Friday, April 29, 2011

Jules Massenet - La Navarraise - Horne, Domingo, Milnes, Lewis







"Worth waiting for" said the advertisement. And indeed the opera worth the rediscovery. It opens and closes with, as well as offering several reminders of, a big bold tune in D minor, full orchestra fff, that nowadays would make a fortune for someone as the 'theme music' of an epic film. It continues (and here is an attraction to the makers of 'large-scale' stereo recordings) with tremendous noises of canons and rifles which on the first night, as Bernard Shaw put it, "did heavy execution among the ladies and gentlemen who cultivate their nerves onMarilyn Horne and Henry Lewis in 1961, photo by Carl Van Vechten tea and alcohol"; and it has a grand part for the heroine, especially if she takes a pride in the "voix rauque", the "voix etranglee" and the "crise de nerfs supreme" culminating (though the score does not insist on this) in a peal of mad laughter. Attention is not allowed to wander, and although the tenor does have an aria it is only ninety seconds long, and not even Polonius could complain about that. There are also: Drinking Song (combined with Soldiers' Chorus), Love Duet, Mad Scene and Intermezzo (entitled Nocturne). I suppose that Shaw, who enjoyed himself hugely on that first night, was right when he said that Massenet "has not composed an opera; he has made up a prescription", especially when he adds "and his justification is that it has been perfectly efficacious". That means that, like its prototype Cavalleria Rusticana, it is strongly theatrical, melodious and emotional.

Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Placido Domingo,  Sherrill Milnes,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Nicola Zaccaria, Ryland Davies,  Leslie Fyson
Conductor:  Henry Lewis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus


flac, covers


  1. is it possible to learn somewhere the schedule of the Otto Opera house radio?? I wouldnt like to miss something of special importance to me:)))

  2. Dear asperias, I am sorry to tell you that there is not a schedule as such. Due to the broadcasting of automatic listener requests it is impossible to give a time table. See here:

    best regards



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