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Massenet: Manon
Gabriel Bacquier, Gérard Souzay, Michel Trempont
Massenet: Manon
Genre: Classical
This recording has been unavailable for too long. Recorded in 1970, a solid year-or-so before Beverly Sills' voice began to show the damage caused by singing Elisabetta I in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, this is the finest...  more »


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All Artists: Gabriel Bacquier, Gérard Souzay, Michel Trempont, Jules Massenet, Julius Rudel, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Beverly Sills, Nico Castel, Nicolai Gedda, Helia T'hezan, Michele Raynaud, Patricia Kern
Title: Massenet: Manon
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 5/11/2004
Album Type: Box set
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPCs: 028947495024, 0028947495024

This recording has been unavailable for too long. Recorded in 1970, a solid year-or-so before Beverly Sills' voice began to show the damage caused by singing Elisabetta I in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, this is the finest all-around recording of Manon on the market. Sills, in addition to being fresh-voiced, is so thoroughly in the part that we can chart Manon's downfall step by step; her girlish singing is as right on as her sassy, showy coloratura in the thirds act, and her St Sulpice scene is truly seductive. She's the perfect Manon. And Nicolai Gedda's Des Grieux, sung, as is Sills' Manon and the rest of the cast, in impeccable French, is passionate, madly in love, and ultimately tragic. Gabriel Bacquier's Count is imperious and authoritative and Gerard Souzay's Lescaut is smooth. Julius Rudel's leadership sparkles when it should and his sense of French suavity is unfailing. The score is given more than complete - as an appendix, there's an aria for Manon that Massenet added later. This is a desert island disc. --Robert Levine

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CD Reviews

Operaman! | Chicago, IL United States | 05/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"(I wrote these words in a review of the Angel/EMI CD reissue that is now out of print) On my select list of favorite complete opera recordings sits Beverly Sills' Manon. I wore out three copies of the vinyl version and the EMI CD reissue was more than welcome in my collection! Bubbles once said this recording came closest to what she did in the theatre, and there simply hasn't been a more vivid and complete a performance, musically, dramatically or otherwise. Vocally everything is top-notch, the supporting cast is superior to anything else on recording and Rudel's pacing is without peer. Brava Manon, Brava Beverly Sills!I am also happy to report that the DGG reissue surpasses the EMI/Angel of a few years back in terms of overall sound quality. Collectors, your search has ended!"
Beverly Sills Signature Role
Steven Muni | Sutter Creek, CA USA | 12/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Beverly Sills once said that if she was to be remembered for anything, it should be for "Manon". This is the role that catapulted her to opera superstardom. And she made this recording in 1970, when her voice still had all its youthful freshness and vigor, and shows just why Beverly Sills had such a great reputation. It has been said that Massenet wrote for his soprano, and nowhere is that more true than in the title role of this opera. And Sills does the role complete justice, vocally demonstrating in her singing the downfall of Manon from young innocent girl to demimondaine to despair and death. Her rendition of the great aria "Adieu, notre petite table", is incredibly moving. And the rest of the cast is excellent as well. Nicolai Gedda is supremely stylish as Des Grieux, Gabriel Bacquier strong and forthright as his father, and one gets to hear the late Gerard Souzay, famous primarily as a concert artist, singing a rare opera role as Lescaut, Manon's cousin. Julius Rudel conducts cleanly, making the most of Massenet's lush orchestrations. This recording belongs on the shelf of every opera lover."
Finally on Cd!
Emma de Soleil | On a holiday In Ibiza, then back to the UK for stu | 05/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally this absolutely sublime "Manon" has been released on CD. The moment I saw it, I ordered it. I always loved Sills in French music, her "Les jeunes filles de Cadix" is ravishingly beautiful. The live Thais from the MET (Not available in the USA) is one of the most moving performances of this sensuos opera. This Manon is one of Sills' crowning achievements, along with her Pamira, Elisabetta (Devereux), early Lucia, Anna Bolena and (YES) her sublime Norma. There is a triple crown of Manons, de los Angeles and Sills in the past and young Fleming today. Cotrubas' performance is beautiful too but not as glorious. Sills' feminine, fragile sound is made for the young Manon, as she develops her character her voice grows darker but never lacks the vocal splendour above the passagio. Her "Adieu notre petite table" is as haunting as Callas' recording and certainly more steady, I treasure both of them highly. Listen how she spins those endless phrases without gaps and flawless legato! What a gorgeous Pianissimo she had, it's lovely! The gambling scene in all its intensity has never been recorded with such a thrill. Sills shows that she was willing to give it all, to surpass every limit. The final scene, IMHO preferable to Puccini's version shows Sills at her best. The agony, love and heavenly passion is absolutely stunning. Being partnered by one of the greatest tenors ever to sing Des Grieux, we have an operatic dream-couple par excellence. (Their live-Lucia is a treasure too!) Gedda sings elegantly, passionately and with a French equalling the great George Thill. Souzay is equally splendid, as is the stupendous, always underrated Baquier. (The most ravishing Athanael and a great Scarpia) Rudel conducts perfectly, him and Sills created so much magic together! (Buy the Devereux video!) This release has been awaited EAGERLY! Now please, PLEASE release Sills' Norma on CD. I have the live-recording with Woolf and I'm totally floored, she even surpasses Sutherland in the vocal department. RUN to buy this recording and beg, blackmail or steal for Sills' Norma! You won't be sorry!"