OP0071. LA REINE DE SABA (Gounod), Live Performance, 2001, w. Benzi Cond. Francesca Scaini, Jeon-Won Lee, Anna Lucia Alessio, Annalisa Carbonara, Luca Grassi, Salvatore Cordella, etc. (Austria) 2-Dynamic CDS 387, Slipcase Edition w.68pp Libretto-Brochure in French & English. Very long out-of-print, ever-so-slightly used copy! - 8007144603878
“LA REINE DE SABA fell out of the operatic repertoire in the early twentieth century, and bringing it back to life involved a great deal of time and effort. Gounod’s original five-act version was cut and rearranged prior to its premiere in Paris in 1862.
Listening to the complete LA REINE DE SABA is refreshing for those familiar with old recordings of the truncated opera. Characters are fleshed out, motives are clearer, and the opera’s hit aria, ‘Inspirez-moi, race divine immediately introduces listeners to Gounod’s rich melodic writing. Save for FAUST and ROMÉO ET JULIETTE, Gounod’s operas lie in obscurity. But given the arresting music of LA REINE DE SABA, it’s hard to see why that remains the case. The score is lushly orchestrated, with hints of dark Wagnerian grandeur complementing its florid melodies. Ensemble numbers have the ease and clarity of one of Meyerbeer’s scenes, and Gounod never misses a moment to punctuate the dramatic action with powerful orchestral crescendos and tutti passages.”
- Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review