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Clive Paget
Opera News, January 2020

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

This Gounod bicentenary production from the Opéra Comique takes itself very seriously and, with first-rate soloists and a period orchestra, allows us to catch a rarity unlikely to be performed again any time soon.

Michael Spyres—the go-to French tenor du jour—is perfect casting as Rodolphe; his ability to slip from heroic chest into a head mix is miraculous. His aria beseeching the nun’s blessing, “Du Seigneur, pâle fiancée,” and the optimistic “Un jour plus pur” are sung with ardency and—more important—dramatic intelligence. Vannina Santoni is a radiant Agnès with an exciting top. As the titular nun, Marion Lebègue has fake eyeballs, and she’s not afraid to use them. Fortunately, she also has a warm mezzo and a winning stage presence. Jodie Devos almost steals the show as Rodolphe’s squire. This cheeky chappie seems to have wandered in from the Bouffes-Parisiens next door, but with her bright soprano and razor-sharp diction, Devos nails a pair of upbeat arias. André Heyboer and Jean Teitgen do sterling duty as Rodolphe’s father and the hermit, respectively. © 2020 Opera News Read complete review



James A. Altena
Fanfare, January 2020

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

Every singer except Michael Spyres is French, and his pronunciation is quite good as well. Better yet, every single voice, down to the smallest comprimario roles, is a pleasure to hear: clear, steady, elegant, pleasant in timbre, in tune, and on the beat. To observe that Spyres and Santoni strain a bit on a couple of stratospheric high notes is the closest thing to a tiny nit that I have to pick. Spyres, a now well-established figure in Rossini bel canto, is likewise in his element here.

Laurence Equilbey is in full command from the podium of all her forces, leading with energy and grace, and the orchestra and chorus are in stellar form. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, December 2019

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

Jérome Boutillier has a well-burnished baritone that rises superbly to his Mon fils me fuit en vain; Jodie Devos as the page who assumes principal soprano duties in Act Three is suitably perky, and Jean Teitgen is nicely sonorous as the would-be peace-making friar whose music in some ways echoes Father Laurence in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette…And the chorus and orchestra both fizz with excitement under the baton of Laurence Equilbey. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, December 2019

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

This opera, not heard for a century and a half, reappeared about a decade ago. This is its second recording, first on video. Gounod admirers will certainly want this excellent performance of this masterwork. This was chosen as a Recording of the Month. © 2019 MusicWeb International



Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, November 2019

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

Jodie Devos makes a charming page, and Jérôme Boutillier, who learnt the part in 48 hours, is eloquent in Luddorf’s remorseful aria, ‘De mes fureurs deplorable victime’. The real weight of the action falls on the shoulders of Rodolphe. Michael Spyres is first-rate: assertive in ‘Du Seigneur, pale fiancée’, lyrical in ‘Un jour plus pur’, he sings throughout with generous, openthroated tone. And Laurence Equilbey conducts her choral and orchestral forces with passion. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Michael Schulman
The WholeNote, October 2019

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

Tenor Michael Spyres (Rodolphe) dominates the action—his arias presage Gounod’s great tenor arias for Faust and Roméo—and with his sweet yet powerful voice he sings them all magnificently! Paralleling Spyres’ intense, thrilling vocalism are sopranos Vannina Santoni (Agnès) and Jodie Devos (Arthur, Rodolphe’s page), and mezzo Marion Lebègue (Nun). Conductor Laurence Equilbey’s minor cuts, mostly in the ballet, help propel the excitement throughout.

Enthusiastically recommended to all lovers of great singing! © 2019 The WholeNote Read complete review



Records International, September 2019

This ground-breaking production features memorable set pieces enhanced by the stark drama of the stage setting and brilliant cinematic lighting effects. The recording took place in June 2018 at the Opéra Comique in Paris, France. © 2019 Records International Read complete review



Keris Nine
OperaJournal, August 2019

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

This is a great time to be enjoying opera. Not only are we able to share in the brief revivals of such fascinating rare works on DVD, but the High Resolution audio presentation of works like this is just incredible.

…The music beautifully distributed to the surrounds, exhibiting all the clarity and detail of the score and the performances, creating a wonderful theatrical ambience. Voices ring out—particularly Spyres lyrical tenor voice—and the big dramatic moments hit home. © 2019 OperaJournal Read complete review




The Times (London), August 2019

GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110632
GOUNOD, C.-F.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0097V

Pleasures considerably boosted by American tenor Michael Spyres, fluent and tireless as Rodolphe (rarely off stage), Jodie Devos as his servant, and the lively period instrument sounds of Laurence Equilbey's Insula Orchestra. © 2019 The Times (London)



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2019

Like so many opera composers, one hugely popular work overshadowed everything else they wrote, Faust being the score that took Gounod to international fame.

Such was the fate of La Nonne Sanglante, a work that had preceded Faust by five years, yet its favourable reception at that juncture proved unable to save it, and it quickly dropped from the repertoire when Faust arrived. The story, set in 11th century Bohemia, is totally absurd, and it is to the credit that this production from David Bobee, who—apart from ghosts—manages to bring a semblance of sanity to the plot, his fight scene, that takes us through the overture, becoming gruesomely realistic. He equally manages the many scene changes with a natural flow and realism, though the presence of neon tube lights rather spoils the opening act. Move to Gounod’s music, and we find a score liberally endowed with easily memorable arias and dramatic choral scenes backed by high impact orchestral writing. And what of the cast? Gounod’s writing for the pivotal role of Rodolphe is little short of Wagnerian, and in the American tenor, Michael Spyres, we have that required heroic quality in abundance, his third act Cavatine—that could quite well come from Siegfried—being particularly rewarding. The female cast is headed by the much acclaimed and travelled soprano, Vannina Santoni, who has a mix of lyric beauty and steely decisiveness the role of Agnes requires. Setting the story into action, the French baritone, Jean Teitgen, is vocally formidable as the Holy man, Pierre, and I was particularly drawn to the young soprano, Jodie Devos, in the male role of Arthur. The Insula Orchestra uses period instruments, though I doubt you would guess that aspect in some highly charged participation, while their founder conductor, Laurence Equilbey, shapes and moulds the score with a fervent belief in its musical qualities. I started out reading the libretto with a sinking feeling, and ending up much enjoying it, the large stage of the Paris Opera Comique often filled with action, the filming crew fulfilling the task of capturing those scenes, and mixing them with close-ups in the more intimate moments. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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