Notes & Reviews:
Maritana was one of the most popular of mid-nineteenth-century British operas. Its 1848 première was a triumph and was soon followed by performances in opera houses from Vienna to Philadelphia. The absurd plot, which contrasts life at the Spanish court with that of the Gypsy street-singer of the title, is subsidiary to the appeal of a string of infectious and much loved arias such as There is a flower that bloometh and Yes! Let me like a soldier fall. Wallace's opera Lurline is available on Naxos 8.660293-94, on which the American Record Guide commented: 'The opera and the performance are both a delight.' After a quarter of a century as Principal Conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Proinnsías Ó Duinn was appointed their Conductor Laureate in 2005. The same year he was invited by The Royal Dublin Society to conduct the "Irish Ring" (Maritana, The Bohemian Girl and The Lily of Killarney).
"[I] feel all the wiser for having at last been given the opportunity to hear a modern performance of this very important work, it's part of the missing link in our knowledge of British music theatre...[the cast] all sing with total dedication and conviction. It isn't at all difficult to understand Maritana's popularity, nor with the ensuing snobbery of the twentieth century, why it fell out of favour." -Gramophone
I found a lot to admire in the recording of Lurline and the same qualities can be found here as well: beautiful, hummable melodies, at times rhythmically interesting, good orchestration. There is no dialogue but the synopsis is quite detailed and makes it easy to follow the proceedings - unless one just leaves the story aside and listens to the music. It is good to have this recording available again - and at an affordable price.
Everything is nice and easy, without offending. The cast is remarkable, highlighting the two females and tenor PC Clarke.
American Record Guide
Cullagh as usual sings with aplomb, stately grace, and all other good things. Clarke is a tenor delight, as is Caddy. Lee rounds out the cast with mezzo wit and style. The Irish group under O'Duinn are a winning accompaniment.
Best are the ladies. Majella Cullagh actually has a very beautiful voice, a slightly reedy timbre reminiscent of the young Gwyneth Jones. She certainly has agility in the odd moments where it's called for and her top notes are easy - right up to a high E flat at the end that might be envied by, well, certain Violettas. Lynda Lee certainly displays a rich, evenly controlled timbre and a good sense of line.
Recording information: O'Reilly Hall, University College Dublin, Ireland (09/19/1995-09/20/1995).
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Works DetailsWallace, William Vincent : Maritana
- Conductor: Proinnsias O Duinn
- Ensemble: RTE Concert Orchestra
- Notes: O'Reilly Hall, University College Dublin, Ireland (09/19/1995-09/20/1995)
- Running Time: 10 min. 21 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1845