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Tim Ashley
Gramophone, April 2020

THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110640
THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0103V

An alternative take on Hamlet, staged to mark the opera’s 150th anniversary, and starring some wonderful soloists.

Where Roussillon scores highly is in his often remorseless closeup focus on Degout so that we see every furrow of sorrow on his face and every glint of desire or anger in his eyes. [Degout] gives one of his greatest performances here, marvellously sung and acted, with every gesture, vocal and physical, affording us insight into Hamlet’s disturbed psyche: it’s an extraordinary achievement. Devieilhe makes an outstanding Ophélie, touching and vulnerable, her coloratura dazzlingly precise but never vacuously showy. Louis Langrée really knows how to make this music live and breathe, and the playing, choral singing and recorded sound are all exemplary. Buy it and watch it, above all for Degout, who is unmissable and unforgettable. © 2020 Gramophone



Mike Parr
MusicWeb International, February 2020

THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110640
THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0103V

Stéphane Degout is a sombre-looking Hamlet who conveys much of his inner torment through his eyes. He fills the music with a beautiful chestnut-coloured baritone. His caressing of the phrases he sings during the Act 1 duet with Ophelia is particularly striking.

Sabine Devieilhe is truly the Ophelia of one’s dreams. She looks the part perfectly, and the crystalline brilliance of her soprano fills every aspect of this role.

The Les éléments chorus are a wonderful addition to this performance. Their sound is clean and supple when compared to the usual opera house chorus. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review




François Laurent
Diapason, February 2020

The video recording heightens our wonder at Cyril Teste’s spectacular Hamlet by [Ambroise] Thomas, illuminated in 2018 by the duo Stéphane Degout and Sabine Devieilhe. © 2020 Diapason



Pamela Margles
The WholeNote, January 2020

THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110640
THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0103V

Sabine Devielhe, a natural heir to the fabulous, now-retired Natalie Dessay, is a delight as Ophélie, with her formidable agility and charm. Stéphane Degout is a compelling presence, expressive and brooding in the title role. Mezzo Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo’s Gertrude is powerfully searing, while bass-baritone Laurent Alvaro humanizes Claudius with finely shaded details. The Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, playing on period instruments, and the choir Les éléments, all under conductor Louis Langrée, who has long been devoted to this great opera, are elegant and responsive. © 2020 The WholeNote Read complete review



Rafael de Acha
Rafael’s Music Notes, November 2019

THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (NTSC) 2.110640
THOMAS, A.: Hamlet [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2018) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0103V

Coloratura soprano Sabine Devielhe is one of the finest interpreters of the role of Ophélie I have ever encountered. Pretty as a picture, formidable top notes, technically flawless, stunning Mad Scene.

The Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, led by Louis Langrée plays beautifully and idiomatically. © 2019 Rafael's Music Notes Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2019

Turn the clock back to 1980 and I was watching the first modern UK revival of Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet in the gorgeous acoustics of the Buxton Opera House. It had the young Thomas Allen in the name role and was broadcast by the BBC, pirate copies on tape soon finding the performance transferred onto LP disc, and snapped up by those looking for rare operas. It may well have been the sale of those discs that helped spark a new Decca release four years later featuring Joan Sutherland, who had recently sung the role in Sydney. So it was that it crept back into the fringe of the opera repertoire. When first staged there had been many who were displeased with Michel Carre and Jules Barbier, the librettists who had taken very many liberties in adapting the play by William Shakespeare, even to the point of omitting major characters. Yet arriving at a much reduced story did meet the needs of a fluid opera, their compromises probably as close as they could get to the original. Initially the opera found a welcome from audiences, and following its 1868 Paris premiere, there were productions in London and New York. Yet by the 1930’s it had totally dropped from view. Now the producer, Cyril Teste, has laid his hands on it for a new staging at the Opera Comique in Paris, updating the action to the present day. …the assembled cast is excellent, the French baritone, Stephane Degout—probably better known as a recital singer—putting that part of his career to good use in creating a suitably ruminative Hamlet. The audience applause was rather slanted towards the attractive soprano, Sabine Devieilhe, in the role of Ophelia, the love story of her towards Hamlet having been much highlighted by the librettists. I also particularly enjoyed the mezzo voice of Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo as Hamlet’s mother, while the smooth tenor of Julien Behr as Laerte was admirable. The Orchestra des Champs-Elysees gives very good and colourful support with the conductor, Louis Langree… Filmed on the 19 and 21 December 2018, I have seen it in standard DVD format, but it is also available in Blu-ray format (NBD 0103V). © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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