Notes & Reviews:
American Record Guide, November/December 2014
This is the first of his five operas to be commercially recorded. A super-charged libretto by the team of Michel CarrTand Hippolyte Lucas capitalizes on a truly exotic locale. Lalla Roukh, daughter of the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb, has been promised in marriage to the King of Bukhara (modern-day Uzbekistan). The music is a sort of low-powered Bizet, as in Pearl Fishers. There is ballet aplenty, romantic airs to delight. It's all quite charming. Fiset is a most delicate Lalla Roukh - lovely in tone. He has a knowing way with the music and the text. Paulin sings with warm passion and care. There is a veritable woodpile in Deletre's voice The Washington, DC-based Opera Lafayette is a period-instrument ensemble specializing in the French 18th Century repertory, its precursors, influences, and artistic legacy. They have an impressive discography of operas by Gluck, Gretry, Monsigny, Philidor, Rebel & Francoeur, and Sacchini.
French opera owes much of its obsession with exoticism to the pivotal figure of Felicien David, a pioneer of 'musical Orientalism'. His opera Lalla Roukh, first performed to huge acclaim in 1862, was the catalyst for the explosion in operas set in the 'Exotic East'. The fairy-tale plot revolves around an Indian princess who travels to Bukhara (part of modern Uzbekistan) to meet the man to whom she is to be given in marriage. Along the way she falls in love with the minstrel Noureddin who is, in fact, the King of Bukhara in disguise. David's evocative and magical orchestration is harnessed to memorable melodies, including Lalla Roukh's deftly harmonized arias 'Sous le feuillage sombre' and 'O nuit d'amour'.
The Guardian, 11th April 2014
Marianne Fiset is supremely elegant in the title role, and there are strong, sharply characterised performances from Nathalie Paulin and Bernard DeletrT as the comic servants, Mirza and Baskir.
Gramophone Magazine, June 2014
The big strength of his debut recording by Opera Lafayette of Washington DC is that all the principals have such firm, clear voices...Marianne Fiest as the heroine has a bright, perfectly placed soprano, attacking even the most exposed notes with precision...A most attractive package.
International Record Review, May 2014
Ryan Brown does well by David's opera and its tuneful music.
Recording information: Dekelboum Hall, Clarice Smith Center for the Performing (01/27/2013-01/29/2013).
It is clear from the opening passages of the overture that we have fabulous music making in store, and that the Opera Lafayette orchestra has brought something special to the table. This is more than substantiated by the delightful performances of Marianne Fiset (Soprano) as Lalla Roukh and bass baritone Bernard Deletre as Baskir, who tries to chase the “minstrel” away.
The music has an Eastern flair and is enchanting, and both the cast and Ryan Brown bring this opera to life in a very special way. The liner notes are informative and well written, providing sufficient background to understand the action. Unfortunately, the complete libretto is not printed, but other than that this is a wonderful presentation and recording. I must admit to being somewhat envious of those that had the privilege of seeing this opera performed live. Highly recommended!
Submitted on 06/30/14 by KlingonOpera
Submitted on 07/08/14 by Jim D.
Submitted on 03/15/15 by wastch
Works DetailsFélicien David (1810 - 1876) : Lalla Roukh, opera
- Conductor: Ryan Brown
- Ensemble: Opera Lafayette Orchestra
- Notes: Dekelboum Hall, Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, (01/27/2013-01/29/2013)
- Running Time: 9 min. 13 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta