3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Bargain of a Neglected Opera,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Meyerbeer: Robert le Diable (Audio CD)
Like many others I heard this work for the first time at the ROH in December, although seeing the rather silly production from a cramped seat in the Amphitheatre didn't add much to the enjoyment of hearing it on Radio 3 a week earlier (with the usual excellent commentary). Looking around for a recording I soon discovered that there wasn't a lot of choice, and plumped for this recent CD issue of a live concert performance with the same conductor.
I loved the work at first hearing and this bargain-price CD is excellent. The only minor quibbles have already been noted by other reviewers, eg. the audience coughing is a bit distracting in the quiet ballet sections in Act 3. You can get the libretto (in French only) from Brilliant's website but be aware that this is a general text available from other sources, not exactly what is being sung. Mostly you have to jump ahead around the passages which have been cut but there are also some additions, eg. a chorus and aria for Isabelle at the beginning of Act 4. On the other hand, having the full libretto helps because it fills in some plot gaps. The synopsis helps but isn't perfect, eg. it implies that Bertram beats Robert at dice in Act 1 whereas of course he goads Robert into gambling with the knights. Mind you, I don't suppose that too many listeners will be bothered about gaps in a typically absurd plot - Meyerbeer's music is glorious and I hope this opera gets some more productions and recordings.