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Gluck - Orphée et Euridice (1774 Paris Version)

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 22, 2005
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, Catherine Dubosc, Suzie Le Blanc
  • Orchestra: Opera Lafayette
  • Conductor: Ryan Brown
  • Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
  • Audio CD (March 22, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naxos Opera
  • ASIN: B0007ORDZY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,003 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kelly S on January 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a perfect recording of Gluck's best-known opera, and you would be wise to purchase it. Here's why:

- Original French translation. The Paris version that debuted on August 2, 1774, which NAXOS has recreated on this cd, was translated into French by Gluck himself (the original Italian version, Orfeo ed Euridice, debuted in Vienna in 1762). The composer then added the finishing touches of a few beautiful ballet numbers and a re-working of the recitatives, performed here with great emotion and strength. He also allowed for this version's Orphée to be sung by a haute-contre, rather than an alto-castrato, which seem to be in low supply these days.

- A man singing Orphée. Even the most talented female alto isn't as effective playing a male lead as is an actual male. This Orphée, Fouchécourt, is wonderful.

- period instruments. You're hearing as close to what the Paris audience heard in 1774 as you'll find in the 21st century. Great brass section especially, very dramatic. Also the chorus does a splendid job complementing the music and vice versa; each is subtle and forceful in exactly the right places, creating a moving effect.

- full libretto in French and English

- great low price

Overall, this is a great buy, and I recommend it to anyone at any level of opera-appreciation.

Note: The reason there are only 10 tracks is that each track is quite lengthy--in one instance, 20 minutes. The full opera is present.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I was excited when I learned that Naxos was about to release a new CD of Gluck's Orphee et Euridice performed by the Opera Lafeyette Opera and Chorus. Gluck's opera is one of my longest-lived musical passions. I had the good fortune to hear the Opera Lafayette perform this opera live at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland. (The performance was a sell-out and I was lucky to get makeshift seating above and behind the stage.) It is a rare pleasure to hear on CD a memorable performance that one has experienced live of a treasured work.

There are several versions of Gluck's Orphee. Gluck composed the first version in Vienna in 1762 in Italian. He wrote the second version twelve years later in 1774 in Paris. This French version is rather more lyrical and florid that the initial version and represents something of a compromise of the spirit of opera reform shown in the 1762 score. The version of the opera most commonly performed today is an amalgamation of Gluck's two scores based on edits by Hector Berlioz in 1859.

Happily, this CD uses Gluck's 1774 Paris version which is rarely performed today. In the 1774 opera, the role of Orphee is sung by a high tenor, and the role is beautifully performed here by Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, an eminent singer of early music. The Paris version includes the famous ballet, "The Dance of the Blessed Spirits" which was not included in 1762, together with additional arias, and certain display passages in some of the vocal writing absent from the earlier Orpheo.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Steven Guy on August 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I bought the Marc Minkowski / Les Musiciens du Louvre recording of Gluck's Paris version of his Orpheus opera on the ARCHIV label last year. I liked that recording and I was quite impressed with the tenor, Richard Croft, in the rôle of Orphée. Minkowski's choir and orchestra are second to none in the milieu of the interpretation and recording of French 18th century opera.

However, NAXOS has recently brought out a new recording of this same version of the opera and it has a lot going for it! Firstly, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, who is a great singer and a wonderful interpreter of haute-contre rôles. His voice is much smoother and sweeter than Croft's brighter and more "edgy" voice. Fouchécourt gives Orphée a very beautiful and noble voice and he sings with great poise, grace and pathos throughout.
The two ladies are both excellent, too. I knew Suzie Le Blanc from some of her other recordings of Baroque music and I think she makes an excellent Amour. Her voice is more "adult" than Minkowski's teenage Marion Harousseau, but I have to say that I cannot make up my mind which singer I prefer. Both bring many nice things to this role. Minkowski has a powerful advocate of Baroque music in Mireille Delunsch as his Eurydice, but Catherine Dubosc is no less capable in the role and I loved her singing.
Ryan Brown directs the Opera Lafayette Orchestra (on period instruments) and Chorus. This band brings the music to life in ways that I really found (agreeably) startling from time to time. The brass players, in particular, bring great drama to the music - especially in Acte II - listen for the natural trumpets ring out in the Maestoso section.
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