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Louis-Ferdinand Hérold’s comic opera Le Pré aux clercs is having a fashion moment. Following last year’s re-release of the 1959 radio broadcast, and a new production shared by the Opéra-Comique and Wexford Festival, we now have a complete and modern recording based on the Paris performances. Opéra comique as a genre is not generally on trend today (Carmen excepted) and Hérold’s final opera had faded from sight, despite having enjoyed 1,608 performance at the Opéra-Comique between 1832 and 1949. Its obscurity these days is a shame as it’s highly enjoyable. Admittedly there is a lot of dialogue, but it’s delivered with spirit by all. Michael Spyres almost nonchalantly floats through the tenor role of Mergy and Marie-Ève Munger skips joyously through Isabelle’s Act III Ronde, followed by the catchy trio which caused a sensation at the premiere. The cast works hard (I particularly liked Christian Helmer’s sparky Girot) and although not everyone has a world- class voice the piece comes across with vivacity under Paul McChreesh’s idiomatic baton.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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