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Meyerbeer: Le Prophète / Horne, Scotto, Lewis [Box set]

Marilyn Horne , Renata Scotto , James McCracken , Jerome Hines , Jules Bastin , Christian du Plessis , Giacomo Meyerbeer , Henry Lewis , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra , Ambrosian Opera Chorus Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Ambrosian Opera Chorus
  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Henry Lewis
  • Composer: Giacomo Meyerbeer
  • Audio CD (May 17, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: CBS / Sony
  • ASIN: B00000257U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,120 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Le Prophete: Act I - Prelude: 'La brise est muette'
2. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Mon coeur s'elance'
3. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Fides, ma bonne mere'
4. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Ad nos, ad salutarem undam'
5. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Ainsi ces beaux chateaux?'
6. Le Prophete: Act I - 'O roi des cieux'
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Le Prophete: Act III - Entracte: 'Du sang! du sang!'
2. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Aussi nombreux que les etoiles'
3. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Voici la fin du jour'
4. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Voici les fermieres'
5. Le Prophete: Act III - Ballet: Valse
6. Le Prophete: Act III - Ballet: Pas de Redowa
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Un matin je trouvai'
2. Le Prophete: Act IV - La Marche du couronnement
3. Le Prophete: Act IV- 'Domine, salvum fac regem nostrum'
4. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Le voila, le Roi Prophete'
5. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Qui je suis?'
6. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Arretez!'
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll listen again and again June 25, 2004
By essmac
After having this recording for a few years, it is one of those that I keep pulling out to play again and again. Other recordings of other works have fewer flaws, are more complete, etc, but how many recordings do you own that you may have loved on first listen, but somehow never listen to anymore?
I agree that McCracken has a unique timbre, and he resorts to crooning when the tessitura gets too high (or calls for light and sweet) but he's totally committed and as other reviewers have pointed out, this work shoudl have been titled "Fides, ou L'Amour d'une Mere" since she gets all the best stuff.
Seriously, Horne sings her tuckus off- lots of solos, 2 showstopper duets with Scotto, lots of big singing in the ensembles, and her biggest number- full cavatina and caballetta is in the last act, so many dramatic high and low notes which she attacks fearlessly. I can't help thinking of her getting through all of this onstage in one loooong live performance; only an extraordinary artist could do it.
I must say 2 things- Lewis does a fine job of keeping this big ship on course, though he drives a little hard in a few places (the Act 4 coronation scene for instance, although to be fair- with all those different forces, stage bands, etc; slack conducting leads to disaster) but he really lights a fire under the orchestra. Lots of drama and rhythmic intensity keep the excitment going.
As for Scotto- I'm a big fan, so take this with some salt: some hear her high notes as squeally. In this recording, I hear them as highly dramatic and exciting.
The only way her character, Berthe's actions make any sense is if she's nuts-- when this soprano loses her senses, she doesn't wander around in a nightie duetting with a flute.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting December 28, 1999
In reviewing the other recording of this opera with Horne, I mentioned this one. It is an excellent rendition of the opera, which for those not in the know, is a very difficult opera to produce, not only for the singing, but the ballet which was to be performed on roller skates, which were a new invention at the time.
Horne attacks this very difficult role, written for Viardot-Garcia, and one that unless you are in excellent voice should not be attempted. One has no place to hide. The voice is required to sing a full 2 and a half octaves, and it is required to be dramatic! Horne is the best we have in this role of Fides, and far better than many in the past as she can actually sing all the music.
The other singers are exciting too, but not always that musically rewarding. Scotto is wonderfully dramatic, but her tone is very squeally, and overblown and pinched and pushed all over the place. Still, she is wonderful! She makes a basically secondary role actually have a personality!
MaCracken is not to my taste. I have never really enjoyed him, but he doesn't really get the character out of the part. Mind you, it is a rather indifferently written part compared to the character of Fides ( and the opera was actually written to showcase Viardot-Garcia )
Hines is good, but not overpowering. The orchestra is wonderful and Lewis' reading is very energetic. Whether or not you are a Meyerbeer fan, the opera is well worth the price.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic recording of somewhat neglected opera August 29, 2002
I was introduced to this recording many years ago over a radio broadcast when it first emerged, and thought it was great. I'm a fan of James McCracken actually, to balance out the unfavorable reactions others have to his voice. It is a peculiar tenor sound, very distinctive and absolutely non-italianate (he's American, of course), but beefy, emotive and thrilling. McCracken and Vickers vied over similar parts in the 60's-70's era, and I find them both somewhat peculiar (but amazing at the same time), but Vickers has fared better with the critical press. Marilyn Horne is fantastic as well, and Jerome Hines impressive. The sound is atmospheric and the forces conducted by Henry Lewis are spectacular. I have the LP version of this opera, and was lucky enough to pick it up on CD recently. This is a great treatment of this under-appreciated "grand" opera.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must-have recording of possibly best opera ever written October 19, 2001
I agree with Gapare's review above. I would have to add, first that Le Prophete is in the top five of best opera's of the repertoire. It is dramatically compelling, bound to give the listener an exciting, thriller-like experience. Second, I rated this recording with four stars, because I do not like McCracken's voice and because the recording is not complete. Several numbers have been cut, while many other's were cut-down.
Still: a must-have for any opera-lover.
Jean de Leyde
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sound is poor August 2, 2010
No one has mentioned the sound of this studio recording, which is poor. The orchestra is in one acoustic, the singers in another. By "another" I mean that they have been placed in the shower room of a large, empty gymnasium. The results are almost unlistenable. Whoever set up the recording venue should be [censored]. In far superior sound are the Met broadcasts (plural) with the same cast, which are in honest and listenable (and excellent) sound.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark masterpiece April 14, 2012
By Owl
'Le Prophète' was once one of the most famous of operas, performed over 500 times at the Paris Opera, and given throughout the world (like the little opera house in Port Louis, Mauritius), in the days when opera was ubiquitous in society. It is very sad to see this extraordinary work by a great composer dismissed with such light and loose words--like the late reviewer of the Gramophone (JS) whose animus towards Meyerbeer was evident in all his reviews, and whose words were so influential in such a periodical and its outreach. The problem is always the inevitable comparison with Wagner (usually) and Verdi (less often). Both these composers have their success and following, but they have nothing whatsoever to do with Meyerbeer, who was a generation older than both of them, and worked in very different circumstances.
To call the plot absurd is rather rash: do people know the details of the history of the Anabaptists in Münster on which this opera is based? If they did, they would find history far stranger than fiction, and see in Scribe's libretto a modification of the garish facts in the interests of a highly symbolic scenario based on a tragic Reformation episode, and exploring the implication of the role of religion power and politics in the fate of humanity. The facile misunderstanding of the plot alone makes one cringe. Then there is the inability to grasp the impact of the complex and subtle score. This is not 'La Traviata', but a dark and frightening look into the confusion, violence, and hatred that have shaped religion and politics. The relation between mother and son depicted in the opera is something unique and astonishingly interesting; the fate of Berthe (who is not 'bonkers' by the way--such crass terminology!) is deeply touching in its vulnerability and betrayal.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a very good opera, but the singing here is remarkable
Not a very good opera, but the singing here is remarkable. Renata Scotto, not my favorite soprano, turns in what is perhaps her finest performance here--fine high coloratura... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Bruce A. Mcdonald
3.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, but poorly produced.
Just a few disconnected remarks taking up some of the issues already raised here, and others not mentioned at all:

1. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Giles Penfold
4.0 out of 5 stars good version of an enjoyable work
Le Prophete is the Meyerbeer work "par excellence" that Wagner saw as the most egregious example of all that was bad in Meyerbeer , ie empty calculated showy effects... Read more
Published 20 months ago by a reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible sound, Miscast Tenor, Mediocre Opera
Despite several 5 star reviews, this is rather a bad recording. The orchestra sounds fine, the singers sound like they're somewhere else altogether--perhaps a large, empty church. Read more
Published on March 2, 2012 by Shaun Greenleaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Memento as well as excellent recording
I was fortunate (and old) enough to see pretty much this cast "live" at the Met, in one of the most spectacular opera performances I have experienced. Read more
Published on March 10, 2010 by mah
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece!
Jag älskar Meyerbeers operor och Le prophéte är enligt mig kronan på verket i hans verklista, stor och grandios i dess bästa bemärkelse. Read more
Published on September 1, 2009 by PalmideArtaserse
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun opera, Golden Horne
I am shocked at how bad Scotto is in this performance. I'm not that familiar with early Scotto - when did she realize that she didn't have to scream her head off on stage? Read more
Published on July 11, 2009 by devereaux
3.0 out of 5 stars A neglected masterpiece? I don't think so
There is something funny going on here. Here we have an opera which has been largely ignored for the last hundred years, has received only one decent recording (this one, in 1976)... Read more
Published on April 15, 2009 by Ralph Moore
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