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Monday, June 5, 2017

Andre-Ernest-Modeste Gretry, L'epreuve villageoise, Opera Lafayette

If the French school of baroque-classical music has put you under a spell, you will be happy with Andre-Ernest-Modeste Gretry (1741-1813) and his most popular work, the comic opera L'epreuve villageoise (The Village Trial) (Naxos 8.660377). The 1784 opera gets, surprisingly, its World Premiere Recording with this release, under the very capable and enthusiastic auspices of Opera Lafayette and soloists under Ryan Brown.

In truth this is a great example of how the best of the French school can be lighter than air, extraordinarily tuneful yet in no way insubstantial. A listen or two illuminates exactly how the opera delighted audiences the world over in the century between 1784-1884. It still has the power to charm, as Opera Lafayette show so convincingly.

Here is an opera that has the catchy accessibility of Rossini, yet a French lyrical dynamic at its core.

It is a beauty. And it has the Naxos price and quality. Take the jump if you want to explore a forgotten gem.

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