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Bonynge, Illing and the band wrap up their treasury of Massenet with three songs from the hugely neglected Ariane (1906), further fine examples of the composer's unassailable place in French music. The first two of these are 'Avec tes compangnes guerrières' and 'Je comprends ... un héros! Un roi'. Now glory in the closing bars of the final song 'Ils mentaient! A quoi bon' [listen -- track 19, 4:15-5:59] -- if you fail to feel swept by a floodtide of privilege then it's time to see your mental health professional.

My lament is this; concert stage songs of Balfe, Butterworth, Britten and Ireland (UK); Wolff, Schumann and Brahms (EU); Barber and Rorem (US); and Tchaikovsky, Varlamov or Glinka (Russia), are performed more frequently than many of the theatrical gems on Melba/Massenet's Amoureuse. Of course the constraining economics of full opera productions are undeniable. But why not more Massenet when opera performers guest with orchestras around the world.

Massenet went onto write seven more operas, though the final three -- Panurge, Cléopâtre and Amadis were premièred after his death in 1912.

Copyright © 6 January 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Jules Massenet - Amoureuse - Sacred and Profane Arias

MR 301106 SACD/Hybrid Surround REISSUE 75'41" Melba Concerts 1998, Melba Recordings 2000, 2006

Rosamund Illing, soprano; chorus: Rosemary Gunn, Joanne Goodman, Elizabeth Stannard; Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Richard Bonynge, conductor

Jules Massenet (1842-1912): Sainte Thérèse Prie; Amoureuse; Je vais bientôt quitter (Le Grand' Tante, orchestrated by Brian Castles-Onion); O mes soeurs (Marie Magdeleine); O nuit (Eve); O mon fils (La Vierge); Rêve infini! (La Vierge); Il est doux, il est bon (Hérodiade); Plus de tourments (Le Cid); Pleurez mes yeus (Le Cid); Ce que j'appelle beau (Sapho); Ah, vous avez parlé (Sapho); Solitude-demain, je partirai (Sapho); Vais-je rester ici? (Sapho); Loÿs! Loÿs! (Grisélidis); Vous parlez de péril (Chérubin); Avec tes compangnes guerrières (Ariane); Je comprends ... un héros! Un roi (Ariane); Ils mentaient! A quoi bon (Ariane)



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