Monday, September 8, 2014

Meyerbeer Overtures and Entr'actes -- Light Entertainment from Grand Opera

Meyerbeer: Overtures and Entr'actes from the French Operas
New Zealand symphony Orchestra
Darrell Ang, conductor

When I mentioned I was reviewing this new Meyerbeer recording, I discovered just how low my colleagues held Meyerbeer's music. Robert Schumann didn't care much for it, but I think he -- and others -- miss the point. Giacomo Meyerbeer wasn't out to make pronouncements from God -- he wanted to write entertaining, successful operas. He achieved his goals, and the music in the collection demonstrates why.

Included are instrumental works from Meyerbeer's biggest hits -- "Robert le Diable," "Les  Huguenots," and "L'Africaine" -- along with selections from "Dianorah and Le Prophete. Meyerbeer wrote almost exclusively for the stage, and his works are unfailingly catchy and tuneful.

Darrell Ang conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with a certain amount of brio, never failing to bring out the drama of the music (without overplaying it). To me, this was a great collection of classical music for casual listening. I just need to be careful who I play it for.

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