Thomas : MignonNew York, Carnegie Hall, 1984 (Audio)
Director: Kenneth Montgomery
Archivos para descarga:
New York Times review:
AMBROISE THOMAS'S MIGNON, once beloved of audiences and singers alike, slipped into obscurity in this country about 30 years ago, probably because of its outrageously sentimental and improbable plot, which would embarrass a soap-opera scenarist. Certainly its music alone is not bad enough to account for its disappearance. In fact, the score is quite fetching, disarmingly direct in its appeal to the ear and the operagoer's tender heart. Many composers of more prestigious works would kill to have written half a dozen of the best numbers in ''Mignon.'' The score is full of sweet airs and dazzling display pieces that stick firmly in the memory, which is what good melodies are supposed to do, after all.
But ''Mignon'' kept a following over the years, chiefly thanks to recordings and regular performances of a few imperishable concert numbers such as Philine's ''Je suis Titania.'' And in recent years, the opera itself has begun to show signs of stirring. Two years ago, the Santa Fe Opera staged ''Mignon'' quite successfully, with Kenneth Montgomery conducting a cast that had Frederica von Stade in the title part, Gianna Rolandi as Philine, and Barry McCauley as Wilhelm Meister, the confused young fellow whose affections are torn between the pitiable orphan Mignon and the vivacious actress Philine. Sunday night, in the finale of Carnegie Hall's French Opera Comique series, the same four artists decorated the cast of an entertaining concert version that probably made many new friends for this waif of an opera.
''Mignon'' is actually a contest between the two female characters, who represent opposite temperaments and human qualities. Philine, the unscrupulous temptress, naturally has the most brilliant music to sing and Miss Rolandi took full advantage of that. Slipping into the role as if it were tailored for her, she flounced around in the best prima donna manner and threw the house into a frenzy with her dazzling ''Je suis Titania,'' whose high E-flat was fired off with appropriate theatricality. Philine is a dizzy lady and Miss Rolandi provided dizzying coloratura all evening to match the character. Hers was no canary's tweeting, either, but full-toned, richly colored singing.
Against Philine's pyrotechnics, Mignon can put only gentleness and pathos. Miss von Stade, who is a virtuoso manipulator of these qualities, offered the utmost contrast to her rival in both temperament and voice. She took ''Connais-tu le Pays'' at an almost funereal tempo, which lent the aria a certain lifelessness in spite of Miss von Stade's sensitive and sonorous treatment of the text. But she knew what she was doing. As the opera progressed, her Mignon gradually conquered by the power of a purer love, not to mention the discovery in the final scene that she is the long lost daughter of a rich old gentleman named Lothario. Actually, it would be possible to play Mignon as a girl of considerably more spunk (she is not above wishing down lightning on Philine at one point), but Miss von Stade's sad and languid portrayal did set out the opera's moral and emotional contrasts effectively.
Mr. McCauley sounded overstrained and nasal in the higher regions of the part, but he sang ardently as Wilhelm Meister. Two newcomers stood out in this unusually deep and solid cast: Colette Alliot-Lugaz (Frederick) and Robert Lloyd (Lothario). Miss Alliot-Lugaz, a French mezzo making her American debut, not only hit the mark with her Gavotte but acted her buffo role with sparkle and wit. She would be worth some local opera company's attention. Mr. Lloyd, a British bass appearing in New York for the first time, showed a big, somewhat reedy voice and made the most of a perilously silly part. Those who saw the Syberberg film of ''Parsifal'' will remember him as an impressive Gurnemanz in that off-center enterprise.
Only good things should be said, too, for Barry Stilwell (Laerte), Kurt Link (Jarno) and James Busterud (Antonio), and a special merit badge goes to Dino Anagnost's Orpheon Chorale, which worked a cappella magic from the balcony at the beginning of the third act.
The Cast MIGNON, in concert form, opera in three acts by Ambroise Thomas; libretto by Michel Carre and Jules Barbier; conducted by Kenneth Montgomery; musical preparation, Stephen Lord; artistic consultant, Matthew A. Epstein; with Orpheon Chorale, Dino Anagnost, director. At Carnegie Hall. MignonFrederica von Stade PhilineGianna Rolandi Wilhelm MeisterBarry McCauley LotharioRobert Lloyd LaerteBarry Stilwell JarnoKurt Link FrederickColette Alliot-Lugaz AntonioJames Busterud
Frederica von Stade