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Auber: Le Domino noir


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Auber: Le Domino noir + Adam: Le Toréador
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Product details

  • Performer: Sumi Jo, Isabelle Vernet, Bruce Ford, Patrick Power
  • Orchestra: London Voices, English Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Composer: Daniel-François-Esprit Auber
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00000422T
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,658 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Act 1: Ouverture
2. Act 1: Pardon, mon cher ami
3. Act 1: Le Trouble et la frayeur
4. Act 1: Voila le plus joli bolero
5. Act 1: Qui je suis? Une fee,...
6. Act 1: Elle est partie
7. Act 1: Et comment cela? Parlez
8. Act 1: J'entends la danse
9. Act 1: O cie! qu'entends-je?
10. Act 2: Entr'acte
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act 3: Entr'acte
2. Act 3: J'ai beau essayer de reciter mes prieres...
3. Act 3: Ave, ma soeur!
4. Act 3: Je suis suis sauvee enfin!...
5. Act 3: Flamme vengeresse
6. Act 3: C'est vous, madame!...
7. Act 3: Mes cheres soeurs
8. Act 3: Ah! Madame, combien j'etais inquinetee
9. Act 3: Entrez, entrez, seigneur cavailier
10. Act 3: Madame l'abbesse!
See all 19 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kicek&Brys on 15 Feb. 2002
This might not be the most profound music ever written but few recordings give as much sheer, unadulterated pleasure as this one. Even if Auber doesn't explore any great depths of feeling, he certainly manages to convey one emotion better than most other composers: pure joy. This set is a delight from beginning to end. Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber is probably most famous in the history books for "La Muette de Portici" (or "Masaniello" as it is sometimes called), which played an important role in the development of French 'grand opera' (and, incidentally, in the creation of Belgium - inspired by the patriotic arias in a production of this opera in Brussels in 1830, discontented local students took to the streets and rioted against the Dutch authorities, an act which was soon to culminate in the country's independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. So perhaps Auber was responsible for the most influential 'political' music ever written!). But Auber is probably at his best in his lighter 'operas comiques', which were wildly successful with Parisian audiences - "Le Domino Noir" notched up 1209 performances between its premiere in 1837 and 1909. The style is perhaps most reminiscent of Rossini, but it has a more dancelike, 'bouncy' feel to it, with infectious, toetapping rhythms driving the music irresistibly along, except in the more lyrical love music. It was Rossini himself who described Auber's style as 'petite musique d'un grand musicien' ('minor music by a major composer'), since Auber was no amateur but a highly educated musician who chose to exercise his talents on lightweight music. He would often give his operas 'local colour': in 'Le Cheval de Bronze' it was Chinese music, in 'Les Diamants de la Couronne', Portuguese.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ElaineT on 11 Mar. 2011
I couldn't agree more with 'Kicek&Brys' review - I find all Auber's works that are available on CD/DVD life-enhancing and joyous, and 'Le Domino noir' is for me the most delightful. The story is full of charm and a sense of fun: the Spanish noblewoman Angele, ordered by the Queen to become Abbess of a convent, nevertheless still goes to masked balls disguised in a black domino, and, naturally, falls in love with the eligible Horace. The music wonderfully evokes the scenes of the glittering ballroom, the bachelors' party, and the convent. This is an excellent recording, with Sumi Jo a terrific Angele. As the previous review says, it would be good to see the opera-comique better represented on disc - Auber and Herold in particular.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 18 Dec. 2014
No wonder this recording was given a Penguin Rosette award. That formerly august publication may not always be relied upon but in this case the reason is clear: this is a delight from start to finish, chock-full of catchy tunes , good-humour and swiftly moving situations.

I am a little bemused by a previous reviewer's assertion that beyond Sumi Jo the cast is little-known; in fact it consists of a roster of some of the most celebrated French and French-singing artists of twenty years ago, including three really outstanding voices in Jo herself, the elegant American tenor Bruce Ford and the wonderful Martine Olmeda, who, in my judgement, should have had a bigger career, she has such a lovely soprano. New Zealand lyric tenor Patrick powers i also fine and amongst the rest of the cast are a young Gilles Cachemaille enjoying himself assuming a cod English accent as Lord Elfort and the veteran Belgian bass Jules Bastin hamming it up in the comic porter role, shortly before his premature death in 1996.

Although the story is set in Spain and the music is accordingly laced with Spanish musicla idioms, the operetta itself still remains more champagne than sangria. The "Spanishisms "of bolero rhythms and castanets are more applied than integrated and the essential flavour is one of Gallic elegance and joie de vivre than Iberian intensity.

The primary delight apart from the sheer melodiousness of the score resides the virtuosity of Sumi Jo, whose preternaturally crystalline and agile coloratura soprano leggiero is a thing of wonder. Her sung French is excellent; her arias at times transcend the essentially frothy ambiance and become something more substantial.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Pure musical pleasure 6 Feb. 2002
By Kicek&Brys - Published on Amazon.com
This might not be the most profound music ever written but few recordings give as much sheer, unadulterated pleasure as this one. Even if Auber doesn't explore any great depths of feeling, he certainly manages to convey one emotion better than most other composers: pure joy. This set is a delight from beginning to end. Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber is probably most famous in the history books for "La Muette de Portici" (or "Masaniello" as it is sometimes called), which played an important role in the development of French 'grand opera' (and, incidentally, in the creation of Belgium - inspired by the patriotic arias in a production of this opera in Brussels in 1830, discontented local students took to the streets and rioted against the Dutch authorities, an act which was soon to culminate in the country's independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. So perhaps Auber was responsible for the most influential 'political' music ever written!). But Auber is probably at his best in his lighter 'operas comiques', which were wildly successful with Parisian audiences - "Le Domino Noir" notched up 1209 performances between its premiere in 1837 and 1909. The style is perhaps most reminiscent of Rossini, but it has a more dancelike, 'bouncy' feel to it, with infectious, toetapping rhythms driving the music irresistibly along, except in the more lyrical love music. It was Rossini himself who described Auber's style as 'petite musique d'un grand musicien' ('minor music by a major composer'), since Auber was no amateur but a highly educated musician who chose to exercise his talents on lightweight music. He would often give his operas 'local colour': in 'Le Cheval de Bronze' it was Chinese music, in 'Les Diamants de la Couronne', Portuguese. Here there is a distinct Spanish flavour, complete with castanets in the heroine's show-stopping "Aragonaise". Auber also differentiated the music of each act - the first, a masked ball, is predominantly made up of dance music, including a bolero; the second act is a late night party with rousing drinking songs and choruses; finally, in the third act, set in a convent, there is even a 'religious' feeling to some of the music, with organ accompaniment.
It's impossible to imagine a livelier, more sympathetic performance of this opera than this recording. The singers are uniformly excellent, even if they are not all well-known names. Just the right amount of Scribe's extensive dialogue has been left in between the musical numbers and it is sparkingly performed (and as an added bonus, a few recitatives have been inserted, composed by Tchaikovsky especially for a late nineteenth century Russian production). The Bonynge-Jo team went on to record another 'opera comique', Adam's "Le Toreador", which is only slightly less successful than "Le Domino Noir". They should definitely follow it up with further examples from this genre: more Auber would be great, or how about Herold's "Zampa", famous for its overture, but yet to be treated to a complete recording? (Brys)
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes it is enough to be tuneful, graceful & light... 15 July 2000
By J. E. ASENCIO-NEGRON - Published on Amazon.com
Daniel-François-Esprit Auber achieved lasting successes with such works as "Fra Daviolo" (1830), "Le Domino noir" (1837: 1,209 performances up to 1909), and "Les Diamants de la couronne" (1847). All of them in the genre "opéra-comique".
This opera: "Le Domino noir", it is sparklingly tuneful, immediately pleasing to ear, with a captivating grace and wit; the orchestration is masterfully crafted to please the Paris' audiences of the 19th century (he never leaves unattended the counterpoint and the harmony in his compositions).
I enjoyed the "ronde aragonaise" (CD 1, Track 17) sung by Sumi Jo with shinning musicality & bringing her technical brilliance to the role of Angèle. The overture hint us to the spanish flavor of the opera which is at its best on Act II: the "couplets" de Jacinthe, the "réveillons" ensemble, the "rondo" mentioned above, and the "couplets" de Gil Pérez. In Act III, Angèle's aria: "Je suis sauveé enfin... Ah! quelle, nuit!" (I am save at last... Ah! what a night!) (CD 2, Track 4), which is a "tour de force" for the soprano (Sumi Jo), as well as the chorus of nuns: "Ah! quel malheur our nous! (Ah, what a misfortune for us!) (CD 2, Track 6), are very good displays of light humor focused against certain religious attitudes of 19th century.
This Auber's composition will entertain you without being as emotionally deep as Verdi & Donizetti. Sometimes it is enough to be tuneful, graceful, elegant and light...
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Sparkling Performance! 7 Sept. 2000
By M. Ramos - Published on Amazon.com
It is always welcome the revival of works that deserve to be in the standard repertoire. Le Domino Noir by Auber is a really brilliant opéra comique that receives on this recording a brilliant performance. The work itself is very effective, with a witty plot and sparkling music, reminiscent sometimes of Rossini but with a distinctive French flavor. The performances of this disc are a delight. Sumi Jo, as Angèle d'Olivarès, displays her brilliant coloratura soprano with charm and great diction. She sounds positively joyous in the Aragonaise, handles with ease the difficult patter of "Ah! Quelle nuit!" and is technically brilliant in "Flamme vengereuse". Bruce Ford displays a beautiful lyric tenor voice that is both flexible and expressive. Isabelle Vernet, Martine Olmeda and the rest of the talented cast display vocal mastery and comedic talent. The London Voices and the English Chamber Orchestra complement this great recording. Of course, an important part of the success is due to Richard Bonynge, who seems very much at ease with this music, providing an energetic conducting and creating beautiful vocal ornamentation for the singers. This recording brings a refreshing alternative for any music lover.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A great mystery 16 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
"Le Domino Noir" is such a delightful, elegant and utterly irresistible opera that one wonders why it's not perform with more frequency. Recordings such as this, filled with élan and joie de vivre reminds one of the effects of fine champagne and further proves that when it comes to elegance and charm, no one can hold a candle to the French. A delightful recording of a gem of an opera, which judging by the results, was as fun to perform and record as it is to hear. Bonynge is most assuredly in his element. "
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
No profundity, but sheer delight, especially in a performance like this 29 Oct. 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Auber's operas haven't fared too well on disc or in the opera houses the last hundred years, despite the immense popularity they achieved in their time. Listening to Le Domino noir, one of his most successful, one can sort of understand why. It does not have anywhere close to the depth of operas, nor the level of invention, by the roughly contemporary opera composers most famous today (Donizetti, Rossini, or Meyerbeer). But it is always danceable, brimful of tunes and with lots of surprising and imaginative twists and turns (some of which are rather cheap effects, but very effective at least on first listening) - and Auber sure had a skilful touch when it comes to orchestration. This recording was, when it arrived, only its second available recording (I am not sure how the situation is today), and a mightily impressive one it is.

The plot is not very original, but the libretto pretty effective and the various scenes usually well constructed. Musically, it all gets off to a superb start with a glittering opening scene, and the wealth of melodic material and enjoyable twists never falters from there. The second act is, over and above Auber's ever-enjoyable music, interesting for employing some of the recitatives composed by Tchaikovsky for a planned production of the opera in Moscow - pretty effective, and they make the act more flowing and streamlined.

Sumi Jo, as Angele, is stunning - almost over the top with an unmatchable technique and magnificent trills and leaps. But it is not mere beauty and brilliance; her singing is also superbly confident and full of character and shading. Bruce Ford is elegant and effective as well, in particular in the higher register. The rest of the cast is convincing, but for the most part put in the shade by the main characters (the way it should be, I guess). Richard Bonynge leads a spirited and dazzling orchestral contribution from the English Chamber orchestra - and they are equally effective in the memorably tuneful overture and ballet music from Gustav III, ou Le bal masque, that fills out the second disc. In sum, this is an excellent performance of a very enjoyable work (if no masterpiece); sound quality is good and the issue is, overall, strongly recommended, especially to lovers of amazing coloratura singing and fans of Meyerbeer or Halévy (or for that matter of the contemporary Italians).
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