Felicien David - Herculanum
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special offer ending 29/08/2019
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Label: Bru Zane
Cat No: ES10208RSK
Format: CD + Book
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 18th September 2015
Flemish Radio Choir
Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra
Félicien David was already famous through his ‘ode-symphonie’ 'Le Désert' (1844) when his opera Herculanum was first staged at the Paris Opéra in 1859. This ambitious work, later to gain him entrance to the Opéra-Comique and the Institut de France, also played a part in earning him the Légion d’Honneur.
Leaving behind the Middle Eastern inflections of his earlier scores, Herculanum is a remarkably strong composition (vast, intensely dramatic scenes), impressive in the diversity of its style (including Verdian influences) and its vocal variety (including the rare coloratura contralto voice often used by Rossini).
There is also a fantastic vein, as made popular by Boieldieu (La Dame blanche, 1825) and Meyerbeer (Robert le Diable, 1831), but the supernatural is used here to serve an openly stated mysticism: the eruption of Vesuvius brings a spectacular, cataclysmic ending, signifying the decadence of the ancient world and the triumph of Christianity.
- Véronique Gens: Lilia
- Karine Deshayes: Olympia
- Edgaras Montvidas: Hélios
- Nicolas Courjal: Nicanor / Satan
- Julien Véronèse: Magnus
- Ralph P Locke: Félicien David - not satellite but star
- Étienne Jardin: ‘Herculanum’ in David’s output
- Hector Berlioz: An account of the première
- Alexandre Dratwicki: ‘Herculanum’ in a time of change in French ‘grand opéra’
- Gunther Braam: The reception in the contemporary press
- Joseph Méry: To Lilia
+ complete libretto in French and English
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