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Operetta Arias / Mady Mesple


Release Date: 04/09/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 47545   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Charles LecocqReynaldo HahnJacques OffenbachFranz Lehár,   ... 
Performer:  Mady Mesplé
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The programme is wholly attractive and Mady Mesplé’s by turns warm and glittering singing makes this one of the loveliest operetta recitals I have come across ...

The last three days have been dominated by listening to Mady Mesplé recordings. First there were French Mélodies, then a programme of opera arias (see review). Together these spanned the greater part of her career. With that in the background I was eagerly looking forward to hearing this recital with operetta arias, mainly French and all of them sung in French. The recording date looked promising, since the older she got the more attractive her voice became; here she was approaching fifty. I was not disappointed; on the contrary this
Read more turned out to be one of the loveliest operetta recitals I have come across. The programme is wholly attractive, even though the general non-French listener may only recognize the Vilja Song from The Merry Widow and, possibly Lisa’s entrance song from The Land of Smiles. But this is of little importance. French operetta from the 18th century has a particular charm, melodically enticing and with an esprit sometimes missing from its Viennese counterpart. Only three of the operettas here are post-WW1: The Land of Smiles, Ciboulette and Trois valses and they are also great charmers.

Mesplé became famous first and foremost as a brilliant high coloratura soprano. In the opening number, the song of the nightingale, she displays her superb lightness and agility in a delicious dialogue with the flute, admirably played by Claude Grognet. But for the most part this is not a programme of showpieces but a number of first class arias that require beautiful singing. And that is what they get. In Madame Chrysanthème’s aria (tr. 2) there are no fireworks, just plain legato singing. Oscar Straus – no relation to the various Strausses with double Ss – also needs a warm and rounded tone, which Ms Mesplé has in abundance. It seems that when her voice matured some of the edginess was polished away in the process. The first two songs from Trois valses have a Lehár-like sweetness. I wouldn’t call it sentimentality even though others might. The third of them has a French sprightliness. The two Lehár numbers, sung in French, are among the best and the Vilja Song is adorned with some really ravishing pianissimo singing.

She is glittering and expressive in the aria from Pomme d’Api, one of three one-act operettas by Offenbach that she also recorded complete in Monte-Carlo, as here, but with Manuel Rosenthal in the pit in 1982. The other two were Monsieur Choufleur and Mesdames de la Halle. If they are still available they are definitely worth seeking out.

Hahn’s 1923 operetta Ciboulette was also recorded at Monte-Carlo with Mesplé in the title role and with José Van Dam and Nicolaï Gedda in other leading parts. The aria presented here is an appetizing taster.

Charles Lecocq, finally, is another composer whose works should be better known. The three excerpts here are lovely and it was a good idea to end the whole recital with the Grande Valse from Les cent vierges where Mady Mesplé tosses off a superb final note.

The Monte-Carlo orchestra is well versed in this music and Pierre Dervaux paces the music admirably. Since so much of the repertoire is off the beaten track – at least for non-French listeners – song texts and translations would have been a blessing but as it is Mady Mesplé’s heavenly singing takes us at least halfway to Nirvana.

-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Les cent vierges: O Paris, gai séjour by Charles Lecocq
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1872; Belgium 
2.
La petite mariée: Je tenais Monsieur mon Époux by Charles Lecocq
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Belgium 
3.
La petite mariée: Pour vous sauver, on se dévoue by Charles Lecocq
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Belgium 
4.
Ciboulette: Moi je m'appelle by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; France 
5.
Pomme d'api: Couplets de pomme by Jacques Offenbach
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; Paris, France 
6.
Die lustige Witwe: Es lebt eine Vilja...Vilja, o Vilja by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Das Land des Lächelns: Ich danke für die Huldigung by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Les Trois valses by Oscar Straus
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Madame Chrysanthème: Écoutez, c'est le chant des cigales by André Messager
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
10.
Les noces de Jeannette: Au bord du chemin by Victor Massé
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; France 

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