Notes & Reviews:
Opera Rara presents the first complete studio recording of Fantasio, one of Offenbach's most beautiful and refined works. A heady cocktail of charm, gracefulness and gentle melancholy, Fantasio marks the crucial step in Offenbach's path towards The Tales of Hoffmann. Conducted by Sir Mark Elder, Opera Rara's Artistic Director, the cast is led by spectacular performances from Sarah Connolly and the outstanding young American soprano Brenda Rae.
Sunday Times, 5th October 2014
It is a lyrical surprise, an entirely different genre from his popular operettas...[Connolly] is a delight in the [title] part. Her duets with the titular would-be jester's princess, Elsbeth, as sung by Brenda Rae, are pure vocal enchantment...one of the rarest jewels in OR's estimable catalogue.
Financial Times, 17th October 2014
A performance as light of touch as a fine French soufflT. If only Offenbach was always treated in such style.
The Times, 1st November 2014
Opera Rara's superb resuscitation of this long-forgotten Offenbach opTra-comique is a delight. Forget the piffle of a plot. Just wallow in the effortlessly tuneful music: a succession of gliding waltzes and featherlight two-steps coloured with some meltingly romantic moments.
Gramophone Magazine, November 2014
There are certainly some beautiful numbers, such as the duets for Elsbeth and Fantasio, and the orchestration is a joy...The cast, led by Sarah Connolly and Brenda Rae, is first-rate, and Sir Mark Elder provides faultless direction.
BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014
Even if the cast's French is sometimes a tad English, this is a deeply committed recording with some fine performances by Connolly, and Neal Davies as Sparck, a kind of perpetual student. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment relish both Offenbach's masterly orchestration and his rhythmic mastery.
This is pure delight... Sarah Connolly is the soulful hero, singing with warmth, depth and feeling; Brenda Rae is the light and charming Elsbeth, also beset by sadness, and there is nice character-work from Victoria Simmonds, Russell Braun, Robert Murray and more. Lovely, sweet and moving.
American Record Guide, January/February 2015
While Opera Rara is noted for reviving and recording obscure 19th Century bel canto operas, there has long been a sly side to the company: the operettas of Jacques Offenbach. These comic delights are as well served as the most tragic melodramas of bel canto. The recording is as delightful as the music. There is a light, airy feeling to both. It all brings a smile to the listener. Excellent notes and a French-English libretto are included. The dialog text is indicated in blue in the libretto.
Recording information: Henry Wood Hall, London (12/2013); St Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, Engl (12/2013).
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Works DetailsOffenbach, Jacques : Fantasio, comic opera in 3 acts
- Conductor: Mark Elder
- Ensemble: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
- Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London (12/2013); St Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, England (12/2013)
- Running Time: 7 min. 10 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta