Laurence Dale: French arias

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: André (Charles Prosper) Messager, Adolphe (Charles) Adam, Charles-François Gounod, Georges Bizet, Nicholas Etienne Méhul, Edouard(-Victoire-Antoine) Lalo, (François) Adrien Boïeldieu, Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, Francois (Emmanuel-Joseph) Bazin, Jules (Emile Frédéric) Massenet, (Charles Louis) Ambroise Thomas

Label: Le Chant du Monde

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: LDC278 934

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Fortunio André (Charles Prosper) Messager Composer
(Le) Postillon de Lonjumeau Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Montgomery
Laurence Dale
Adolphe (Charles) Adam Composer
Faust Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Charles-François Gounod Composer
Kenneth Montgomery
Laurence Dale
Ivan IV Georges Bizet Composer
Joseph Nicholas Etienne Méhul Composer
(Le) Roi d'Ys Laurence Dale
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Montgomery
Edouard(-Victoire-Antoine) Lalo Composer
(La) Dame blanche Laurence Dale
(François) Adrien Boïeldieu Composer
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Montgomery
Faust Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Laurence Dale
Kenneth Montgomery
Charles-François Gounod Composer
Sapho Laurence Dale
Charles-François Gounod Composer
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Montgomery
Fra Diavolo Laurence Dale
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber Composer
Kenneth Montgomery
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Maître Pathelin Francois (Emmanuel-Joseph) Bazin Composer
Sapho Charles-François Gounod Composer
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Montgomery
Laurence Dale
(Le) Roi d'Ys Kenneth Montgomery
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Laurence Dale
Edouard(-Victoire-Antoine) Lalo Composer
(La) Dame blanche (François) Adrien Boïeldieu Composer
Kenneth Montgomery
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Laurence Dale
Grisélidis Jules (Emile Frédéric) Massenet Composer
(La) Jolie fille de Perth, '(The) Fair Maid of Per Laurence Dale
Kenneth Montgomery
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Georges Bizet Composer
(La) Muette de Portici (Masaniello) Laurence Dale
Kenneth Montgomery
Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber Composer
Mignon Nancy Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Montgomery
Laurence Dale
(Charles Louis) Ambroise Thomas Composer
This issue comes with the best of credentials and intentions. Pierre Jourdan set up the Theatre Francais de la Musique two years ago ''to reaffirm the presence of a French identity in the musical, and particularly the operatic, domain and to encourage a revival in France and abroad of the French musical heritage''. With reference to this disc, Jourdan states that its aim is ''to restore the authentic style of interpretation and the particular nature of French singing … and to liberate it from the misguided borrowings from the Italian school''. These are laudable aims. And it is something of a tribute to this country that the young tenor Laurence Dale should be the vessel of this renaissance, but he has been set a formidable task.
In the dear, dead days of 78rpm, a tenor might have recorded the arias included here, adding up to 75 minutes of consistently beguiling music, over a studio career of ten years or so. Dale is asked to encompass the lot in two sessions. He is also, of course, pitting himself against the standard set by tenors such as Clement, Slezak, Villabella Thill, Crooks, McCormack, Nash and Gedda who recorded one or more of these pieces memorably in the past. Dale stands up pretty well to many of the comparisons. His sweet, easily produced and attractive tenor, French in character runs through most of these pieces pleasingly, the technique accomplished, the tone consistently fresh.
He is particularly successful in music calling for refined mezza voce such as Alain's elegiac aria from Griselidis, the Berceuse from La muette de Portici, where comparisons with Jadlowker are quite feasible and ''Viens, gentille dame'' from La dame blanche, where both his phrasing and his French are faultless. It is good to hear Faust's cavatine sung for once with French elegance and lightness. Both here and in the Serenade from La jolie fille de Perth comparisons with Heddle Nash are pertinent. Dale hasn't the earlier tenor's minstrel-like timbre nor his innate ardour, but the style is just as attractive. The high C in ''Salut demeure'' is a little suspect, and that is typical of the top notes throughout the recital. Above A the sound is somewhat parched and insubstantial Dale unable to produce either a real head voice or a substantial tone a la Thill. That he can sing with more strength and character, is, however, shown in the Gluck-like ''Champs paternels'', where he can stand comparison with McCormack, and the interesting aria from Gounod's Sapho. Everything is delivered in admirable French.
The support from Kenneth Montgomery and the Nancy orchestra is as idiomatic as the singing. The recording keeps an even balance between voice and instruments except in the Jolie fille Serenade where the singer is distanced, perhaps deliberately, to suggest the hero is below his beloved Catherine's window. Only the French words are provided.'

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