Meyerbeer: Le Prophète / Horne, Scotto, Lewis Box set
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Meyerbeer, fabulous cast, exciting Henry Lewis conducting, and full blown dramatic tension all the way through.Scotrto is explosive and wonderful, Marilyn Horne volcanic!!Published 3 months ago by Daniel G. Madigan
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 morePublished 23 months ago by Bruce A. Mcdonald
Just a few disconnected remarks taking up some of the issues already raised here, and others not mentioned at all:
1. Read more
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 morePublished on January 1, 2013 by a reader
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 morePublished on March 2, 2012 by Shaun Greenleaf
No one has mentioned the sound of this studio recording, which is poor. The orchestra is in one acoustic, the singers in another. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Howard M. Bushnell
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 morePublished on March 10, 2010 by mah
Jag älskar Meyerbeers operor och Le prophéte är enligt mig kronan på verket i hans verklista, stor och grandios i dess bästa bemärkelse. Read morePublished on September 1, 2009 by PalmideArtaserse
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 morePublished on July 11, 2009 by devereaux