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Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini / Davis, Kunde, Claycomb, Jeffery, London Symphony Orchestra, et al

Album Summary

>Berlioz, Hector : Benvenuto Cellini, opera Op. 23
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Sir Colin Davis has made seven incredibly successful Berlioz recordings for LSO Live, which garnered praise from around the world and collected numerous awards. He now returns to his signature composer with this stellar 2007 recording of the opera 'Benvenuto Cellini' (1834-38), inspired by the picturesque life of the legendary Renaissance sculptor. Throughout his career, Sir Colin has shown a special affinity for the music of Berlioz, having almost single-handedly rescued much of it from obscurity. As with so many of his compositions, this flamboyant opera proved almost impossible to cast or stage in Berlioz's lifetime.

The Guardian Concert Review
In Davis's hands, its [the opera's] originality and imagination are fully vindicated. The cast attack the piece with skill and immense vigour. Gregory Kunde rises to the full stature of Berlioz's thinly disguised self-portrait of the artist as romantic hero. Davis's identification with the score brings out the best in his forces, allowing this neglected work to register as a masterpiece.

The Telegraph
Compared with The Damnation of Faust, BTatrice et Benedict and The Trojans, Benvenuto Cellini has always been Berlioz's Cinderella opera, a strange mixture of farcical comedy and hymn to the supremacy of art. But Colin Davis vindicates its dramatic qualities magnificently in this recording, despite the fact that it derives from concert performances. Its success is partly down to the vibrant playing of the LSO, but also to the way the cast members seem to interact vocally as if they were on stage. And the cast itself, mainly of younger singers, is very fine indeed, led by the resolute Cellini of Gregory Kunde.

Sunday Times
Conductor and tenor are the joint heroes of this exhilarating release... The American tenor Gregory Kunde doesn't have the most immediately appealing timbre, but the high tessitura holds no terrors for him, his sung French is good and, even in his early fifties, he manages to counterfeit the youthful braggadocio of Berlioz's likeable rapscallion. Davis remains the supreme Berliozian of our day, brilliantly evoking the mercurial wit of the comic repartee, the abandoned gaiety of the Roman carnival and the high drama and suspense of the climactic scene in the foundry, for the casting of Perseus... At LSO prices, this is a steal, and anyone who doesn't know this fabulous score should snap it up.

BBC Music Magazine
The combination of technology and the conductor's unimpaired Tlanmakes for glowing textures and shattering climaxes.

Gramophone Magazine
Davis and Co give Berlioz's joyous opera all the love and vitality it deserves. In a score that grows and growls from the bottom up, Davis's Berlioz sound comes into its own, certainly weightier than Nelson or Norrington but always watchful as the melodies and cross-rhythms cascade across the barlines.


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Works Details

>Berlioz, Hector : Benvenuto Cellini, opera Op. 23
  • Performers: Isabelle Cals (Mezzo Soprano); Laura Claycomb (Soprano); Peter Coleman-Wright (Bass); Alasdair Elliott (Tenor); Andrew Foster-Wililams; Andrew Foster-Wililams (Voice); Jacques Imbrailo (Bass); Darren Jeffrey (Bass); Gregory Kunde (Tenor); John Relyea (Bass); Andrew Vocal] (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Barbican, London, England (06/26/2007/06/29/2007)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 05/1834-09/1838
  • Studio/Live: Live