Thora Einarsdottir (Mimi), Ann Taylor (Emma), Lucy Crowe (Bathilde), Toby Spence (Valentin - 'Vert-Vert'), Mark Le Brocq (Binet), Mark Stone (Le Comte d'Arlange), Anne-Marie Owens (Mademoiselle Paturelle), Franck Leguérinel (Baladon), Loïc Félix (Chevalier de Bergerac), Jennifer Larmore (La Corilla), Sébastien Droy (Bellecour), Frank Lopez (Friquet)
The word inexhaustible might have been coined to describe the prolific creativity of Jacques Offenbach, who effectively created the new genre of operetta in Paris in the mid-19th century. Opera Rara’s association with his music goes back a long way, to the company’s revival of his 1867 opéra-comique Robinson Crusoe (ORC7), and the creation of a new piece, Christopher Columbus (ORC2), with a libretto by Don White, drawing on a host of the master’s scores. In 2007 we resumed our exploration of the huge output of the ‘Mozart of the Champs-Élysées’ with Entre Nous: Celebrating Offenbach (ORR243), a collection of excerpts from more than 20 of his lesser-known scores. Now our new release presents a complete recording of the delectable Vert-Vert, the follow-up to Robinson Crusoe at the Opéra Comique and one of no fewer than five stage works the composer produced in 1869 alone! Toby Spence, who starred in ENO’s scintillating La Belle Hélène, takes the role of the charming young man who is nicknamed Vert-Vert after the deceased favourite parrot of the pupils at a girls’ boarding-school. Jennifer Larmore is the exotic singer La Corilla in this witty, sophisticated and subtle piece. It is sure to enchant all Offenbach fans.
The 2CD set comes with a lavishly illustrated book including a complete libretto with an English translation and background notes by the distinguish writer and broadcaster Patrick O’Connor.
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Ouverture
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Hélas ! Pour L'éternel voyage
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Il était beau, brillant, leste et volage
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Allons ! C'est fini !
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - De la part de ces demoiselles
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - A toi toutes les confitures
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Oh ! Les ingrates
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Ah ! Ma chère femme
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - O La plus belle des amantes
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Faut-il en faire le serment ?
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Brrr ! Il y a dans l'air comme des chansons d'amour
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Nuit d'été
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Allons ! Ouvrez !
Offenbach - Vert-Vert - Allons, Madame Baladon !
24th January 2010
“The music, here exquisitely played, is as skilfully wrought and as tuneful as any Offenbach, and the first-rate cast, headed by Toby Spence and Thora Einarsdottir, pitches its performances at exactly the right level: gentle wit.”
30th January 2010
“It’s wonderful to discover Offenbach’s 1869 comic opera in its first recording, sung in French, complete with dialogue...Toby Spence, Thora Einarsdottir and the rest sing with gusto, while the CD packaging is luxurious.”
11th February 2010
“Valentin is an ideal role for Toby Spence, who does corrupted innocence better than anyone...Conducting David Parry, meanwhile, just about makes sense of the score's tricky mix of bravado and sentiment.”
“There's treasure here...If Jacques Offenbach is the hero of the hour...then his doughty champion is the indefatigable David Parry who, you feel, believes in every single note in this sparkling score.”
The Independent on Sunday
11th April 2010
“Deft ensemble writing and a lickety-split history of dance show the "Mozart of the Champs-Elysées" at his most charming.”