Berlioz: Herminie; Les Nuits d'été; Ravel: Shéhérazade / Véronique Gens, soprano

Audio Samples

>Berlioz, Hector : Herminie, cantata ("scène lyrique") for soprano & orchestra, H. 29
>Berlioz, Hector : Les nuits d'été, Op. 7, song cycle
>Ravel, Maurice : Shéhérazade

Album Summary

>Berlioz, Hector : Herminie, cantata ("scène lyrique") for soprano & orchestra, H. 29
>Berlioz, Hector : Les nuits d'été, Op. 7, song cycle
>Ravel, Maurice : Shéhérazade
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Ondine is pleased to announce a new release by famous soprano Véronique Gens, who performs Herminie and Les Nuits d'été by Hector Berlioz and Shéhérazade by Maurice Ravel with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire under the baton of its music director John Axelrod. Véronique Gens is internationally recognized as one of the greatest sopranos. She has made a big career with baroque repertoire and Mozart, but French repertoire, especially Berlioz and Ravel, are "as natural to her as the air that she breathes". Her French remains a model of immaculate diction, fluid and luminous. Having a very special relationship to Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été and Herminie, Véronique Gens combines them on this release with Shéhérazade by Ravel, which conjures up a totally different world. On this CD Herminie is released the first time with Véronique Gens.

The charismatic conductor John Axelrod is music director of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire since 2009, following the philosophy of being "open to the world" by extraordinarily diverse repertoire choices and innovative programming. Also internationally he is a sought after conductor both for concerts and opera productions. Founded in 1971, the Orchestra National des Pays de la Loire, a "national" orchestra since 1996, is based in two cities, Angers and Nantes. Today about 200 concerts attract yearly 200,000 listeners, among them more than 10,000 subscribers. Biographies A prominent Baroque performer in recent years, soprano Véronique Gens has also become recognized as one of the world's finest Mozart singers. She performed Don Giovanni in Barcelona, Madrid, Glyndebourne, Munich and Vienna, La clemenza di Tito in Dresden and Barcelona, Così fan tutte in Tokyo and Baden-Baden, Cavalli's La Calisto in Munich, Paris and London, Pelléas et Mélisande at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gluck's Alceste in Aix-en-Provence, La finta giardiniera at the Salzburg Festival, Martin y Soler's Il burbero di buon cuore at the Teatro Real Madrid, Rameau's Castor et Pollux at the De Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, Iphigénie en Aulide at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and in Amsterdam, Iphigénie en Tauride at the Theater an der Wien, Niobe in London and Luxemburg, La veuve joyeuse in Lyon (available on DVD), Alice in Falstaff at the Baden-Baden Festival and in Nantes, Eva in a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Liceu in Barcelona and others. Her future projects include Don Giovanni in Vienna, London and Paris, Così fan tutte in Baden-Baden, Iphigénie en Aulide in Amsterdam, Il burbero di buon cuore in Barcelona, Alceste and Così fan tutte in Vienna, Falstaff in Munich, La clemenza di Tito in Brussels and Vienna, Dialogues des carmélites at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Der Freischütz at Staatsoper Berlin, Iphigénie en Tauride at the Theater an der Wien and numerous concerts and recitals. In 2006, Véronique Gens was nominated "Chevalier" by "L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres", and she has just been appointed "Chevalier" by the renowned "Légion d'honneur" in January 2011.

The Guardian - June 2012
As you might expect, Gens's singing has sharpened its musical perceptions still further and acquired even more shades of colour since [her] earlier recording. No one today delivers French song with the combination of tonal beauty and verbal nuance she does, and each number of Nuits d'Eté offers a miniature masterclass... Pure ravishment.

The Guardian
No one today delivers French song with the combination of tonal beauty and verbal nuance [Véronique Gens] does.

American Record Guide, November/December 2012
Gens began her career as a singer of Baroque music under William Christie, and that background shows here in her natural approach to diction and her delicate control in soft passages. These qualities are especially welcome in the song cycle, and this is one of the loveliest and most moving performances I have heard. The orchestra supports her with lively, flexible tempos and brilliant instrumental color, for a thrilling and deeply satisfying performance. Intelligent notes and full texts, in French and English.

WETA
This new album features fresh performances of fairly well-known works; Ravel's Shéhérazade and Berlioz' Les Nuits d'été, joined by the Loire National Orchestra, conducted by John Axelrod. There's also a performance of a relative rarity, and this recording may be a step in moving this early cantata by Berlioz into wider recognition.

MusicWeb International
On a previous disc, also a Recording of the Year, former baroque specialist Veronique Gens ventured into the 19th century world and sang Malheureux Roi from Berlioz's Les Troyens marvellously. On this new disc she further explores his music and comes down with a disc that challenges the former hegemony in Les nuits d'ètè: Regine Crespin and Janet Baker. As a bonus we also get the rarely heard Herminie.

Sunday Times, 9th July 2012
[Gens is] alive and vivid, giving a passionate account of the wonderful Sur les Lagunes. Elsewhere, she seems to me in too much of a hurry.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2012
Warm, sensitive, the lyrical French soprano par excellence...Gens bring [Herminie] to life as sympathetically as any of her operatic portrayals...It is unusual to encounter a recording of Les nuits d'ete in which the colouring is so consistent throughout...Gens has in her sights a purer kind of poetry.

BBC Music Magazine, October 2012
In her mid-forties, this voice has become richer and even more expressive, and he works on this disc suit her to perfection. She not only pronounces the words, she feels them...Her Nuits d'ete reilshes hues both light and dark, and if she'd been around to sing Berlioz's Prix de Rome cantata Herminie in 1828, who know, he might have won gold instead of silver.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Auditorium 2000, Nantes, France (2009-09-25&2010-10-26_2010-).



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Works Details

>Berlioz, Hector : Herminie, cantata ("scène lyrique") for soprano & orchestra, H. 29
  • Performer: Véronique Gens (Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Axelrod
  • Ensemble: Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire
  • Notes: Auditorium 2000, Nantes, France (2009-09-25&2010-10-26_2010-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 07/1829

>Berlioz, Hector : Les nuits d'été, Op. 7, song cycle
  • Performer: Véronique Gens (Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Axelrod
  • Notes: Auditorium 2000, Nantes, France (2009-09-25&2010-10-26_2010-)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 09/1841

>Ravel, Maurice : Shéhérazade
  • Performer: Véronique Gens (Soprano)
  • Conductor: John Axelrod
  • Notes: Auditorium 2000, Nantes, France (2009-09-25&2010-10-26_2010-)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1903