Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Otterphile – Berlioz: Les nuits d'été: Villenelle

This is not opera or regie. But even in concert, Ms. von Otter is a wonderful and expressive interpreter.  There are far too few videos of her at all, let alone singing opera.  

Ms. von Otter sang the entire Les nuits d'été in this concert. The songs are all on YouTube individually. 

Villenelle from Berlioz' Les nuits d'été

When verdant spring again approaches,
When winter's chills have disappeared,
Through the woods we shall stroll, my darling,
The fair primrose to cull at will.

The trembling bright pearls that are shining,
Each morning we shall brush aside;
We shall go to hear the gay thrushes

The flowers are abloom, my darling,
Of happy lovers 'tis the month;
And the bird his soft wing englossing,
Sings carols sweet within his nest.

Come with me on the mossy bank,
Where we'll talk of nothing else but love,
And whisper with thy voice so tender:

Far, far off let our footsteps wander,
Fright'ning the hiding hare away,
While the deer at the spring is gazing,
Admiring his reflected horns.

Then back home, with our hearts rejoicing,
And fondly our fingers entwined,
Lets return, let's return bringing fresh wild berries


  1. Lovely interpretaion and beautifully sung, but then I would expect nothing less from this artist. On the basis of just this song I found her voice to be more "sopranoish" (not a word I know) than mezzo. My favorite singer of these songs is de los Angeles, recorded in the fifties, but the most interesting was Jose van Dam on the Forlane label. I wish Teyte had recorded more but apparently Absence was the extent. DiStefano sang this in recital! Steber's was the first to record the entire cycle, I believe. All of it beautifully sung but if I remember some of the tempi were very slow. I did hear/see Baker with the LA Philharmonic sing the cycle--stunning.

  2. Hi David. Thanks for your comments,

    One of the many things I love about ASvO is her wonderful ability to color her voice to suit the music; a more extreme example is on her albums of pop music (with Elvis Costello, etc.)

    I was first introduced to this cycle by a tenor friend, whose favorite was "Le spectre de la rose." (I accompanied him @ the keyboard.) Since then I've only heard women singing it. I must seek out the van Dam recording.


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