A treasure of French singing from Norman
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jessye Norman isn't as well known for her French repertoire as for most of the other things she sang (and she wasn't helped by a stodgy, overly plush Carmen). Even so, two of these recordings in this budget reissue stand out: the Nuits d'Ete and Ravel Scheherazade, otherwise unabailable. Norman sings both in a rich operatic style, and the resuslts are gorgeous. Colin Davis conducts in a relaxed but effective style, but the real show is Norman's amazing vocal control and luscious tone. Perhaps among operatic versions Leontyne Price is even more thrilling, but Norman, a longtime resident of Paris, has much better French.
The second CD consists of a recital with piano of French chansons, many of them off the beaten track. casual listeners may not respond with instant enthusiasm, and it must be said that Norman's voice is rather huge for this delicate, ephemeral genre of songs. In her way, however, this is a sincere, well executed program--not one of my favorites but worthwhile."