent Naouri's Balducci particularly vivid. The orchestral playing, choral singing, and ensemble work and sonics are first rate. This is a superb recording, presenting Berlioz's odd masterwork brilliantly. --Robert Levine« less
This recording presents--almost--Berlioz's original thoughts on this very complicated opera (which went through more than a dozen versions, with additions and subtractions, in the composer's lifetime), although conductor John Nelson also adds an aria or two Berlioz later added, making it somewhat different from the version recorded by Philips under Sir Colin Davis a little over 30 years ago. If I had to choose one of these two superb performances, it would be this: the opera's odd rhythms are more strongly underlined by Nelson, the whole work seems more lively, and the comic moments are genuinely funny. And the singing is superb, with Patrizia Ciofi a simply great, light-toned Teresa, Gregory Kunde tackling the title role and singing as impressively as Gedda did for Davis, and Joyce di Donato singing Ascanio's music as well as you'll ever hear it. The darker-voiced roles are equally well taken, with Laurent Naouri's Balducci particularly vivid. The orchestral playing, choral singing, and ensemble work and sonics are first rate. This is a superb recording, presenting Berlioz's odd masterwork brilliantly. --Robert Levine
"Berlioz' Benvennuto Cellini was a critical and commercial failure in its day, and even the later revision was not greated with much enthusiasm. It lay unperformed for decades, until 1972. This latest version uses the original Paris Opera version, restoring lots of great music to the revised version. This opera has wonderful orchestral music as well as great arias and marvelous choruses, and conductor John Nelson brings out the best in all his artists--particularly necessary here, as this opera requires an extremely high degree of technical expertise from singers, chorus and orchestra alike. American tenor Gregory Kunde does a first-class job with the high and ardent title role, (although his French is not as good as Nicolai Gedda's, who recorded the role in 1972). The rest of the cast is excellent, (and being French, lend an authenticity to the performance that more than makes up for any linguistic lapses by the lead character.) My only minor complaint is that the sound mix emphasizes the orchestra a little too much at the expense of the singers--however, as this is an opera in which the orchestra is as much a partner as any of the singers, that's not too great a fault. It belongs in any opera-lovers collection."
Great recording of an underated masterpiece!
D. J. Edwards | Cheshire, CT United States | 10/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The subtleties and complexities of this score have worked against the performance of this opera from its very conception. As a consequence, there are several versions of this score. So it is fortunate that we now have Benvenuto Cellini more or less as Berlioz himself conceived it. I think it is a very beautiful score and only one other recording has been tried in the studio, that on Philips with Colin Davis. To him is due all credit and highest honors for his pioneering effort with this opera, Nelson is the second conductor to take on this work in the studio and does so without any apologies as this performance is stunning. There have been very mixed reviews on this recording. Gregory Kunde is just about Gedda's equal. His tone is sweet, strong, full and agile. I don't hear the strain or unpleasant tone quality that some have complained about. Joyce di Donato as Ascanio sings with glorious tone and interpretation. She makes her music greater than it might be in lesser hands. She is superior to Berbie on Davis' recording. All the other roles are very well sung and equal to their predecessors on the Davis release. On hearing the orchestration played at its intended tempo, one can understand how the singers of the premiere must have been overwhelmed by its demands. They were apparently inadequate to start with. But Berlioz's demands are surmountable as Davis convincingly proved and now Nelson proves beyond any doubt. The role of Teresa seems to be a difficult role to fill. I never much cared for Eda-Pierre in the 1st recording and although Ciofi is an improvement, I would prefer a soprano with a richer timber and steadier voice. In duets and ensembles she does hold her own rather well. The sound is excellent and this belongs on the shelf next to Colin Davis. Personal taste will dictate the order on that shelf. At least listen to it. It deserves the attention of all berlioz fans."
Cellini for the Ages
Samuel Stephens | TN, USA | 07/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Berlioz's most unusual masterpiece. Unusual because here Berlioz composed on a subject that he later only dreamed about. If you look at Berlioz's output, it is comprised mainly not of orchestral works, but of vocal ones. Dozens of songs, choral or solo, with a variety of accompaniment...leaflets of operas. More than anything, Berlioz dreamed of writing great operas. He wrote three (or four if you count Faust).
I maintain that this is an unusual piece because its subject is so different from other Berlioz works, which concentrate on love and death, with grandiosity and poignant despair--- and much less on humor. But 'Benvenuto Cellini' is nothing if not humorous, or rather capricious and naughty. A friend of Berlioz called it 'Malvenuto Cellini.'
From the rousiing and lively (not to mention unusual) Overture, to the famous Roman Carnival scene, to the beautiful finale---this is Berlioz at his most healthy and inventive. This is also the longest work Berlioz had written up until 1837. One gets the feeling that he finally felt he had a subject in which to show sense of humor.
I also want to say something about the appeal of this opera: it fits more in the mould of what an opera-lover would like, rather than an orchestral-lover. Berlioz tends to attract people who revel in orchestral virtuosity and color. Even 'Les Troyen' is more attracting to my orchestra-loving side than my opera-loving side. So, if like Verdi and Puccini and mainstream operas...chances are you will get along with this opera very well indeed."
A few ideas no one mentioned
Paul Linkletter | New York City | 01/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After listening to this delightful recording again (after a long absence from hearing it) I have only a few things to add to the other reviews here. The two versions any Berlioz lover must have--as everyone has said--is the Davis and this one. The old Davis is different from the new Davis and the first is FAR preferable. Don't be fooled. The first version even sounds better, the modern recording of the new version hardly an improvement. And the cast does not compare. But the Nelson version is not really a direct comparison with the old Davis (as some have rightfully pointed out before me) since the "versions" are so different. Which means you need both. This recording is quite special. Delightful, characterful singing (especially Kunde, Naouri, and Di Donato) and a fine conductor conducting an orchestra on top of the complex score make this a complete joy. If the new video is not to your liking, then this audio version should be the first place to turn and the Davis the second. I do think some of Berlioz' first ideas are treasureable and gladly worth repeat listens. Balducci's aria at the beginning just the first of the many. Only three times does this recording leave me wanting (respectively more, less, and different.) And no one seems to mention them as "debits"--not that they really detract enough to lower the rating. The first is The Overture. In this instance, more is not that illuminating. Fascinating if you know the "famous" version, but not really any better. Sometimes less really is more. The second is the non-reasoning of putting Cellini's first aria in an appendix instead of its proper place. The notes could have just told people to skip the track to hear how Berlioz first conceived it. They certainly kept many other additions and second thoughts by Berlioz that were not there in the "original". It was performed on opening night. Stupid. I burned a version of the act with the appendix aria in its "rightful" place. This makes it necessary to add a number in your mind to the track list (or type a new one of your own) but far preferable. But the one real reason to also get the Davis recording of this opera (other than it's a great performance) is that the first version of Teresa's aria is inferior to the re-write. A side by side comparison shows this instantly. It's nice to have both but I do miss the lovely "second thought" of this one solo piece for the heroine. Still, essential purchase for opera fans. And wait for a better video. Maybe the MET revival? Not a perfect production, either, but fairly faithful to the "intentions" of the work. And not updated."