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Werther


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Audio CD, January 16, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Georges Thill, ténor - Ninon Vallin, soprano - Chœur & Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris - Elie Cohen, direction

Disc: 1
1. Werther, Act I: Prld...Assez! Assez! - Armand Narcon
2. Werther, Act I: Noel Jesus Vient De Naitre - Armand Narcon/Children's Chor Of The Cantoria/Paris Opr Chor
3. Werther, Act I: Bravo Pour Les Enfants! - Louis Guenot/Henri Niel/Armand Narcon/Germaine Feraldy/Children's Chor Of The Cantoria/Paris Opr...
4. Werther, Act I: Alors, C'est Bien Ici...Je Ne Sais Si Je Veille... - Georges Thill/Ninon Vallin/Armand Narcon/Germaine FeraldyChildren's Chor Of The Cantoria/Paris...
5. Werther, Act I: O Spectacle Ideal D'amour Et D'innocence - Georges Thill/Armand Narcon/Ninon Vallin/Germaine Feraldy/Marcel Rocque
6. Werther, Act I: Elle M'aime!...Quelle Priere De Reconnaissance - Marcel Rocque
7. Werther, Act I: Clair De Lune - Paris Opr Orch/Elie Cohen
8. Werther, Act I: Il Faut Nous Separer - Ninon Vallin/Georges Thill
9. Werther, Act I: Mon Ame A Reconna Votre Ame - Ninon Vallin/Georges Thill
10. Werther, Act I: Vous Avez Dit Vrai! - Ninon Vallin/Georges Thill
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Werther, Act III: Prld - Paris Opr Orch/Elie Cohen
2. Werther, Act III: Werther! Werther!...Qui M'aurait Dit - Ninon Vallin
3. Werther, Act III: Ces Lettres!...Ces Lettres! - Ninon Vallin
4. Werther, Act III: Bonjour, Grande Soeur!...Mais Souffres-Tu? - Germaine Thill/Ninon Vallin
5. Werther, Act III: Ah! Le Vire Est Beni - Germaine Thill/Ninon Vallin
6. Werther, Act III: Les Larmes Qu'on Ne Pleure Pas - Germaine Thill/Ninon Vallin
7. Werther, Act III: Ah! Mon Courage M'abandonne! - Ninon Vallin
8. Werther, Act III: Oui, C'est Moi! - Georges Thill/Ninon Vallin
9. Werther, Act III: Toute Mon Ame Est La...Pourquoi Me Reveiller - Georges Thill/Ninon Vallin
10. Werther, Act III: Ciel! Ai-je Compris? - Georges Thill/Ninon Vallin
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Ninon Vallin, Georges Thill, Germaine Feraldy
  • Orchestra: Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris, Paris National Opera Orchestra
  • Conductor: Elie Cohen
  • Composer: Jules Massenet
  • Audio CD (January 16, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00004YYQK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,211 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
86%
4 star
14%
3 star
0%
2 star
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See all 7 customer reviews
This is the most authentic recording of Massenet's "Werther".
Nicholas Freidin
All people who pretend to love opera simply have to get used to old recordings of musical greats.
Charlus
His tone is slightly dry, his diction precise and his control awesome.
L. E. Cantrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Charlus on February 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
France's two leading singers of the 1920-1940 era, heard in 1931, in an opera they both owned. As far as I am concerned, they still do. Thill (1897-1984), a fluent vocalist with the ability to sound like a young man in love, simply sounds like Werther: there is no distance between himself and the rôle; his identification with every syllable he is singing is total. This is one of the great classic assumptions of the gramophone.

Ninon Vallin (1886-1961), a more brilliant vocalist per sè, with a better voice and a more subtle style, is a perfect foil for him: a tremendously conflicted Charlotte, profoundly disturbed below the cool exterior: Vallin does not miss a single nuance. And what phrasing, what tone!

Both these artists understand the style and character of this music perfectly, have all the resources, vocal and technical, to do their parts justice, and simply give their all: what more could one ask?

The 1931 sound has been expertly refurbished. All people who pretend to love opera simply have to get used to old recordings of musical greats. It comes with the territory. The music always comes first.

As a filler, NAXOS adds some further Massenet arias superbly sung by Georges Thill: they too are indispensable.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. E. Cantrell VINE VOICE on July 2, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Source: Studio recording from the 1930s.
Sound: This set is clearly a relic of the early days of electric recording, but still quite listenable, once one accepts its limitations. Voices are clearly captured, particularly that of Georges Thill, and given emphasis over the rather dimly-caught orchestra.
Documentation: Naxos gives its standard package. There is a brief essay on the opera, accompanied by thumbnail biographies of the principal singers and all-but forgotten conductor. No libretto. There is a fairly useful plot summary tied to the track listings. (For those desperate for the words, a Google search under "Werther libretto" yields a serviceable French-English version.)
"Werther" is very much a tenor's opera. Although there have been a number of recordings since this primordial set, and many fine tenors recorded, none has ever matched Georges Thill in the role of Werther. Thill is said to have been the last, great, classic French tenor. Perhaps he was, but he was a robust one, with none of the preciousness that such a description tends to conjure up. Why, he was still giving concerts of Wagner's music into his sixties! His tone is slightly dry, his diction precise and his control awesome. I say that despite the famously bobbled high note. He could, I assume, have simply re-recorded his aria to correct the error but, I further assume, his self-confidence was so great that he let it go, just as in a live performance. Or it might be that he wanted to get out of the recording studio without delay, for--so the oft-told tale goes--he and soprano, Ninon Vallin, despised one another and had a stormy recording session.
Ninon Vallin is exactly what one imagines when one hears of a traditional French soprano.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Freidin on June 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the most authentic recording of Massenet's "Werther". No later singers can match Thill and Vallin (a soprano singing a mezzo role) in diction, voice, commitment, and feeling, for this masterpiece. The remastering, thanks to the genius of Ward Marston (born blind), hardly sounds like a recording from 1931. A real gem which catches the drama behind this moving story. The most French recording of this gallic opera. Perhaps best appreciated by listeners who are familiar with the work, but this recording can also open the ears of novices ?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 10, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Having just enthusiastically reviewed the thirty-year-old Colin Davis recording with Carreras and Von Stade, I felt impelled to revisit this matchless classic of French singing and style recorded in 1931. One thing is for sure: it may excel every subsequent recording for artistry and style but will not compete on terms of sheer recorded sound - the Philips set won an engineering award - yet all opera aficionados worthy of the name learn to listen through the swish and hear singing of near superhuman elegance and passion. The performance - both singing and playing - is of such quality to defy the years and make one forget its venerable provenance. In any case, the sound is actually really perfectly acceptable: clean and undistorted, especially as remastered here by the wizard Ward Marston.

It is one of the great operatic in-jokes that Georges Thill and Ninon Vallin cordially loathed each other yet performed and recorded together frequently with immense success. Their voices are everything we expect from the French tradition: crystalline diction with a hint of pleasing nasality, seamless legato, smooth gradations of dynamics and just a pinch of acidity in the climaxes. Thill remains the ideal of a French tenor who could sing operetta and Wagner with equal aplomb. Vallin, although a soprano, has a beautifully registered voice which has no trouble with the lower reaches of the role. Her tone is limpid and warm with the fast but unobtrusive vibrato typical of many voices of the period; like Thill, she was a superb stylist who does nothing without a reason and makes her singing sound almost simplistic in its directness. Conductor Elie Cohen takes the right liberties with the score, steering a course between French elegance and restraint and verismo excess.
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