Fantasio is considered one of Offenbach’s most beautiful and refined works. A heady cocktail of charm, gracefulness and gentle melancholy, of bad-tempered jokes and poetry, Fantasio marks the crucial step in Offenbach’s path towards The Tales of Hoffmann. Among the least known of Offenbach’s works it received only 10 performances following its very brief run in Paris in 1872 before it was dropped from the repertoire. This recording marks the world premiere studio recording of the complete opera using the new critical edition by Jean-Christophe Keck.
Recommended: not so much for the performance or even the work as for the experience. And even that is not necessarily something you will want to repeat very often. The point is that it may be now or never. Robert le diable, received triumphantly in Paris at its premiere in 1831, took centre- stage in the opera houses of Europe for two or three decades: a pantechnicon of an opera I was about to call it, and then thought to see what the dictionary had to say, finding there ‘the name of a bazaar of all kinds of artistic work’ – and the date 1830!
EMI's generous compilation of 100 tracks from its archive of recordings by Maria Callas makes a fine introduction to her legacy. Callas' voice isn't consistent throughout, but when she's at her best, it's easy to hear the musical and dramatic power that made her the most legendary opera singer of the 20th century. She is impressive often enough that it's not hard to forgive the performances that are less than stellar. The six-disc collection is intelligently organized, with each disc dedicated to a particular composer (or several composers) or a theme: Bellini; Donizetti and Rossini; Verdi; Puccini; French operatic heroines; and dramatic heroines.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their first double-disc album, this box of 5 CDs recounts the musical adventure of the P'tits Loups du Jazz troupe: choirs of children aged 6 to 14 accompanied by professional jazz musicians under the direction of Olivier Caillard, choir conductor, jazz pianist and pedagogue. Traditional and modern jazz, Caribbean or Brazilian music and original compositions, are the support for the creation of texts by children, who appropriate this repertoire alive and too rarely played for them. A 6th bonus CD, includes the instrumental parts of some songs of the Little Wolves whose great success "Mamadou had a toothache", as well as an unpublished Christmas song and several titles of the Olivier Caillard repertoire from the catalog of the Enfance label and Music. "A gift that will delight young and old!"
Sylvain Cambreling is one of the leading French operatic conductors. He is known for his often startling innovations in many opera productions: in a performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the 2001 Salzburg Festival he employed a synthesizer to deliver recitative accompaniments, and at a performance of Janácek's Katya Kabanova, he used some of the composer's songs as transitional material between acts.
Michel Plasson is one of the most important French conductors from the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. He is well known for his interpretations of French opera, particularly those of Gounod and Massenet. He has also received praise for his work in the choral music of Duruflé and Fauré, and the orchestral works of Magnard, Ravel, and other French composers.