Of­fen­bach is off the chart in this gift of a record­ing

Christo­pher Cook is on his feet to ap­plaud a thrilling dis­play of vo­cal and or­ches­tral py­rotech­nics

BBC Music Magazine - - Reviews -

Of­fen­bach Colorature

Songs and arias from Boule de neige,

Vert-vert, Or­phée aux en­fers, Un mari à la porte, Fan­ta­sio, Les Bavards, Mes­dames de la halle, Le Roi Carotte, Les Contes d'hoff­mann, Robin­son Cru­soë and Le voy­age dans la lune

Jodie Devos (so­prano), Adèle Charvet (mezzo-so­prano); Mu­nich Radio Or­ches­tra/ Lau­rent Cam­pel­lone Al­pha Clas­sics AL­PHA 437 60:59 mins This is a mar­riage made in a mu­si­cal heaven with the young Dutch so­prano Jodie Devos re­mind­ing us just how gifted Jac­ques Of­fen­bach was as a com­poser. And how in­ven­tive too.

Yes, he has per­fect mu­si­cal man­ners; it’s true that he wears a gift for melody on his sleeve and his sense of rhythm is that of the boule­vardier. But his or­ches­tras are cer­tainly made to sing for their sup­pers: the faintly sin­is­ter strings at the start of the Bar­carolle from Les Contes d’hoff­mann, the shiver that runs through the basses when Eury­dice sings the word ‘death’ in her in­vo­ca­tion in Or­phée aux en­fers. Lau­rent Cam­pel­lone gets the very best out of the Mu­nich

Jodie Devos is a grav­ity-de­fy­ing col­oratura so­prano

Radio Or­ches­tra even in reper­toire that will be un­fa­mil­iar to the most pas­sion­ate Of­fen­bachian.

For all that, this is Devos’s record­ing. She’s a grav­ity-de­fy­ing col­oratura so­prano who would have thrilled the com­poser; and she’s cer­tainly not the prover­bial ca­nary. It’s all char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion in the cou­plets from Les Bavards as she skew­ers the chat­ter­box wife hav­ing first pinned down a grumpy hus­band. And when fire­works are called for she throws off scales and trills and runs with the great­est of ease. The three num­bers from Boule de Neige, plun­dered from an ear­lier work in 1871 when Of­fen­bach was strug­gling to re­build his rep­u­ta­tion af­ter the ig­no­min­ious end of the French Sec­ond Em­pire, are di­a­mond bright.

Metaphor­i­cally, you’re on your feet be­fore Devos is ef­fort­lessly stretching up to her fi­nal top notes. PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★★

Hear ex­tracts from this record­ing and the rest of this month’s choices on the BBC Mu­sic Mag­a­zine web­site at www.clas­si­cal-mu­sic.com

The trill of it: Jodie Devos puts on quite a show

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