Auber : La Muette de PorticiMontecarlo, 1988 (Audio)
Director: Thomas Fulton
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This is French Grand Opera at its best. This is considered by music historians as one of the chief cornestone of french opera, Tell, Robert le Diable, and La Juive being the other .
As a work, it is simply thrilling and very exciting musically. Auber knew how to keep his audience on the edge of their seats.
The opera became super famous in its Italian translation (titled after the lead male character) which puts the entire emphasis on the wrong character. Actually, even this wonderful recording does that. Anderson, though singing a very important female role in the opera is not singing the LEAD FEMALE ROLE. The opera is entitled, La Muette de Portici. The lead female role was danced by a ballerina. This role is pivital to the entire plot, and we get nothing from her (the sad thing about recordings).
The French style is perfectly understood, and it is wonderful to finally hear French opera, not just sung in French, but sung in beautifully sung understandable French, and with proper respect for the style completely unfettered by "Italian performing tradition."
The final scene of the opera is exciting as can be, but one wonders what it would have been like to watch. In this scene our lead female role "La Muette", must jump out of a balcony in Naples into the mouth of Vesuvius while it is erupting. Considering the distance Vesuvius is from Naples, that is a feat that no olympic athlete of any kind could match.
Historically, when this opera was performed in Belgium, it caused such a riot that a war for their independence broke out.
This recording is simply fabulous. The story may be a bit weird, but it is certainly a "good people conquer evil people" story that is wonderful to experience. The music is very exciting, and there is hardly a dull moment of a moment where one "feels time passing."
Jean Philippe Lafont