Search - Leo Delibes, Michel Plasson, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse :: Delibes - Lakmé / Dessay, Kunde, van Dam, Petibon, Haidan, Konsek, Leguérinel, Plasson

Delibes - Lakmé / Dessay, Kunde, van Dam, Petibon, Haidan, Konsek, Leguérinel, Plasson
Leo Delibes, Michel Plasson, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse
Delibes - Lakmé / Dessay, Kunde, van Dam, Petibon, Haidan, Konsek, Leguérinel, Plasson
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #2

For all its exotically tinged, trademark Orientalism, so fashionable in late-19th-century France, Delibe's opera Lakmé is at heart a simple story of tragically misplaced love. This marvelous and sensitively wrought interpr...  more »

     
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For all its exotically tinged, trademark Orientalism, so fashionable in late-19th-century France, Delibe's opera Lakmé is at heart a simple story of tragically misplaced love. This marvelous and sensitively wrought interpretation renders the intensity of that love story with a surprising emotional credibility. Conductor Michel Plasson allows the music's arching melodies to breathe and unfold leisurely, like a lovingly cultivated floral display; he even discovers hidden nuances within the formulaic fluff that pads Delibe's score. And his vision is shared by the outstanding principals here. As the titular Hindu princess, Natalie Dessay gives a jewel-like performance, full of stunningly shaped phrases and tapered notes that sound like spun silk (and one that can favorably compare with Joan Sutherland's account on London). Yet she also offers substance where others are satisfied with mere vocal beauty, conveying both the fatal innocence of her character and an intense capacity to suffer. Gregory Kunde portrays the English interloper Gerald with moving tenderness, while he manages the high tessitura of the part with elegance and flexibility. There's a sense of shared vulnerability that the pair bring to their first duet, one of several unforgettable touches on this recording. The cast is filled out with rich characterizations, most notably José Van Dam's imposingly authoritarian Nilakantha. The subtle intimacy of detail Plasson inspires throughout as well as the fine engineering makes this recording a winner. --Thomas May

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CD Reviews

The Greatest Lakme ever!
The Cultural Observer | 02/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With her ability to color every phrase delicately, Natalie Dessay is undoubtedly this century's greatest coloratura soprano. Highly underrated, she could easily bring truth to her interpretation of this Lakme through her very good reading of the score and her ability to enunciate her French very well. Gregory Kunde is one of the greatest rising French tenors. Michel Plasson showcases Delibes' mystical and erotic music through a very passionate, delicate, and at the same time flowing reading of the music. A must for any fan of this great opera. I would recommend it highly over the Mady Mesple and definitely over the Sutherland version. Own it today, you won't be disappointed."
The Sensuality of French Opera, Delibes, Lakme
Michael D. Villecco | Fort Lauderdale, Florida United States | 10/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally some of these French opera treausures are coming to life once again! It seems that for so long, the gentle beauty and simplicity of French opera had taken the back seat to the more well known Italian works of Verdi or the high profile works of Mozart. Only the Italian masters Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni seemed to incorporate some of the French finesse into their dramatic and powerful music. This newest recording of Leo Delibes "Lakme" is to be commended for once more bringing the sensual and beautiful music to the forefront in the enchanting love story set in British occupied Colonial India. The Indian priestess, Lakme, sung by Natalie Dessay delivers the gentility and innocence in her vocal interpretation of the fragile character. Dessay delivers with ease the stirring moments in the "Air des clochettes" of Act II and manages the higher register with the greatest of ease. Likewise, Michel Plasson conducts the score as I am certain Delibes would have intended. Gregory Kunde portrays the British officer in love with Lakme with intelligence and masculinity, and both he and Dessay shine in the Act III forest scene, hidden in a bamboo cabin surrounded by lush foliage, where the lovers sing beautifully "Ah! viens, dans la foret profunde" and "Sous le ciel tout etoile". The Choeur and Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse manages the intensely delicate, yet powerful score and transports us to a fairy-tale place in India. The French do many things well, art and music being among them, and it should be noted that this excellent recording follows an older French recording of "Lakme" done by Mady Mesple, conducted by Alain Lombard and the Choeurs et Orchestre du Theatre National de l'Opera-Comique in 1971. Both the older recorded version and this new Plasson version once again prove that the French have a refinery and finesse hard to duplicate. I recommend this new recording of "Lakme" for the novice to opera or the well-seasoned aficianado! Let's bring the French works prominently back into worldwide opera houses!"
Perfect!
Mr JB | Karlskrona Sweden | 06/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Here we have a recording of effortless beauty. Lakmé is an opera of many nuances, in the plot itself as well as in the music. The sentiments though are never very strong and since the story isn't strong either, the opera relies very much on it's sweet music. This means that if this delicate score is put in the wrong hands it can turn out banal, pathetic and boring. Fortunately, the hands of Micheal Plasson turns out to be perfect for this opera. He's cautious but very thoughtfull, leaving no details unnoticed. And with 'his' Toulouse opera-company behind him, the orchestral playing reaches nothing but first class - sounding both like flowers and bells, when so called for. The detailed recorded sound also brings forth especially the strings in a lovely way. The singers? Well, they're all in class with their conductor. Dessay sings Lakmé with a very pure voice, really making you believe that she is as innocent as here role demands. When the sensualism begins, she also uses some sliding between the notes, which makes her contribution very 'french' indeed. Kunde couldn't have done his Gerald better. He uses a seamless legato in much of the romatic music, which together with his habit to 'hang' on his notes rhytmically, makes his singing in these parts exceptionally beautiful, effortlessly milking out the most of every single note. His "Fantasie aux divine mensonges" is priceless. Van Dam as Lakmé's father Nilakantha is as always in impressive voice, his sometimes abrupt way of handling tones being perfect in this role. Haidan's Mallika is just as much darker in voice and more serious in action than Dessay's Lakmé, which is just way it's supposed to be. And her voice itself is very beautiful. The rest of the cast is very good as well, their voices well separated from one another both by nature and in the recording, which makes the action easy to follow and each caracter gets heard. The Sutherland/Vanzo version for London/Decca may not be generally as good as this one, but it none the less has Vanzo in the role of Gerald, and he is always a pleasure to hear. But this Dessay/Kunde, I think, is the over all better recording, actually The Best Lakmé-recording of all, nothing short of world class."