Yannick Nézet-Séguin / Anna Caterina Antonacci / Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Cleopatra

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On this 2010 super audio CD, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra present an exceptional orchestral showcase that Berlioz fans will relish. The performance of Symphonie fantastique is filled with sharp details and startling effects in the high-quality multichannel recording, yet the sound of the orchestra is rich and full, so the most desired audio features are captured without sacrificing one for the other. The dynamic range is quite wide, from the barely perceptible pianissimos of the first movement to the shattering orchestral tutti in the last two movements, so listeners may find some minor volume adjustments are necessary along the way. But the excitement of the performance is worth the trouble, and Nézet-Séguin's fluid and lively interpretation makes this one of the most compelling versions of Symphonie fantastique available in the SACD format. The lyric scene Cléopâtre, also known as La mort de Cléopâtre, which was one of Berlioz's early attempts to win the Prix de Rome, is provided as filler. Soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci gives the scene great emotional energy and an operatic character, and the orchestra plays with vitality and vivid colors, so this minor work is at least a fun bonus that adds value to the package.

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