Thank you Bob for this gem
This Manon has long been overshadowed by great recordings with the likes of Beverly Sills, Victoria de Los Angeles, and Angela Gheorghiu as the opera’s title role. Ileana Cotrubas was a Romanian soprano famous for singing lighter roles, most notably a Violetta with Carlos Kleiber on Deutsche Grammophone. Cotrubas probes into Manon like no other and dazzles us with coloratura that the soprano could call her own. She also had an innocent quality about her voice which made her less lusty but more feminine than – for example – Maria Callas. These are the reasons why I like very much this recording of Manon.
Composer: Jules Massenet
Performer: Ileana Cotrubas, Alfredo Kraus, Gino Quillico, José van Dam
Orchestra: Orchestra of the Capitole de Toulouse
Conductor: Michel Plasson
Number of discs: 3
DR-Analysis: DR 16
Size: 2.89 GB
I have heard some Manon’s, the latest being Renee Fleming’s disaster on Sony. Her extremely mannered character and jazzy swoops, scoops, and slides are totally uncalled for in a repertoire where style is everything. None of that, gladly, can be found in this performance. With a voice slightly darker than Sills and a quality as smooth and beautiful as de los Angeles and a command of the French language than can put many French Manons to shame, Cotrubas is my reference Manon. She is coquettish, flirtatious, frivolous, and correctly sad and full of abandon in the latter acts. She shows Manon’s development as a character perfectly as no other singer ever did in their recordings. She should be a model for all singers who wish to interpret this role.
Cotrubas is partnerred by Alfredo Kraus’ De Grieux, who is perhaps the best exponent of a role taken by beefier tenors lacking in style and lighter tenors who ought to sing more Taminos before taking on this very passionate, poetic, and ardent role. De Grieux lies within Kraus’ comfortable range, and I find that he brings out more colors and emotions with his singing of this role than other tenors. He also sings all of De Grieux’s notes with a charm and elegance rare among the breed of lighter tenors that dominate today’s market. The Comte de Grieux is taken by Jose Van Dam, one of the baritones of the last few decades who brought a special touch to everything he sang without the overly decadent mannerisms associated with Fischer Dieskau. I love this singer’s work, and he perhaps makes this role more special than any other person who sang the role.
Michel Plasson, a French conductor who gave us some of the best recordings of his native country’s operas, brings a quasi-impressionistic-Romantic feel to this opera, which perfectly suits Massenet’s orchestration. This is the definitive recording of Manon
Analyzed folder: /96k Massenet – Manon – Cotrubas, Kraus
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR16 -0.59 dB -22.67 dB sideA.aif
DR16 -0.94 dB -23.09 dB sideB.aif
DR15 -0.73 dB -22.25 dB sideC.aif
DR16 -0.88 dB -23.03 dB sideD.aif
DR15 -0.60 dB -21.94 dB sideE.aif
DR16 -0.86 dB -22.56 dB sideF.aif
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR16
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section.
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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