Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmelites - Duval, Bouvier, Guiot, Sarroca, Bacquier, Mastromei; Fournet. Buenos Aires, 1965


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It was Poulenc’s wishes that Dialogues des Carmélites always be performed in the vernacular. It was a wise choice because hearing his conversational style of accompagnado recit in one’s own language brings a level of immediacy that really enhances this very esoteric and intimate work. However, hearing it sung in French by great French singers really goes a long way to drive home how quintessentially French this opera is. Denise Duval sings Blanche. Duval created roles in Les mamelles de Tirésias as well as La Voix humaine and often sang Blanche (although it was Virginia Zeani who created the role.) Duval has to simplify some of the higher passages, but she brings a fervency to the role of Blanche highlighting the character’s inner strength. Hélène Bouvier manages the perfect balance between imposing and frail as the Prioress. Andréa Guiot bring the best singing of the evening as Lidoine. Jean Fournet favors brisker tempos, eschewing Poulenc’s specific instructions. The peppy pace does a lot to overcome the static nature of this opera. The sound is very good.

OD 11047-2