A rare sighting of a new opera recording

Erato tell us they have spent the last three days recording Berlioz’s Les Troyens in Strasbourg.

It involved the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, three choirs and sixteen soloists over two five-hour concerts with conductor John Nelson, a total of 239 musicians.

The headline artists are the US mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and tenor Michael Spyres and the French-Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

The set will be released in November.

Photo: Grégory Massat/Erato

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  • I attended both performances. Superlative casting by Erato/Alain Lanceron, exceptional playing by the orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg under the enlightened, thrilling, beautiful guidance of John Nelson. Can’t believe it was Joyce DiDonato’s debut as Dido, she completely inhabited the role. And Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Cassandra brought many in the house to tears before the first intermission. Bravo to all involved. Had to pinch myself – thought the days of opera recordings on this scale and of this quality were long gone.

  • Intéressant! John Nelson has long experience in Berlioz, and Erato deserves praise for picking up where it left off 15 years ago with him — after Béatrice et Bénédict, Benvenuto Cellini, the Te Deum. Also, Spyres is excellent, and Lemieux characterful. Not sure about DiDonato in French rep. We will hear. At the moment there really is no perfect recording of Les Troyens.

  • Sorry guys, don’t want to stop your enthusiasm. Quite the opposite: Les Troyens is a rare jewel and with that cast you can’t be wrong.

    My concern is the wrong headline. Shouldn’t it be “A new recording of a rare opera”? Live opera recording are not such a rare thing as NL tells us. Happens all the time: e.g. Mozart/Da Ponte with COE & Nézet-Séguin and Operas with Netrebko both on DG or radio broadcasts burned on CDs. These products are not necessarily casted by the record labels. A studio recording (that’s what I would call a real recording btw) of an opera that’s something that happens not so often these days. However, there are at least some Mozart Operas with Currentzis on Sony for instance.

  • Such a shame that Dame Janet Baker never recorded the part with another great Berlioz interpreter Sir Alexander Gibson and his Scottish forces. There is the old BBC recording made during the Glasgow performances in 1969 but this has seriously deficient miking, hardly surprising when in those days the engineers were restricted to mics placed around the proscenium arch for the stage singing. And of course that was sung in English. There is also a subsequent short half CD of excerpts with the LSO in French. Both give a tantalising glimpse of what could have been the finest Trojans recording so far.

  • Look forward to hearing this recording. It will be hard to beat the 1960’s Davis/LSO and despite some short comings I like the Dutoit/OSM recording not least because of exceptional quality of the sound which captures all the details of this remarkable score.

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