Messiaen: St François d’Assise

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: DG Ô20/21′
WORKS: St François d’Assise
PERFORMER: Dawn Upshaw, José van Dam, Chris Merritt, John Aler; Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Hallé Orchestra/Kent Nagano
CATALOGUE NO: 445 176-2
St François d’Assise differs from other operas. It is not just the Wagnerian length or that the extraordinary colours of this sublime masterpiece require an enormous orchestra and chorus, befitting of its status as the magnum opus of a composer not averse to largesse. St François is unusual because the drama is of an interior, spiritual nature, with no hint of the affairs, intrigues and murders which normally characterise the genre. It has been suggested that St François is not an opera at all, but this is an ill-founded notion which, despite faults, Peter Sellars’s 1992 production comprehensively dispelled.