Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







alternatively Crotchet



Barbara Hendricks - Operetta Arias & Duets
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948)
Giuditta – (1) “Meine lippen, sie küssen so heiss” [5:53]; Die Lustige Witwe – (2) “Vilja, o Vilja” [5:27]; (3) “Lippen schweigen” [2:44]; Frederike – (4) “Warum hast du mich wach geküsst?” [4:21]; Das Land des Lächelns” – (5) Bei einem Tee à deux” [4:14];
Robert STOLZ

Der Favorit – (6) “Du sollst der Kaiser meiner Seele sein” [6:41];
Karl ZELLER (1842-1898)
Der Vogelhändler – (7) “Schenkt man sich Rosen in Tirol” [3:27];
Die Fledermaus – (8) Csárdás [5:09]; Die Zigeunerbaron - (9) “Wer usn getraut” [3:39]; Wiener Blut – (10) “Das eine kann ich nicht verzeih’n … Wiener Blut” [5:59];
Madame Chrysanthème – (11) “Le jour sous le soleil béni [4:29]; L’Amour masque – (12) “J’ai deux amants [3:16]; Véronique – (13) Duo de l’escarpolette [4:28]; (14) “De-ci, de-là” [2:22]; Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880)
La Vie Parisienne – (15) “Autrefois plus d’un amant” [2:12]; La Voyage dans la Lune – (16) “Monde charmant que l’on ignore” [3:32]; Barbe-Bleu – (17) “Or depuis la rose nouvelle” [3:09]; Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900)
The Pirates of Penzance – (18) “Poor wand’ring one” [2:50]; The Mikado – (19) “The sun, whose rays are all ablaze” [3:13];
Sigmund ROMBERG (1887-1951)
The New Moon – (20) “One Kiss” [4:07]; (21) “Lover, come back to me” [6:36]; (22) “Wanting you every day” [3:15]; The Desert Song – (23) The Desert Song [4:44]; The Student Prince – (24) “Deep in my heart, dear” [5:14];
Frederick LOEWE
My Fair Lady – (25) “I could have danced all night” [3:44];

Naughty Marietta –(26) “Ah! Sweet mystery of life” [2:13]; (27) “Ah! My heart is back in Napoli” [2:49];
Rudolf FRIML
Rose Marie – (28) Indian Love Call [5:35]; Reynaldo HAHN (1875-1947)
Ciboulette – (29) “Nous avons fait un beau voyage” [ 2:32];
Maurice YVAIN
Ta bouche – (30) Valse [3:46];
Henri CHRISTINÉ (1867-1941)
Phi-Phi – (31) Duo des souvenirs [3:08];
Karl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899)
Gasparone – (32) “Wie freu’ ich mich, Sie hier zu she’n … Hüten Sie sich” [5:24];

Der Opernball – (33) “Geh’n wir in’s chamber séparée” [5:17]
Barbara Hendricks (soprano) (1-33)
Gino Quilico (baritone) (3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33); Hugh Bean (violin) (6); Claire Henry,  Shirley Minty (sopranos),  Lynda Richardson (mezzo-soprano) (25); Ambrosian Singers (18, 20, 27); Philharmonia Orchestra (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27); Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon (3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33); Lawrence Foster (conductor): rec. 15-22 May 1992 Studio No 1,  Abbey Road Studios,  London (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27); 19-24 November 1993 Opéra de Lyon (3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33)
EMI CLASSICS 5046752 [70:49 + 66:30] 


If you merely looked at the sleeve or the insert notes you might reasonably assume that the main interest here would be in the performances by Barbara Hendricks. In fact whilst she certainly does sing sixteen arias – all on the first disc – there are also a total of seventeen duets. The more I listened the more I became convinced that the success of the set as a whole is largely due to the contributions of Gino Quilico in those duets. There Ms Hendricks’ singing suddenly comes alive to the individual character of each item, rather than the somewhat generalized vocalization which typifies most of the arias. The particular highlights for me are the duets on the second disc where both singers adopt an appropriately forward delivery, sounding convincingly French (at least to me) and conveying the alternate sentimentality and vivacity of the music. The comparable French arias on the first disc also stand out – especially the delicious extract from Messager’s “L’Amour masque”, although here the words do not come across so vividly so that the effect is greatly reduced. This applies even more in the German and American items where Ms Hendricks all too often adopts a sound which can only be described as coarse and with excessive vibrato, especially in the higher register. In addition almost every item is sung just a fraction too slow to allow the music to flow and for its natural character to register. A sense of carefulness is highly inappropriate in music which essentially needs to bubble rather than plod. 

I greatly regret writing this, as I am very much an admirer of her other recordings, but these discs have proved on the whole a disappointment. This is magnified by her very curious diction in both German and English which makes the words hard to follow. EMI could have helped the listener by including texts and translations, but they have not done so. There is no explanation whatsoever of the context of the various items or any notes about the composers or works as a whole. 

Clearly these discs will appeal essentially to admirers of the soprano. I suspect that they will be greatly disappointed, whereas those to whom they might appeal – anyone wanting a good mixture of familiar and less familiar items from operetta and musical comedy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – will be put off by their presentation and the inclusion of the most disappointing pieces at the start of each disc. This is a pity, as despite my lack of enthusiasm over the soprano’s contributions, those of Gino Quilico and the orchestras involved are generally very idiomatic and enjoyable, and the recording of both discs is clear. Try the French duets on the second disc – you may well feel they alone make the set worthwhile. If you enjoy also the duets at the start of that disc this set is certainly for you, but otherwise I must advise caution. 

John Sheppard



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