Friday, May 05, 2006


I am suddenly aware of the existence of French music, and even more astonishing, I am suddenly aware that I am interested in it. It is the repertoire with which I am least familiar, unless you count grunge bands.

Things contributing to this interest:

Susan Graham's La Belle Epoque, an album that I seem never to tire of.

Rolando Villazon's French arias.

A recently purchased dvd of Roméo et Juliette, the opera by Gounod, starring the tenor Roberto Alagna and his soprano wife Angela Gheorghiu. In this film all the other characters are sung by one person and acted by another, but the beautiful Alagnas play themselves. They were newly married at the time of this filming, and the sexual tension just leaps off the screen. The singing is also nice, though Roberto's style is not particularly French.

Régine Crespin's Les Nuits d'Été.

Véronique Gens.

I have been criticizing people, especially Americans, for their French pronunciation, but the further I get into French music the more I am aware of the enormous variation in how it is sung. How is one to decide? Whatever Régine Crespin is doing must be right. We will take her as the standard.

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