OP2171. MAÎTRE PIERRE (Gounod), recorded 1951, w.d’Olonne Cond.: Géori Boué, Jacqueline Cauchard, Henri le Clézio & Michel Roux; LE MÉDECIN MALGRÉ LUI (Gounod) – Excerpts, recorded 1959, w.Aubin Cond. Louis Musy, Freda Betti, Agnès Disney, Lina Dachary, Michel Cadiou, Joseph Peyron & Lucien Lovano. (France) 2-Malibran 193. - 7600003771933
“This collection includes the first recording on CD of Gounod’s unfinished opera MAÎTRE PIERRE. This 1951 radio performance restores the basic 3 acts of the opera. It is conducted by Max d’Ollone, a pupil of Massenet, who completed the final part.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron
"’I would rather have written LE ROI MALGRÉ LUI than the RING OF THE NIBELUNGEN’. So wrote Maurice Ravel of Emmanuel Chabrier's comic opera LE ROI MALGRÉ LUI, or The Reluctant King….Chabrier completed it in early 1887 after just nine months of work, producing a lively and melodic score as well as a diverse one - patter song, love music, a bit of heavy Wagnerian drama (reflecting Chabrier's love of the music of the German master), and energetic dances are all part of the mix.
The opera is based, loosely, on historical figures and events….LE ROI MALGRÉ LUI was premiered by the Opéra-Comique of Paris on 18 May, 1887. Despite the complexities of the plot, Chabrier's music won the day and the performance was very well received, with several numbers encored (although the librettists were booed). But the theatre burnt down after just three performances. Six months later the opera was taken up again at the Théâtre Lyrique, Place du Châtelet, and thanks to the support of the noted Wagnerian conductor Felix Mottl, the opera was also performed several times in Germany. But the work seemed to lose favor with the public, to a large extent due to the poor libretto (which was revised substantially for revivals in 1888 and 1929), and it has seldom been performed since that 1929 revival. Some excerpts from the opera, notably the ‘Fête polonaise’ from the beginning of Act II, have taken on their own life in the concert hall, ensuring that the work Chabrier once referred to as a ‘comic opera with elaborate undies’ has not disappeared completely from view.”
- Chris Morrison, allmusic.com