Bryan Hymel / Emmanuel Villaume

Héroïque: French Opera Arias

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In the public's mind, the heroic tenor is most strongly associated with the music dramas of Richard Wagner, and as a result, the German Fach system term Heldentenor is commonly used to describe this formidable vocal quality. Yet there were many heroic roles in French grand opera in the 19th century, and the arias that Bryan Hymel has selected for this 2015 Warner release demonstrate the prevalence of such singing (in French terminology, tenor fort français) in the works of Rossini, Berlioz, Massenet, Gounod, Meyerbeer, and others. This program is well-suited to Hymel's robust delivery and powerful voice, and he maintains remarkable control of the high tessitura, which is a regular feature of these arias. For all the martial or combative characteristics on display in Rossini's Amis, amis, secondez ma vengeance from Guillaume Tell, Verdi's Ô jour de peine et de souffrance from Les Vêpres siciliennes, and Inutiles regrets from Berlioz's Les Troyens, there are examples of intense lyricism, as found in Nature immense from Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, Je veux encore entendre ta voix from Verdi's Jérusalem, and Ô paradis sorti de l'onde...Conduisez-moi vers ce navire from Meyerbeer's L'Africaine. Emmanuel Villaume and the Prague Philharmonia give Hymel appropriate accompaniment, so the performances have the heightened emotion and drama of Romantic opera, and the recorded sound has the ambience of a theater setting, so listeners are treated to what feels like front-row seating.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Guillaume Tell
1 12:49
La Damnation de Faust
2 5:47
Jérusalem
3 5:32
Les Vêpres siciliennes
4 9:57
Les Troyens
5 6:12
La Reine de Saba
6 5:33
L'Africaine
7 7:07
Hérodiade
8 5:47
Sigurd
9 5:23
L'Attaque du moulin
10 4:35
Rolande et le mauvais garçon
11 4:04
blue highlight denotes track pick