When I mentioned I was reviewing this new Meyerbeer recording, I discovered just how low my colleagues held his music. Robert Schumann didn’t care much for it, but I think he — and others — miss the point. Giacomo Meyerbeer wasn’t out to make pronouncements from God (like Wagner) — he wanted to write entertaining, successful operas. He achieved his goals, and the music in the collection demonstrates why.
Included are instrumental works from Meyerbeer’s biggest hits — “Robert le Diable,” “Les Huguenots,” and “L’Africaine” — along with selections from “Dianorah and Le Prophete. Meyerbeer wrote almost exclusively for the stage, and his works are unfailingly catchy and tuneful.
Darrel Ang conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with a certain amount of brio, never failing to bring out the drama of the music (without overplaying it), and keeping the energy level high. To me, this was a great collection of classical music for casual listening and I enjoyed it. I just need to be careful who I play it for.
Giacomo Meyerbeer: Overtures and Entr’actes from the French Operas
New Zealand symphony Orchestra; Darrell Ang, conductor