Offenbach: Entre Nous: La diva, Les bergers, Le voyage dans la lune, Boule de neige, Les braconniers, Vert-vert, La permission de dix heures, etc

COMPOSERS: Offenbach
LABELS: Opera Rara
ALBUM TITLE: Offenbach
WORKS: Entre Nous: La diva, Les bergers, Le voyage dans la lune, Boule de neige, Les braconniers, Vert-vert, La permission de dix heures, etc
PERFORMER: ennifer Larmore, Alastair Miles, Yvonne Kenny, Mark Stone, Diana Montague, Laura Claycomb, Elizabeth Vidal, Colin Lee, Loic Félix, Mark Wilde, Cassandre Berthon, Mark le Brocq, Alexandra Sherman; London PO/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: ORR 243
Staged performances of Offenbach’s operettas in the UK often fail because they don’t quite hit the style – with its sophistication and Parisian chic – on the head. Somehow or other Opera Rara, utilising many regulars from the repertory company, plus some new faces, and taking in a few French names alongside Americans, Australians and many Brits, manage to do so here. Part of the secret lies in David Parry’s conducting, which offers exactly the right combination of delicacy, lightness and spirit.

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There are numerous wholly unfamiliar titles here: many are surely on disc for the first time, and there is not a dud amongst them. Rather, they illustrate the composer’s fertile melodic genius, and his ability to add in those clever little touches in harmony or orchestration that makes the listener really listen.

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Too many highlights to choose from, but for starters there’s Diana Montague and Mark le Brocq in a winning duet from Les braconniers, Laura Claycomb’s peerless vocalism in the haunting extract from Monsieur et Madame Denis, the train journey ensemble from Le Roi Carotte, and many more. Indispensable for Offenbach fans. George Hall