A Fine Collection of Opéra-Comique Overtures

Michael Halász and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra deliver an attractive selection of French Opéra-Comique overtures. The genre evolved over time, from light, frothy entertainment to more serious and realistic subjects. But the overture was always a curtain-raiser. And that’s just what we get. Maestro Halász keeps things moving. Orchestral contrasts are suitably dramatic, and the ensemble is light on its feet when it needs to be.

The recorded sound is good, although I wished for a little more definition. Nevertheless, the ensemble blend is wonderful. The performances are good-humored, and even the serious passages don’t sound all that dire.

The program features a nice sampling of the genre. The earliest overtures are from the Revolutionary Era: François-Adrien Boieldieu Le Calife de Bagdad (1800), and Etienne Mehul’s Héléna (1803). And a few from the late 1800s, like Alexandre-Charles Lecocq La Petite mariée (1875).

Famous composers such as Jacques Offenbach are represented by lesser-known works (in this case) Le mariage aux lanternes. The selections make the entire program sound fresh. These are buoyant feel-good curtain-raisers. And for me, it was just plain fun to listen to.

Opéra-Comique Overtures
Works by Boieldieu, Delibes, Gounod, Halévy, Herold, Lecocq, Maillart, Méhul, Offenbach
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Halász, conductor
Naxos 

More Recent Posts

  • Wed, Oct 5: Podcast Makers meet-up and “Circle of Willis” relaunch

    For good reasons, it’s been a loooong time since we gathered in person. But now, Charlottesville Podcast Makers meetups are back! This week, let’s get together for some camaraderie and networking — Wednesday, October 5, 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Stage at WTJU, 2244 Ivy Road. This meetup doubles as a relaunch event for […]

  • WorldView Episode 32: Henryk Wieniawski

    Tags: , , , ,

           In addition to his prolific career as a composer, Henryk Wieniawski is considered to be one of the greatest violinists of all time. With over 50 works to his name, Wieniawski remains one of Poland’s most well-known classical artists, along with Krzysztof Penderecki (WorldView Ep. 4) and Ignacy Jan Paderewski (Ep. 13).  […]

  • #ClassicsaDay #FallConcert Week 4

    Tags: , , , , , ,

    What’s on the program for your local performing arts organization? The Classics a Day team wants to know! For the month of September, you’re invited to post a work that your local symphony, chamber music ensemble, or choral society will be performing this fall. There’s a lot of great music-making going on. Let’s share it […]

  • Bobby Thompson at Offbeat Roadhouse, Oct 7

    Tags: , , , , ,

    Blues man Bobby Thompson will pull into Offbeat Roadhouse Friday night, October 7, for a concert which will also be broadcast on WTJU. This is a free event, open to all. Masks are strongly encouraged for all attendees.  You can also listen to Offbeat Roadhouse on the radio (91.1 FM) or on-line, and even video stream it at WTJU’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.  But […]

  • WTJU is hiring! Office & Volunteer Coordinator

    WTJU Radio is looking for an Office & Volunteer Coordinator to maintain smooth operations, promote the station to the public, and recruit & train volunteers for this volunteer-powered media organization. In this role, the incumbent’s work will be in three primary areas: Office Coordination Volunteer & Outreach Coordiation Development Support Read the full job description […]

  • WorldView Episode 31: Dobrinka Tabakova

    Tags: , , , ,

           Works by British-Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova have been performed worldwide, including by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields and in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II  at her Golden Jubilee. The grammy nominated artist, now 42, is an active voice in the redefinition of modern classical music and is featured in […]