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The MET Orchestra Performs Debussy, Ravel & More

The MET Orchestra, photo 2019 Richard Termine
The superb season of orchestral music at Carnegie Hall soon drawing to a close was enhanced by the marvelous appearance on the evening of Monday, June 3rd of the extraordinary musicians of the MET Orchestra under the dazzling direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in a stunning concert devoted to modernist French music.
The program began exhilaratingly with a mesmeric account of the Claude Debussy masterwork, La mer, first with a sparkling version of the opening movement, followed by a second movement notable for its lightness, and concluding with the most thrilling version of the finale that I have heard in the concert hall, in which Nézet-Séguin pushed the dynamics to a near limit.
The celebrated mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard then took the stage—looking impossibly gorgeous in a lacy white gown—for the Carnegie Hall premiere of the complete version of Henri Dutilleux’s final work, the song-cycleLe temps l’horloge,set to poems by Jean Tardieu, Robert Desnos, and Charles Baudelaire. The orchestrations were impressive and Leonard’s singing was luminous.
For the second half of the program, the singer returned to the stage for a lovely rendition of the beautiful Maurice Ravel song-cycle from 1903, Shéhérazade, set to poems by Tristan Klingsor. Leonard received an enthusiastic ovation.
The evening ended magnificently with a sterling performance of Ravel’s glorious Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2, which has become something of a signature work for Nézet-Séguin. This again elicited enormous, deserved applause. These fabulous musicians return to this venue for a final concert of the season on the evening of Friday, July 14th, along with the fantastic mezzo-soprano, Elīna Garanča.

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