Notes and Editorial Reviews
Le Toréador shines forth as one of the most delicious and sparkling operettas in the repertoire, a work that can stand comparison with the best of Offenbach. Sumi Jo is on top form, her sparkling coloratura diamond bright and effortlessly fluent.
Richard Bonynge's ability to persuade Decca to record out-of-the-way nineteenth-century French stage works has been to our repeated benefit over the past 40 years. Yet few of the results have been more welcome than this delightful operatic soufflé. Not that the music is completely unfamiliar, since a 1963 radio version was briefly available on Musidisc's Gaieté Lyrique label (3/92). However, that omitted not only the dialogue but also the overture, some
major arias and important incidental music, all of which are included here.
Despite the title, there is little specifically Spanish about the piece beyond the Barcelona setting and the cuckolded elderly husband who just happens to have been a toreador. The love interest is between the former opera-singer wife and her flautist admirer, and it is the important contribution of the flute (almost a fourth character, and admirably played by Jonathan Burgess) that accounts for much of the aforementioned incidental music. The admirer identifies himself by means of assorted operatic airs and grades the seriousness of the husband's infidelities by whether he plays a fandango or a cachucha. The score's most familiar number is a set of variations on Ah vous dirai-je maman (Twinkle, twinkle, little star, if you like); but there is much else that brings out Sumi Jo's crystal-clear, effortless coloratura to marvellous effect, as well as showing off John Aler's ardent, elegant tenor and Michel Trempont's well-practised comic baritone. Delicious!
-- Gramophone [4/1998]
...'Le Toréador' shines forth as one of the most delicious and sparkling opérettes in the repertoire, a work that can stand comparison with the best of Offenbach...
-- Fanfare (5-6/98, pp.62-63)
...Sumi Jo is on top form, her sparkling coloratura diamond bright and effortlessly fluent, especially effective in the arias with flute obbligato....this is a delightful confection, all spun sugar and froth, but a treat all the same...
Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 4 (out of 5)
-- BBC Music Magazine
Works on This Recording
Le toréador by Adolphe Adam
Sumi Jo (Soprano),
John Aler (Tenor),
Michel Trempont (Tenor),
Véronique Vella (Soprano)
Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Written: ?1849; France
Date of Recording: 01/1996
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