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

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, May 17, 1990
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Track Listings

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'
  7. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Le Comte d'Oberthal'
  8. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Un jour, dans les flots'
  9. Le Prophete: Act I - 'Eh quoi! tant de candeur'
  10. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Valsons toujours'
  11. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Ami, quel nuage'
  12. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Pour Berthe moi je soupire'
  13. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Ils partent, grace au ciel'
  14. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Ah! mon fils, sois beni!'
  15. Le Prophete: Act II - 'O fureur! le ciel'
  16. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Gemissant sous le joug'
  17. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Ne sais-tu pas qu'en France'
  18. Le Prophete: Act II - 'Et la couronne'

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
  7. Le Prophete: Act III - Ballet: Quadrille
  8. Le Prophete: Act III - Ballet: Galop
  9. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Livrez-vous au repos, freres'
  10. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Sous votre banniere'
  11. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Pour prendre Munster'
  12. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Mais pourquoi dans l'ombre'
  13. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Qu'on le mene au supplice'
  14. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Par toi Munster nous fut promis'
  15. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Qui vous a sans mon ordre'
  16. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Eternel, Dieu sauveur'
  17. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Grand prohete'
  18. Le Prophete: Act III - 'Roi du ciel et des anges'
  19. Le Prophete: Act IV - Entracte - 'Courbons notre tete'
  20. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Donnez, donnez pour une pauvre ame'
  21. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'C'est l'heure!' ... 'On nous attend'
  22. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Un pauvre pelerin'
  23. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Derneir espoir'

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!'
  7. Le Prophete: Act IV - 'Tu cherissais ce fils'
  8. Le Prophete: Act V - Entracte: 'Ainsi vous l'attestez?'
  9. Le Prophete: Act V - 'O pretres de Baal'
  10. Le Prophete: Act V - 'O toi qui m'abandonnes'
  11. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Comme un eclair'
  12. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Ma mere! ma mere!'
  13. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Eh bien! si le remords'
  14. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Voici le souterrain'
  15. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Loin de la ville'
  16. Le Prophete: Act V - 'O spectre, o spectre epouvantable'
  17. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Hourra! gloire!'
  18. Le Prophete: Act V - 'Versez! que tout respire'

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: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000257U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,533 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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'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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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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