HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Philips) Jules Massenet – Werther (Carreras, von Stade, Davis)

Many thanks to Bob for this Goethe gem
Now over 35 years old, this recording inspires in me the same affection and admiration as when I first heard it. Massenet is mildly scorned in some quarters; he had his fair share of flops and sometimes fell into a maudlin mode which smacks of trying too hard to please with easy sentimentality, but I am with Beecham regarding the beauties of his best operas (even if I would not go so far as to make frivolous, disparaging comparisons with Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos…). “Manon”, “Thais” and “Werther” are among my very favourite operatic entertainments for their sheer sumptuousness of sound, coherence as drama and distillation of French elegance.

Composer: Jules Massenet
Performer: José Carreras, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Allen

Orchestra: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
Vinyl 1981
Number of Discs: 3
Format: Flac
Label: Philips
DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 2.42 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

It helps to be a Francophile/phone but I honestly think anyone who loves the human voice in its most refined form would succumb to Carreras’s opening recitative and aria, “Je ne sais si je veille”; it is the apotheosis of the Romantic sensibility in its adoration of Nature and the yearning plangency of its music. His French is pretty good and his voice at its very peak: warm, vibrant always suffused with a hint of tears – perfect for the arch-idealist Werther.

Von Stade is hardly less moving as Charlotte; she, too, has the ideal voice for the heroine with her rich, oboe sound and flickering vibrato. I am invariably moved to tears by the restrained passion of the duet for Werther and Charlotte at the end of Act 1. The supporting cast provides an embarras de richesses with such distinguished and elegant singers as Thomas Allen and Robert Lloyd; even the children are delightful. Colin Davis is not yet groaning obtrusively along with his performers and directs a sensitive and wholly idiomatic account of this grimly gorgeous tale; the ROH orchestra play wonderfully, caressing the score. The analogue sound is exemplary, as was so often the case from Philips in this era.

 Analyzed Folder: /96k Massenet – Werther – Carreras
DR         Peak       RMS        Filename                      
DR16       -0.88 dB   -23.33 dB  side1.flac                    
DR17       -0.53 dB   -24.32 dB  side2.flac                    
DR15       -0.58 dB   -21.84 dB  side3.flac                    
DR16       -0.27 dB   -22.47 dB  side4.flac                    
DR13       -0.22 dB   -19.32 dB  side5.flac                    
DR15       -0.34 dB   -21.60 dB  side6.flac                    
 Number of Files: 6
 Official DR Value: DR15


  • Baritone Vocals – Thomas Allen
  • Bass Vocals – Robert Lloyd
  • Composed By – Jules Massenet
  • Conductor – Colin Davis
  • Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Frederica von Stade
  • Orchestra – Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
  • Soprano Vocals – Isobel Buchanan
  • Tenor Vocals – José Carreras

Ripping Info


  • 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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PW: FloriaTosca


8 thoughts on “HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Philips) Jules Massenet – Werther (Carreras, von Stade, Davis)”

  1. Alf, a good solution!
    This Werther Production is unbeatable-I saw the Royal Opera House production
    in 1980 but with a different cast and conductor.. Trottar

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