3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A discovery worth making,
This review is from: Wallace: Lurline (Audio CD)
This is a discovery I've been pleased to have made; an undiscovered gem, no less and an opera that is unlikely to receive a production in my lifetime. The plot, based on the Romantic legend of the Lorelei, is utterly preposterous and the libretto is magnificently OTT. The music, however, is something else; it is primarily reminiscent of Weber and Mendelssohn, with the odd foretaste of G&S, Victorian ballads and even Wagner. We are indebted to Richard Bonynge for seeking out this rarity and his cast of singers by and large do him proud. Sally Silver fields gleaming tone and secure coloratura in the title role and if Keith Lewis sounds a little tentative as Rupert, the hero of the piece, his is still a splendid voice, even if his best days are clearly behind him. There are two fine Australian mezzos, Fiona Janes and Bernadette Cullen, in supporting roles, while the most effective performances come from the baritones and basses; David Soar as the Rhine King, Roderick Earle as Zeliek and Donald Maxwell as the Baron Truenfels. Soar has a sonorous bass voice, even if the microphone catches a touch of grittiness in his tone, while Earle is both resonant and characterful as the Gnome. His fellow veteran, Donald Maxwell, is in splendid voice, declaiming the ludicrous libretto with commendable bite and enthusiasm ("Hist, here he comes! Oh what a noble presence!"). Naxos does not, incidentally, provide a libretto; one is available on line, but differs from the text in a number of places. The orchestra is acceptable, no more; the Victorian Opera Chorus only just pass muster. Not a perfect recording, by any means, but a discovery, I would suggest, well worth making.