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CD Review: David's 'Herculanum'

available at Amazon
F. David, Herculanum, V. Gens, K. Deshayes, Brussels Philharmonic, Flemish Radio Choir, H. Niquet

(released on September 25, 2015)
Ediciones Singulares ES1020 | 122'04"
Charles T. Downey, CD reviews: Exhuming an operatic ‘Herculanum’ (Washington Post, December 20)
Félicien David (1810-1876) was a celebrated composer in the 19th century, but after his death his music was almost immediately forgotten. Since 2010, the Venice-based Centre de Musique Romantique Française has been sponsoring performances of David’s music, including this live recording of his opera “Herculanum,” captured during performances last year at the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie in Brussels. Premiered in 1859, it would remain David’s only opera produced by the Opéra de Paris, after which he turned to works for the Opéra-Comique, like the charming and much lighter “Lalla Roukh,” recorded last year by Washington’s own Opera Lafayette.

The opera is set in the Roman town of Herculaneum. It is the summer of 79, and the Romans have no idea that Mount Vesuvius is about to send deadly pyroclastic flows their way... [Continue reading]
Félicien David, Herculanum
V. Gens, K. Deshayes, and H. Niquet
Brussels Philharmonic and Flemish Radio Choir

The libretto by Joseph Méry (collaborating with T. Hadot) is set in the Roman town of Herculaneum. The opera's explosive conclusion was an even more dramatic evocation of the power of Vesuvius than that featured at the end of Daniel Auber's grand opera "La Muette de Portici." This limited release includes a lavishly produced book with several excellent essays, including one by American musicologist Ralph P. Locke, and a review of the opera's premiere, published by none other than Hector Berlioz in the "Journal des débats."

Charles T. Downey, Mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes at the Kennedy Center (Washington Post, February 5)

---, Félicien David (1810-1876) (Ionarts, June 18, 2014)

---, Briefly Noted: 'Lalla Roukh' (Ionarts, April 26, 2014)

---, La Gens (Ionarts, May 25, 2007)

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