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Flury: Die helle nacht

Daniel Ochea, Julia Sophie Wagner, Magnus Vigilius; Gottingen Symphony Orchestra/Paul Mann (Toccata Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Flury
Die helle Nacht
Daniel Ochea, Julia Sophie Wagner, Magnus Vigilius; Gottingen Symphony Orchestra/Paul Mann
Toccata Classics TOCC 0580   106:49 mins (2 discs)

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Despite support from leading musicians in his lifetime, the Swiss composer Richard Flury (1896-1967) languishes in obscurity. This studio recording confirms the exceptional quality of the second of his four operas, Die helle Nacht: a dark and at times macabre piece, this had just one broadcast performance in 1935, and still awaits a staging. Set in Paris, 1514, its central character is a Doctor with an almost pathological jealousy of his wife Solange, who 15 years earlier had a night of infidelity with a hedonistic Knight. Chance presents him an opportunity to take revenge upon her lover. At first he seizes it, but ultimately relents, allowing the Knight to live. The opera ends on a note of redemption and renewal.

Composed 1932-35, the opera’s rich and complex late-Romantic idiom recalls Strauss, Korngold and even momentarily Berg. The instrumentation is not enormous, yet Flury’s soundworld is lavish and his orchestration virtuosic. There’s a lyricism to his vocal lines, too. Daniel Ochoa delivers a keenly etched psychological portrayal of the Doctor, while Magnus Vigilius’s buoyant Heldentenor makes a brave shot at the role of the Knight. Julia Sophie Wagner is an expressive Solange. Impressive standards from both chorus and orchestra, and Paul Mann’s conducting has vitality.

George Hall

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