One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

Support us financially by purchasing this from
André Ernest Modeste GRÉTRY (1741-1813)
Guillaume Tell - Drame en trois actes [78:51]
Guillaume Tell – Marc Laho (tenor); Madame Tell – Anne-Catherine Gillet (soprano); Gessler - Lionel Lhote (baritone); Marie – Liesbeth Devos (soprano); Le fils Tell – Natacha Kowalski (mezzo); Meiktal – Patrick Delcour (baritone); Le fils Meiktal – Stefan Cifolelli (tenor); Le voyageur – Roger Joakim (baritone)
Orchestre et Choeurs de l’Opéra royal de Wallonie/Claudio Scimone
rec. June 2013, l’Opéra Royal de Wallonie
text and translations included

In reviewing an earlier issue by Musique en Wallonie I expressed the hope of hearing more of the music of Grétry, preferably in recordings deriving from theatrical performances. It was therefore with great pleasure that I received this disc. It clearly derives from such performances, intriguing photographs of which adorn the thick booklet. The spoken dialogue is included — I do not know whether it is complete — and, very helpfully, the text and translations are included in the booklet.
The plot of the opera essentially concerns the same events as Rossini’s opera of the same name although the treatment is very different. Most of the first act sets the Swiss rural scene and only at the end is there mention of the appalling cruelty of the Austrians and their local Governor, Gessler. He appears in person in the second act which culminates in the famous scene in which Tell shoots the apple from his son’s head. The final act is something of an anti-climax although it ends with the very rapid, almost perfunctory, expulsion of the Austrians from Switzerland. The Overture starts with a ranz des vaches similar to that employed by Rossini, and there is much use throughout the opera of devices giving local colour. The various airs and ensembles range from the very straightforward in the first act to more complex airs and ensembles in the second. All are set in an unfailingly pretty, and sometimes beautiful or dramatic, style, and few are more than a few minutes long. Having said that, I must admit that there are fewer moments here than in other operas I have heard by this composer which demand a rehearing or which linger in the memory.
As the recording was made live it gives a better impression of the character of the opera than those in which the musical numbers succeed each other without a break. In this instance however the inclusion of the dialogue is at best a mixed blessing as it is delivered in what I assume to be a deliberately exaggerated and stagey manner. Without seeing the production, in which it may make perfect sense, I have no idea why this is the case and I found it irksome to listen to without seeing the action. Little audience reaction to dialogue or music is audible, and stage noises are also surprisingly few. The main advantage however of recording a live performance is that the music is treated as part of the drama rather than as a series of individual numbers. That is certainly the case here, and the result is a fine ensemble performance. The orchestra play with great spirit and style under Claudio Scimone.
Overall I am very glad to have had the opportunity of getting to know another opera by this genial and imaginative composer. If the word pleasant rather than profound is appropriate to describe it I see no reason why apology should be needed for obtaining such innocent pleasure from music. Musique en Wallonie once again fights its corner for its local composers and performers with style and panache, presenting the disc in a way that does all that could be asked to maximise that pleasure. Here is an opportunity to explore a little known but interesting and succinct opera of the late eighteenth century in a stylish and dramatic performance. Only the strange delivery of the dialogue may put you off, and by the end I minded even that less. Overall this is a very welcome addition to the catalogue.
John Sheppard