Massenet : Don Quijote

1978 (Audio - Recital)

Director: Kazimierz Kord

  • Nicolai Ghiaurov (Don Quichotte)
  • Regine Crespin (Dulcinea)
  • Gabriel Bacquier (Sancho Panza)
  • Michele Command (Pedro)
  • Annick Dutertre (Garcia)

  •   Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Nicolai Ghiaurov
    At the beginning Don Quichotte looks all set to be Massenet's Falstaff. It was not his final opera, but it was his last great success; and if at the time of composition he was a mere lad of 67 compared with Verdi in his eightieth year when writing his comic masterpiece, Massenet had nevertheless plenty to contend with and to dampen the spirits.
    The opera opens in a brilliance of Spanish sunlight, reflected in music which dances and exults, youthful in its rhythmic vitality as in the sheer fecundity of invention. For four delightful acts the freshness is maintained, while at appropriate times (as with Falstaff) the mood deepens or simply quietens down.
    The trouble is that there is still an act to come, a death-scene which adds little to the characterization (the apotheosis of Quichotte having been movingly achieved in Act 4) or to what is valuable in the music. It can be played with restraint, as here, but it remains thin and sugary, a dilution at the end of this otherwise finely concentrated score.

    Nicolai Ghiaurov gives one of his finest performances on records: less touching and idiomatic than Vanni-Marcoux (the first Paris Don Quichotte) in his recorded extracts, but none the less sincere, with clear, well-schooled enunciation, and a sonorous beauty of tone which he disciplines so that it establishes authority without belying the saintly absurdity of the old knight.
    Bacquier, too, creates a character that comes to inspire respect and affection, and all the minor parts are well taken.
    Crespin, whose Dulcinée has been widely praised, seems to me miscast: the sound is too mature and gutsy.

    Enlaces relacionados
    Kazimierz Kord
    Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Regine Crespin
    Gabriel Bacquier