Classical CD of the Month: Les Troyens From Strasbourg With Joyce DiDonato
by Jens F. Laurson
“Hector Berlioz’ epic Les Troyens: It’s daunting, it’s not particularly catchy, and it makes Götterdämmerung seem to go by in a breeze. It’s also a grand opera, perhaps even a great opera. Even so, it remains one of the more wonderful miracles of the classical music industry that a recording of this opera, of all works, should have made a record label… Now, 17 years after that last recording (not counting filmed versions, which have begun to outnumber pure sound recordings), Warner/Erato has issued John Nelson’s performance from Strasbourg with a modern-day almost-dream cast headed by Joyce DiDonato’s Dido. The result is controversial; I love it.
This recording topped my Meta-List of “Best Classical Recordings of 2017”that I compiled from a selection of such lists and is, in that sense, the most-saluted recording of last year …
On this recording you have the svelte and radiant voice of Joyce DiDonato’s as Didon … I’d like to think that for the amount of greater enjoyment I get from this interpretation over previous ones – up to the limit that my general skepticism towards the genre imposes on me – a modern listener inherently liking the genre will possibly also gain as much a greater enjoyment, if not more. And even if that weren’t the case, well… at least we’d have the ideal recording for those of us who might never love that type of thing but like it enough to expose themselves repeatedly. Either way: A worthy contribution to the small Trojan discography…”