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Gretry: Zemire et Azor / Doneux, Mesple, Bufkens

Release Date: 02/04/2003 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 75290   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  André Modeste Grétry
Performer:  Mady MespléRoland BufkensJean van GorpSabine Louis,   ... 
Conductor:  Edgar DoneuxPaul Strauss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian Radio and Television ChorusBelgian Radio and Television Chamber OrchestraLičge Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 24 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

More or less contemporary with Mozart, Grétry wrote more than fifty quintessentially Classical operas which enjoyed phenomenal success during his lifetime (this one was produced as far afield as New York in 1787). On the basis of this recording, made in 1974 in Brussels (Grétry was born in Liège but was dead by the time the state of Belgium was created, making him an honorary, if not actual, famous Belgian), it seems a shame that his work – or this comic reworking of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at any rate – has latterly been overlooked. The music, brightly performed by the Belgian Radio and Television Chamber Orchestra, is attractively melodic, if hardly profound, and the drama affords fantastical possibilities for an Read more imaginative producer: a table decked with food appearing from nowhere, a magic moving picture in which the heroine watches her family after she has left them; and the transformation of the monstrous hero into a handsome young man. The chief attraction of this disc, however, is the casting of Mady Mesplé as the beauty Zémire. Her exemplary coloratura – ringingly clear and precise, if unnervingly fragile – is used to dazzling effect on the opera’s showstopper ‘La fauvetta avec ses petits’; and she is charming too, if a little passionless, in her ensemble pieces, especially the enchanting trio ‘Vieillons mes soeurs’ and her cheering closing scene with Roland Bufkens’s lyrical but ready and sometimes underpowered beast Azor.

Performance: 4 (out of 4), Sound: 4 (out of 4)

-- Claire Wrathall, BBC Music Magazine Read less

Works on This Recording

Zémire et Azor by André Modeste Grétry
Performer:  Mady Mesplé (Soprano), Roland Bufkens (Tenor), Jean van Gorp (Baritone),
Sabine Louis (), Suzanne Simonka (), Jean-Claude Orliac (Tenor)
Conductor:  Edgar Doneux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian Radio and Television Chorus,  Belgian Radio and Television Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1771; France 
Language: French 
Céphale et Procris: Ballet Suite by André Modeste Grétry
Conductor:  Paul Strauss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ličge Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1773; France 
Danses villageoises by André Modeste Grétry
Conductor:  Paul Strauss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ličge Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 18th Century; France 
Notes: This selection was compiled and reorchestrated by François-Auguste Gevaert using dance movements from various operas by Grétry. 

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