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This live recording was made during 1998's Salzburg Festival, and Kent Nagano (who had studied the work directly with Messiaen during the opera's premiere in 1983) marshals the score's 119 players and enormous chorus into a spectacular series of symphonic frescoes. He is sensitive both to the resonant use of silence in the score's interstices and--most memorably--to Messiaen's rare achievement in creating music to express "perfect joy." And the cast he works with is unbeatable: José van Dam conveys immense compassion and presence in the almost unbelievably strenuous demands of the title role, while Dawn Upshaw sings the angel with a penetrating purity. This masterpiece demands time to get to know it--more than the four hours it takes to unfold--but once you know it, its rewards are immense. --Thomas May
Do yourself a great favor, get this listen to it over a period of time.
I own both recorded versions of the complete St. Francis (the world-premiere version conducted by Ozawa as well as the present one).
This work is the culmination of a lifetime of musical experimentation and fervent religous devotion.
Messiaen’s late, vast opera Saint François d’Assise is often viewed as something of a summation of his artistic output. Read morePublished 7 months ago by G.D.
Olivier Messiaen's sole opera SAINT FRANCOIS D'ASSISE occupied the composer for eight years up to its 1983 premiere, and proved to be a massive production. Read morePublished on November 12, 2007 by Christopher Culver
This work is the culmination of a lifetime of musical experimentation and fervent religous devotion. It contains a remarkable amount of absolutely ravishing music. Read morePublished on September 29, 2005 by R. Albin
This work is one of the most highest pinnacles of French composer Olivier Messiaen, a deserved apotheosis for his lifetime achivements. Read morePublished on August 12, 2005 by klavaza
I feel like the kid about to shout "The Emperor has no clothes!"
I've been giving this quite a chance. Read more
This is a towering masterpiece fully worthy of the last century.
It was recently given a full-scale production by the San Francisco Opera. (What more appropriate place? Read more
Olivier Messiean is one of the handful of 20th century composers whose work does this maddening sentury justice. Read morePublished on September 7, 2003 by A. Hogan
This is, if you like modern classical music, a must have.
Like an earlier reviwer said too... I usually not like Naganos conducting but he is VERY good here and this is def. Read more