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L'Etoile: French Arias

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 17, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

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Jennifer Larmore successfully tackles a wide range of French Romantic opera arias in this admirable recital. Despite the music’s stylistic and vocal demands, Larmore’s richly cushioned mezzo, with its solid low notes and freely soaring highs, is more than equal to the task. Even in era of outstanding mezzos, not many can match her rapid-fire articulation in florid music like the Auber aria or her exciting ending of "O ma lyre immortelle" from Gounod’s Sappho. Nor are there many whose plush tones match Larmore’s in Massenet’s Werther aria. Even in "D’amour l’ardente flame" from Berlioz’s La Damnation of Faust, her rich voice captivates and she maintains the line despite the overly slow tempo. She's especially effective in the lighter arias, aptly characterizing the bored wife of Ravel's L’heure espagnole, and the bubbly, self-adoring Lazuli from Chabrier’s L'étoile. Fine accompaniments by de Billy and the orchestra round off a disc sure to please. --Dan Davis


1. Vois Sous L'archet Fremissant
2. Enfin, Je Suis Ici
3. O Palerme! O Sicile!
4. Mon Coeur S'ouvre A Ta Voix
5. Ah! Ah! Je Vais Mourir - Adieu, Fiere Cite
6. Va! Laisse Couler Mes Larmes
7. O Ma Lyre Immortelle
8. D'amour L'ardente Flamme
9. Oh! La Pitoyable Aventure
10. Connais-tu Le Pays
11. Je Suis Lazuli

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 17, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec Classics
  • ASIN: B00005NY8G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,294 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Evans on February 27, 2004
Another great CD from the star mezzo! The Massenet selections are very exciting (full recording of Werther should be in order) but it's Sapho (Gounod) that is the highlight. Stunning. Great conducting by de Billy. Thank you Jennifer!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2004
Verified Purchase
This is simply a lovely album, full of many pleasant surprises as far as the material goes, not simply the usual suspects. Larmore has never sounded better. I hope the fact that it took two years to be released is not indicative of a lack of Teldec's commitment to this supremely talented singer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 1, 2014
Recorded in 2001 when "Southern Bel Canto" mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore was at her absolute peak, this recital of French plums displays the velvety plushness of her voice, its slightly unnerving "cupped" lower range and its surprising upper extension. Just over an hour of music encompassing everything seductive about the French operatic idiom.

Bertrand de Billy's tempi are at times to languorous and etiolated, so that the pulse of the arias can become too languid but those slow speeds present no difficulty to Larmore. I also think it unfortunate that one of the longest items is the Auber aria, which is as close to formulaic show-music as it gets; while I admire Larmore's coloratura it is pretty much a non-event musically and I don't particularly want to hear it again, whereas the Berlioz arias are something to savour. Larmore does not quite have the intensity and individuality of utterance. We get from, say, Janet Baker and just occasionally her French vowels or indistinct but the sheer power, fluency and beauty of her voice go a long way towards captivating the ear.

Certainly this is the most beautiful mezzo since Frederica von Stade, with the possible exception of Vesselina Kasarova and the programme, despite being rather limply conducted, is a lovely survey of 19C/early 20C French opera gems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Miller on June 14, 2010
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The version of Saint-Saëns' "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" that she sings on this CD has a very nice part for solo cello that I've never heard in any other version. This is my favorite aria on the disc so I would have gotten it just for that.
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "fennimorecooper" on December 20, 2003
Jennifer larmore is one of worlds leading sopranos. this Cd has
astounding absolutely fantastic collection of french arias.
the best is ``O ma lyre immortelle`` from Gounod``s rarely
performed masterpiece ``Sappho``.This is really well performed.
the rest lacks a little of emotional activity, stays vague and
a bit obscure- ``Enfin je suis ici`` sounds like she were not
arriving, though the text of the aria should reassure us.
peeter Hollberg, jennifer larmore fan from rocca al Mare suburbia , tallinn, Estonia
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