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Berlioz heralds another successful record for John Nelson

John Nelson continues to pursue his passion for Berlioz with this version of The Damnation of Faust (La Damnation de Faust).

Door François Hudry | Video van de dag | 26 november 2019

After his spectacular recording of Berlioz’s magnum opus, the opera Les Troyens, which was awarded internationally, the Berlioz enthusiast John Nelson has delivered a new version of La Damnation de Faust which also appears to be on track for dizzying success.

For this recording made in concert by Daniel Zalay and his team of sound engineers in the Erasme Auditorium of the Palais de la musique et des congrès de Strasbourg (Strasbourg Convention Centre) on the 25th and 26th of April 2019, John Nelson reunited with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, whose typically French style and German discipline he likes so much. The army of instrumentalists would have certainly pleased Berlioz, with its eight double basses and six harps among others.

John Nelson knows his way round this music like no one else, he knows to inject it with a particular energy all while respecting the musical colour so well defined by the composer. Furthermore, he is surrounded by the cast of dreams, with Faust masterfully portrayed by the tenor Michael Spyres who sings the French perfectly and knows how to embody the character by playing on the quality of his tonality. Joyce DiDonato is an opulent Marguerite, full of fire and totally engaged. Nicolas Courjal plays a very expressive Mephisto; his sombre tone underlines the darkness and bitter irony of the character he plays.

The children’s choir Les Petits Chanteurs de Strasbourg and the powerful Gulbenkian Choir perfectly round off this ideal casting. La Damnation de Faust is a new milestone in the recording of Berlioz’s main works under John Nelson’s direction for the label Erato: this accomplished record precedes Roméo et Juliette which the same artists will undertake in 2020.


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