OP3406. LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME - Complete Opera (Richard Strauss), recorded 1999, w.Karl Anton Rickenbacher Cond. Munich Chamber Orchestra; Peter Ustinov, Bodil Arnesen, Christa Mayer, Florian Cerny, etc. (Austria) 2-Koch Schwann 6578, w. Libretto-brochure in German & English. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 099923657828
“To say that actor, writer, dramatist, filmmaker, opera director and stage designer Sir Peter Ustinov was a renaissance man does him a disservice. None of the renaissance men I’ve read about display a soupçon of humor. And Peter Ustinov was brimming with it.Ustinov’s parents, both naturalized British subjects, were of Russian, German, Jewish, Ethiopian, French and Italian descent. Ustinov himself spoke six languages fluently, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian, plus some Turkish and modern Greek. He was a master of accents and dialects in each of these.
Richard Strauss’ LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME, first performed in 1912, is a satire of the nouveau rich. It’s based on an earlier Molière play, which dates from 1670, with music by Jean-Baptiste Lily. The plot involves a social-climbing Frenchman, M. Jourdain, his daughter Lucille and her mutual love for middle-class Cléonte. Jourdain is being schooled in aristocratic folderol, none too successfully, by a Music Master, a Dancing Master, a Fencing Instructor and a German Professor of Philosophy. There’s also a Polish tailor and, as the plot evolves, Cléonte masquerading as ‘the son and heir of Sultan Ibraham the Insane’.
Ustinov, of course, portrays all of these roles with pitch-perfection. The Strauss music is a delight; the Ustinov multilogue is a gentle hoot. ‘The Professor clears his throat, but fails to be rid of the German accent, even in Latin…’.”
- Dennis Simanaitis