Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège Chœur de Chambre de Namur
with Jennifer Holloway, Véronique Gens, Judith van Wanroij Marie Gautrot, Ludivine Gombert, Edgaras Montvidas, Matthieu Lécroart, Christian Helmer, Artavazd Sargsyan, François Rougier, Sébastien Droy, Guilhem Worms, Matthieu Toulouse.
The injustices of history are made to be redressed. Here a cast of international singers, under the dynamic direction of Gergely Madaras, devotes itself with conviction to the task of reviving one of the forgotten glories of French Romantic opera. Hulda, completed in 1885, was never staged in César Franck’s lifetime. This gory medieval legend recounts the multiple acts of vengeance its heroine inflicts on the Aslak clan, which slaughtered her family, and on her unfaithful lover Eiolf. The ferocious performance of American soprano Jennifer Holloway in the title role is matched by the sinister presentiments of her French colleague Véronique Gens and the tender outbursts of Dutch soprano Judith van Wanroij. Although the imaginary Norwegian setting brings Wagner to mind, Franck continues the tradition of French grand-opéra while adopting the contemporary Verdian idiom. The intensity of the action is reflected in harmonic and instrumental experiments that place Franck in the forefront of the modernists of his time. The inventiveness of the ballet is matched only by the splendour of the choral writing. How could such a masterpiece have languished in oblivion for so long? Quite simply, because it was deliberately buried by Franck's pupils, who preferred to keep for themselves the glory of personifying the French operatic revival.
Recorded in Belgium (Namur Concert Hall, 17 May 2022 and Salle Philharmonique de Liège, 18-20 May 2022)
Contents of the book
Alexandre Dratwicki, Through the trapdoor of history
Gérard Condé, Modulez, modulez !
Alfred Bruneau, Hulda at the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo
Vincent Giroud, Nordic and Merovingian inspiration
in late nineteenth-century French opera