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Poulenc: La Voix humaine; La Dame de Monte-Carlo / Felicity Lott, soprano; Armin Jordan

Audio Samples

>Poulenc, Francis : La voix humaine, opera, FP 171
>Poulenc, Francis : La dame de Monte Carlo, monologue lyrique for soprano & orchestra, FP 180

Album Summary

>Poulenc, Francis : La voix humaine, opera, FP 171
>Poulenc, Francis : La dame de Monte Carlo, monologue lyrique for soprano & orchestra, FP 180
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

A young woman talks over the phone to her lover, whom we never hear; tomorrow he is going to marry someone else... Several times the conversation is interrupted as the line is cut, each time with dramatic effect; and behind this everyday banality, we realize that we are witnessing a veritable descent to the depths with this abandoned woman. Three years after La Voix humaine (his "sad and lovely child", as he used to refer to it with Denise Duval, its first performer), Poulenc was to conclude his collaboration with Cocteau by writing the short monologue that completes this CD: he musical style has not changed, but this time, the depths are those of the Mediterranean, in which the old lady of Monte-Carlo, "a dead woman among the dead" has decided to plunge for the last time... This title was released for the first time in 2001.

ClassicsToday
Felicity Lott has an excellent, well-earned reputation as an interpreter of Poulenc, so it was probably only a matter of time before she got around to recording these two splendid monodramas. She does well by both, but in La Voix humaine she faces the stiffest competition from hyper-neurotic Denise Duval's classic account on EMI. Lott offers superb French diction, and in the opera's desperate final moments she rises to paroxysms of despair every bit as effective as Duval's. It's only at such points as the description of her attempted suicide where Duval's ambiguous lightness of touch scores over Lott's less manipulative sincerity. With Lott there's no question that she's telling the truth. Duval keep us guessing. But let's not make too much of this. Lott's is a very fine account, made more so by Jordan's sympathetic accompaniment and richly truthful recorded sound.

The same high performance values characterize the coupling. Lott recorded La Dame de Monte-Carlo in its piano version with Graham Johnson for Forlane, and she's every bit as successful in the work's orchestral guise. Arguably this role suits her better than La Voix humaine: Lott's experience as a Strauss heroine serves her very well in creating a portrait of upper crust insanity, and the protagonist here is, after all, deadly serious. In short, the piece has never been better done. If you're looking for a good modern recording of these two works, here it is.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2012
The outstanding English lyric soprano of her generation performs Poulenc's tragic monodrama, plus its concert-hall successor. Excellent orchestral playing.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Victoria Hall de Genève (04/02/2001-04/03/2001).



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Works Details

>Poulenc, Francis : La voix humaine, opera, FP 171
  • Conductor: Armin Jordan
  • Ensemble: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
  • Notes: Victoria Hall de Genève (04/02/2001-04/03/2001)
  • Running Time: 40 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1958

>Poulenc, Francis : La dame de Monte Carlo, monologue lyrique for soprano & orchestra, FP 180
  • Performer: Felicity Lott
  • Conductor: Armin Jordan
  • Notes: Victoria Hall de Genève (04/02/2001-04/03/2001)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1961