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Duos d'Operettes - Barbara Hendricks and Gino Quilico
Rudolf FRIML (1879–1972)
Rose Marie.
1. Indian Love Call [5:35]
Sigmund ROMBERG (1887–1951)
The Desert Song:
2. Why wasting your time [4:44]
The New Moon:
3. Wanting you [3:15]
The Student Prince:
4. Deep in my heart [5:14]
Reynaldo HAHN (1875–1947)
5. Nous avons fait un beau voyage [2:32]
André MESSAGER (1853–1929)
6. Duo de l’escarpoette [4:28]
7. Duetto de l’âne [2:22]
Maurice YVAIN (1891–1965)
Ta bouche:
8. Valse: Ta bouche a des baisers si bons [3:46]
Henri CHRISTINÉ (1867–1941)
9. Duo des souvenirs [3:08]
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819–1880)
10. Duo: Tous les deux, amoureux [3:09]
Karl MILLÖCKER (1842–1899)
11. Wie freu’ ich mich, Sie hier zu she’n … Hüten Sie sich [5:24]
Richard HEUBERGER (1850–1914)
Der Opernball:
12. Hier ist die Uhr … Geh’n wir in’s chamber séparée [5:17]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899)
Der Zigeunerbaron:
13. Wer uns getraut? [3:39]
Wiener Blut:
14. Das eine kann ich nicht verzeih’n … Wiener Blut! Wiener Blut! [5:59]
Franz LEHÁR (1870–1948)
Das Land des Lächelns:
15. Bei einem Tee à deux [4:14]
Die lustige Witwe:
16. Lippen schweigen [2:44]
Barbara Hendricks (soprano), Gino Quilico (baritone)
Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon/Lawrence Foster
rec. Lyon, Opéra, 19–24 November 1993
Texts and French translations included
EMI CLASSICS 55151 [66:30]

It seems that whenever in operetta, whether French, Viennese or American, the atmosphere becomes more tenser and the loving couple burst out into duet, it is in ¾ time! At least this is the case in most of the numbers on this wholly delightful disc and since waltzes can develop very differently within the basic frame there is no lack of variety. I believe that most operetta lovers, whom I hope are still numerous, will find quite a number of their favourites in the genre while at the same time discovering a few that are not so familiar but worth the acquaintance.
Indian Love Call from Friml’s Rose-Marie must be one of the most frequently heard duets. I suppose that even readers who were born well into the second half of the last century have heard the legendary couple Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Why wasting your time from The Desert Song may be unfamiliar to begin with but when we reach the refrain everybody will be able to sing along in Blue Heaven and you and I. Anglo-Saxon readers may be less acquainted with the French repertoire but there are gems aplenty here. My personal favourite is the waltz (exactly!) from Ta bouche and also the high-spirited duet from Offenbach’s Barbe-Bleue. Richard Heuberger survives mainly through Der Opernball and more precisely through Im Chambre séparée. This was legendarily recorded by Elisabeth Schumann back in the 1930s and in the 1950s by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This is however a duet and the dialogue leading up to the well-known melody is just as charming. The Strauss and Lehár duets that conclude the disc are standard fare but I can’t hear them too often.
It may come as a surprise that EMI chose an American soprano and a Canadian baritone, neither of them specifically associated with this repertoire, but it turns out that they are both extremely well suited to this music. In particular Gino Quilico’s beautiful baritone is ideal. He has warmth and elegance and he can be both dramatically expressive and seductively caressing when needed. Barbara Hendricks’ characteristic quick vibrato makes her immediately recognizable and few sopranos of her generation sings more beautifully. Her voice is, however, more limited in expression. She is extremely musical, tasteful and phrases everything to perfection but the voice colour has a narrower scope. This is something to note when listening to a lot of duets in a row; heard a couple at a time everything is as exquisite as one could wish. Dip into this recital at random and at no point is there room for complaint concerning expression. If you need further convincing and perhaps if you share my initial concern about a certain lack of variety, the duets from Der Zigeunerbaron and Das Land des Lächeln will probably convert you too.
Recorded by EMI France it was natural to set the sessions in Lyon, where one of the best opera orchestras in the country are located. The playing and conducting leave no room for complaint. There are good liner-notes on the repertoire; in French and German by Benoît Duteurtre and in English by Andrew Lamb. The sung texts are only translated into French. I’m sure, though, that this will not be a hindrance to enjoyment of this fine recital.
Göran Forsling


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