CHABRIER L’étoile • John Eliot Gardiner, cond; Colette Alliot-Lugaz (Lazuli); Georges Gautier (King Ouf); Gabriel Bacquier (Sirocco); François Le Roux (Hérisson de Porc-Épic); Op de Lyon O & Ch • EMI 58688 (2 CDs: 95: 18)
This is a welcomeRead more reissue of the 1984 Opéra de Lyon production—the superb and still available DVD presentation with the same forces (substituting Jules Bastin for Gabriel Bacquier) was made two years later (Image 9302). Either way, you can’t lose, though if you prefer the CD format you’re best advised to grab this now. “The music is so strongly defined, alert and lively,” Poulenc noted, “that there is not a dull moment in the whole three acts, in spite of the mediocre text . . .”, which is replaced here by a detailed cued synopsis. EMI does not even direct you for it to their Web site, though the libretto, with translation, was included with the LP issue. One may well enjoy its farcical zaniness, populated nonetheless—unique, until then, with Chabrier—not by the usual comique caricatures but by characters we come to know as well as those in Mozart’s operas. Poulenc continues, “Quite apart from its intrinsic qualities, L’étoile is the source of subsequent French operetta, particularly that of Messager. For the first time, Chabrier introduced into opéra bouffe a careful attention to harmony and orchestration, which had previously been missing, except in Offenbach and Lecocq. I myself thought much about L’étoile while I was writing Les mamelles de Tirésias.” Can there be higher praise? The upshot is that the music, whether or not you attend closely to the plot, is tender, racy, scintillant, joyous, and self-commending. Perhaps this will prompt someone to reissue Erato’s exemplary Dutoit go at Le roi malgré lui, nor would more Messager and Lecocq be amiss.
EMI’s pasteboard box encloses the discs in paper sleeves and a booklet graced with production photos, the synopsis, and brief but informed notes by Roger Nichols. Sound captures stage depth, near or far, in crisp detail. Enthusiastically recommended.
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 10 - Couplets de Laoula: "Moi, je n'ai pas une âme ingrate" (Laoula)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 11 - Trio de l'enlèvement: "Maintenant il faut partir vite!" (Ouf/Lazuli/Laoula)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 12 - Choeur: "Nous allons donc voir"
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 12 - Dialogue: "La Princesse, la princesse" (Hérisson/Ouf)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 13 - Finale: "Un coup de feu" (Choeur/Ouf/Siroco/Aloès)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 13 - Couplets: "Tous deux assis dans la bateau" (Laoula/Tous/Ouf/Siroco)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 13 - Choeur des condoléances: "Ma foi, ça nous est bien égal!" (Choeur/Ouf/Siroco)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: No. 13 - Final: "C'est un malheur!" (Choeur)
L' Étoile, ACT 2: Entr'acte
L' Étoile, ACT 3: Dialogue: "Une heure!" (Ouf/Siroco/La Chef de la police/Lazuli)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 14 - Couplets: "Enfin, je me sens mieux!" (Lazuli)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 14 - Dialogue: "Je viens de prendre un petit verre" (Ouf/Siroco)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 15 - Duetto de la Charteuse verte: "Je me sens, hélas, tout chose!" (Ouf/Siroco)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 16 - Couplets et Terzetto: "Un amoureux, Princesse" (Aloès/Laoula/Lazuli)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 16 - Dialogue: "Vivant, il est vivant!" (Laoula/Lazuli/Ouf/Hérisson)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 17 - Couplets de le rose: "Ainsi que la rose nouvelle" (Laoula)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 18 - Choeur: "Voici venir Monsieur le Maire!" (Choeur)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 18 - Dialogue: "Princesse!" (Ouf/Laoula/Siroco)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 18 - Musique de scène
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 18 - Dialogue: "Eh bien!" (Ouf/Siroco/Le Chef de la police/Laoula/Lazuli)
L' Étoile, ACT 3: No. 19 - Couplet final: "Nous voici, Messieurs, à la fin" (Laoula/Lazuli/Choeur)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
AddictiveMay 4, 2013By J S E T. (West Grove, PA)See All My Reviews"L'Etoile is a satirical gem. Gilbert took its themes of capital punishment and loving the wrong person into account when writing The Mikado. Chabrier's score is tuneful, inventive, and beautifully orchestrated. Gardiner crafts the score with wit and skill, using an appropriately small pit orchestra. The cast is a stellar line up of late 20th cent. French singers. If you like Gilbert and Sullivan, Offenbach, Johann Strauss Jr., Lehar, et al. you will like Chabrier. Buy it on faith!"Report Abuse
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