OP0406. MIGNON (Thomas), recorded, 1977, w.de Almeida Cond. Marilyn Horne, Alain Vanzo, Ruth Welting, Nicola Zaccaria, Frederica von Stade, etc. 3-Sony SM3K 34590, w.Elaborate 108pp. Libretto-Brochure in French, German & English. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 074643459020
“Mignon is here affectingly sung by Marilyn Horne. She easily sustains the very slow speed adopted for ‘Connais tu le pays?’….Horne, not unexpectedly, fulfils all the coloratura possibilities of the extended version of the ‘Styrienne’ but she really comes into her own in the impassioned scene later in Act 2, ‘Elle est la’ where Mignon almost commits suicide in her despair at Wilhelm's infatuation for the flighty Philine. This is also Thomas at his best, relating his music surely to the needs of the text.
Von Stade's delightfully fresh and liquid sound as Frederic leaves one guessing what she might have made of the title part. The Gavotte inserted for Trebelli is done breezily and cleanly by von Stade, whose Frederic thoroughly deserves to win the hand of Ruth Welting's enchanting Philine. Welting brings just the right coquettish charm to the part and sings with the light insouciance of a French soprano of an earlier generation. The Polonaise, very difficult in its uncut version, has bright and natural coloratura and excellent trills. The Forlane, in the appendix (its main theme appears in the Overture), is no less expertly and winningly sung—to a flute and harpsichord accompaniment. Alain Vanzo follows his recent Nadir in HMV's PECHEURS DE PERLES with an even more accomplished performance, elegant yet involved, as Wilhelm Meister. His timbre, very similar to that of Alfredo Kraus, is ideally suited to the part, and his versions of ‘Adieu, Mignon’ and ‘Elle ne croyait pas’, while not effacing those of all his most famous predecessors, deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as theirs. Old Lothario is a gift of a part for a warm bass. The veteran Zaccaria, calling to mind at times Vanni Marcoux, at others late Pinza, makes the most of it. The tone spreads at the top of his register but is at all times greatly sympathetic, even in a rather too emphatic account of the ‘Berceuse’. Battedou is a lively Laerte. Almeida obviously loves the piece….He secures idiomatic playing from his orchestra.”
- GRAMOPHONE, Oct., 1978