Thursday, 4 May 2017

Joyce DiDonato and Michael Spyres join a Francophone cast for a new recording of Les Troyens

Berlioz' Les Troyens in Strasbourg  (photo Gregory Massat)
Berlioz' Les Troyens in Strasbourg  (photo Gregory Massat)
Despite the decline of the large-scale studio recording in the classical music industry, it is heartening to see projects continuing in other ways. The latest news to cross my path concerns a new recording of Berlioz's Les Troyens on Warner Classics' Erato label. The recording is released in November 2017 and will be based on two live performances last month (April 2017) in Strasbourg when John Nelson conducted the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and a cast of 16 soloists.

What is impressive about the line-up of soloists is not so much the star quality (though there is plenty of that) but the fact that a significant number of them are Francophone. Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Cassandre), Marianne Crebassa (Ascagne), Stéphane Degout (Chorèbe), Nicolas Courjal (Narbal) Stanislas de Barbeyrac (Hélènus, Hylas) and Cyrille Dubois (Iopas) are joined by Joyce DiDonato (Didon) and Michael Spyres (Enée) to make a cast well worth anticipating. All three leads (Joyce DiDonato, Michael Spyres and Marie-Nicole Lemieux) were making role debuts.

Veteran conductor John Nelson's recording catalogue includes quite a lot of Berlioz, including the original version of Benvenuto Cellini and Beatrice et Benedict, so this recording will complete Nelson's trio of Berlioz operas.

To whet your appetite for the recording, you can read a review of the live performance on Bachtrack

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