Hector Berlioz: Les Nuits d'été, Op. 7; La Mort de Cléopâtre (1982)
Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano; Jessye Norman, soprano
Orchestre de Paris; Daniel Barenboim, conductor
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 184 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 120 Mb | Scans ~ 58 Mb
Classical, Vocal | Label: Deutsche Grammophon | # 445 594-2 | Time: 00:52:19
Kiri Te Kanawa does well by these songs, avoiding the billowing excesses of sentiment that in other hands (or vocal chords) can make them sound much too soggy. Although Berlioz gathered them all together under the present title, all of the songs were composed at different times for different singers, so they aren't really a cycle at all. I seldom listen to all of them at once, and you should feel free to take them in any order that suits you. "The Death of Cleopatra" is an early cantata that perfectly suits Jessye Norman's stately delivery. She's always at her best playing royalty, and if they're dying in mortal agony, so much the better.