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4.0 out of 5 stars The original French Grand Opera revived
Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber [1782-1871] enjoyed enormous popularity both in his native France and more widely throughout Europe for almost a century. He wrote over 40 operas between 1805 and 1869. La Muette de Portici [also known as Die Stumme von Portici and Masaniello] was first performed in Paris in 1828, and was one of his most successful, though since WW1 it has...
Published 2 months ago by D. M. Ohara

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten masterpiece
Finally a reissue of the only existing recording of one of the acclaimed masterpieces of french operatic history, ultimately leading to the establishing of the Kingdom of Belgium.
This work is very different from the opera-comiques of Auber and contains a good deal of progressive music for the time. No wonder ,that Wagner praised this opera,obviously modelling his...
Published on 17 Mar. 2003 by J. Quedens


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten masterpiece, 17 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Auber: La Muette de Portici (Audio CD)
Finally a reissue of the only existing recording of one of the acclaimed masterpieces of french operatic history, ultimately leading to the establishing of the Kingdom of Belgium.
This work is very different from the opera-comiques of Auber and contains a good deal of progressive music for the time. No wonder ,that Wagner praised this opera,obviously modelling his Rienzi on it.One of the main characters is a mime (mute) giving the opportunity for a lot of dramatic illustrating music to the mimes. It must be a difficult opera to stage today, but it is incomprehensible that this should be the only recording of it....
The singers are good to adequate, Kraus singing at his best in a very dramatic role as Masaniello. Shame on the conductor for not recording the two sections of ballet music which form an integrated part of the opera, with a tarantella in act II (omitted) and a shorter dance in act I. This to fit it into two records even if we would gladly pay for three, a textbook and a proper casing like the old issue from 1987. So this is not a complete recording unfortunately. This very significant opera with surprisingly fine music deserves a supreme unabridged recording by an outstanding conductor. If the crisis in the recording business resolves it should be worth the effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The original French Grand Opera revived, 7 Mar. 2015
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D. M. Ohara "Dan O'Hara" (Cleveland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Auber: La Muette de Portici (Audio CD)
Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber [1782-1871] enjoyed enormous popularity both in his native France and more widely throughout Europe for almost a century. He wrote over 40 operas between 1805 and 1869. La Muette de Portici [also known as Die Stumme von Portici and Masaniello] was first performed in Paris in 1828, and was one of his most successful, though since WW1 it has only rarely been revived.

These CDs were recorded in Monte Carlo in September 1986 [not 1996 as the booklet states], by which time Alfredo Kraus [1927-1999], who sings the difficult role of Masaniello, would have been just shy of his 60th year. Kraus is still singing with a remarkably well-preserved voice, and is fully up to the considerable demands of the role. He is more than ably partnered by June Anderson as Elvire and John Aler as Alfonse in a production directed by Thomas Fulton.

Without a score, I cannot comment on whether cuts - other than the ballet music - have been made, though cuts were regularly made during the 19th century in works considered too long or prolix. The playing time of the two well-filled CDs runs to almost 150 minutes. Though no longer fashionable, such works deserve an occasional hearing, and I doubt anyone attracted by the genre will feel short-changed by this remarkable performance. Fans of Kraus and Anderson, both highly skilled in fulfilling the exacting demands of the music, will certainly want to hear it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Singing very good; score less so., 24 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Auber: La Muette de Portici (Audio CD)
Even by the ludicrous standards of opera story-telling, this tale - ending in the dumb heroine throwing herself into molten lava as Vesuvius erupts during a revolution [sic] - is absurd, as well as being handled very awkwardly. However, the singing is fine although the music is pedestrian and undistinguished far too often. Still, as the first grand opera, it's worth having.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Auber's main claim to fame, 14 Aug. 2004
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This review is from: Auber: La Muette de Portici (Audio CD)
As the opera which sparked the Belgian independance movement this story of a Sicilian revolt certainly has a place in history. The few well known arias - including Ferme tes yeux'
and the nationalist duet are well handled.
I'm a little disappointed that the libretto promised in the sleeve is not actually available on the EMI website, nor elsewhere. But apart from that it's the definitive recording, and it's good to have it reappear.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 22 May 2015
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This review is from: Auber: La Muette de Portici (Audio CD)
Good recording of interesting music. Good buy.
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Auber: La Muette de Portici
Auber: La Muette de Portici by June Anderson (Audio CD - 2002)
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