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The continuing Meyerbeer revival allows revaluation of his operas through performance and recordings. In the case of Le Prophète we have both: it was recorded in Essen last year; and it is as complete as possible, based on a new critical edition. Conductor Giuliano Carella leads a highly assured account, highlighting Meyberbeer’s fascinating orchestration, including the use of a saxophone in Act III and for the soprano’s death scene (an idea immediately cut before the work’s premiere, so heard here for the first time). Marianne Cornetti tackles the barnstorming mezzo role of Fidès with great success, relishing the dramatic and vocal demands until her final cabaletta finds her almost out of gas. John Osborn is polished in the title role and offers the tenor’s ‘Prière’ for the first time, which he dispatches stylishly. Lynette Tapia is a delightful soprano Berthe, with the sweetness and agility the role requires, and she makes much of the aforementioned death scene. Le Prophète’s only competition in the catalogue was recorded in 1976 and features Marilyn Horne as a superb Fidès and Renata Scotto’s vocally wild and headache-inducing Berthe. Enthusiasts need both versions.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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