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ClassicsOnline Home » GOUNOD, C.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Baumer)
A Rare French Opera
Gounod may be known to most opera lovers for Faust but after that perhaps only Romeo et Juliette and Mireille get an occasional hearing. La Nonne Sanglante was his third opera following the largely unsuccessful operas Sapho and Ulysses based on classical themes. Gounod thought he'd try his luck with a work of Gothic horror based on Matthew Lewis' famous novel 'The Monk'.
The plot is bizarre (but when has that been a problem in opera?!) but offers up plenty of opportunity for spooky atmosphere and orchestral special effects right out of the Berlioz school. The work is competent and makes entertaining if not compelling listening. Gounod was essentially a tunesmith and there are a few good ones here intermingled with some pretty bland numbers. The spectral scene of our hero's marriage to a ghost is the highlight with its dramatic scoring. The page boy Arthur who it is supposed was to provide light relief from the main drama has too much material and detracts too much from the main plot.
The cast whilst not exactly stellar does a pretty fair job at giving this neglected work a fair hearing. Both female leads are good and the South Korean tenor Yoonki Baek has a pleasant somewhat lightweight tone but sings with real feeling. The minor roles are adequately filled with no individual particularly shining.
The orchestral playing and recorded sound are both excellent. All in all an opera for the collector interested in hearing more than just the old favorites repeated time and time again.more....
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GOUNOD, C.: Nonne sanglante (La) [Opera] (Baumer)