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Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
Fanfare, March 2017

MASSENET, J.: Manon [Opera] (Liberatore, Doyen, Joakim, Tchuradze, Delcour, Chorus and Orchestra de L'Opera Royal de Wallonie, Davin) CDS7751
MASSENET, J.: Manon (Opéra Royal de Wallonie, 2014) (NTSC) DYN-37751

This video and double CD capture the same 2014 performance from the Royal Opéra de Wallonie of Jules Massenet’s Manon, directed by Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera. An attractive and well-sung effort, the production gives a solid and pleasing account of Massenet’s moving opera…

Patrick Davin conducts the orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opéra de Wallonie with verve, growing in stature throughout the performance… As Manon, Annick Massis gives a warm, down-to-earth performance, …Vocally, she manages the range of the part well from the Cour de la Reine scene to St. Sulpice, and her tone remains creamy and centered throughout. Alessandro Liberatore makes a virile Des Grieux; his is a bright, unforced, pleasing tenor that demonstrates complete command of the role’s tessitura, …Pierre Doyen is a rich voiced Lescaut; Roger Joakim an authoritative Des Grieux père, while the trio of actresseses—Sandra Pastrana, Alexise Yerna, and Sabine Conzen—and Patrick Delcour as De Bretigny all sing stylishly. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, January 2017

…we are treated to excellent sound from the orchestra with a lot of instrumental detail. The solo voices are also well reproduced and climaxes with chorus, ensemble and orchestra are impressively punchy. Patrick Davin, who is first guest conductor of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, leads his forces convincingly and avoids too much sentimentality, which can easily make this music cloying.

The star of this performance is Annick Massis, one of the leading French sopranos since the early 1990s. …She has preserved all the characteristics of a lyric soprano admirably: beautiful tone, impressive coloratura, excellent trill and—most important—deep involvement and ability to shade the tone from soft pianissimo to full-blown fortissimo. When she pulls all the stops…her brilliant top notes ring out with tremendous power.

Pierre Doyen is a very good Lescaut, equipped with a well-schooled baritone of great beauty. Roger Joakim’s Le comte des Grieux is stern and authoritative and both Papuna Tchuradze and Patrick Delcour make worthy portraits of Guillot de Morfontaine and De Brétigny. Pousette, Rosette and Javotte are mostly heard in ensembles—and good they are. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, September 2016

…tenor Papuna Tchuradze and baritone Patrick Delcour sing excellently, bringing their characters to life with secure, vibrant tone and animated, intelligent use of text. …The trio of Spanish soprano Sandra Pastrana, Belgian mezzo-soprano Alexise Yerna, and Belgian soprano Sabine Conzen make Poussette, Rosette, and Javotte far more than the twittering ciphers that they are in many performances of Manon. Skillfully and mellifluously blending their voices, the ladies sing delightfully, creating distinctive vignettes that cast the ladies individually and collectively as effective foils for Manon.

The Comte des Grieux of baritone Roger Joakim is a commanding figure in the drama as an aptly authoritarian father for Des Grieux. Singing robustly throughout the performance…

…French soprano Annick Massis is here a Manon of exceptional charisma and absolute, almost insouciant comfort with the music… © 2016 Voix des Arts Read complete review

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