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
Number of Discs: 3
DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 2.42 GB
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
- 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
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- 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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