OFFENBACH (1819 – 1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann (1881) – excerpts (sung
in Hungarian). Il était une fois, ŕ la cour d’Eisenach [5:18] J’ai des yeux [1:32] Non aucun hôte vraiment [2:02] Les oiseaux dans la charmille [5:45] Elle a fui, la tourterelle [4:36] Jour et nuit [6:51] C’est une chanson d’amour [3:05] Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour [4:08] Amis l’amour tender et ręveur [2:37] Scintille diamant [2:53] Malheureux … O Dieu de qu’elle ivresse [5:39] Hëlas, mon Coeur [3:00] Intermezzo [4:06] Voilŕ quelle fut l’histoire … et mois? [6:42]
Ilosfalvy (tenor) – Hoffmann; Sándor Palescó (tenor) – Nathanael;
Radnai (baritone) – Coppelius; Dapertutto; Lindorf; Karola Ágay (soprano) – Olympia;
Júlia Orosz (soprano) – Antonia; Árpád Kishegyi (tenor) – Frantz; Olga Szönyi
(mezzo) – Niklausse; Gabriella Déry (soprano) – Giulietta; Stella; Miklós Petri
(bass) – Schlemil; Endre Várhelyi (bass) – Luther; Tibor Nádas (bass) – Hermann;
Edit Domján (speaking role) – The Muse; Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus
and Orchestra/Miklós Erdélyi
rec. no date or location given. Historical recording from
Hungarian Radio Archives. Publ. 1983. mono. HUNGAROTON
has produced quite a number of superb opera singers, many
of whom have had important international careers. In recent
years sopranos Eva Marton and Andrea Rost come to mind.
In the tenor department the most famous is probably Sándor
Kónya, who among other things spent fourteen seasons at
the Met, where – as well as at Bayreuth and Covent Garden – Lohengrin
was one of his signature roles.
was born in 1923. His slightly younger compatriot Róbert
Ilosfalvy passed away in January this year (2009), aged
81. He too went international and had a stint at the Met.
To the record-buying public he is probably best known for
the 1969 recording of Roberto Devereux, opposite
Beverly Sills. He also made recordings in Germany but it
is valuable to have these excerpts from Les Contes d’Hoffmann,
where he is excellent throughout. He proves brilliant as
well as lyrical and with a deep understanding of the role.
Considering that he was in his mid-fifties when the recording
was made he sounds amazingly youthful. The Kleinzach song
that opens the disc is sung with ardour and forward thrust
and his duets with Antonia and Giulietta are splendid examples
of vital tenor singing of a quality that can’t always be
taken for granted.
is surrounded by a highly competent supporting cast, none
of which – with the exception of mezzo-soprano Olga Szönyi – are
particularly well known outside Hungary. György Radnai
sports a warm and rounded baritone, expressive but more
lyrical than many singers assuming the roles of Hoffmann’s
evil geniuses. Scintille diamant is uncommonly soft
and mild, not as threatening as it should be but attractive
even so. Árpád Kishegyi sings Frantz’s aria without too
much clowning but with a sure sense for characterisation.
Olympia, Karola Ágay manages to sound mechanical and impersonal
though her technical prowess is impressive. Júlia Orosz
is a middling Antonia whereas Gabriella Déry is a really
and orchestra are excellent and Miklós Erdélyi leads the
proceedings unerringly. The sense of theatre is also tangible,
not least in the epilogue. The recording is mono but the
sound is first class. It is sung in Hungarian but that’s
no problem since the language is eminently singable.
production is a worthy memorial to one of Hungary’s finest
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