Meyerbeer - Grand Opera
In November 1831, the premiere of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s five-act opera Robert le Diable created a sensation in Paris. Chopin was bowled over, and both Wagner and Verdi owe Meyerbeer a debt in essentially creating the genre of grand opera. Epic and lavishly staged spectaculars like Les Huguenots and Le prophète became staples of the great European opera houses during the 19th century. On this 2017 selection of arias with Emmanuel Villaume and the Lyon Opera Orchestra, the German soprano Diana Damrau makes light work of the composer’s fiendish coloratura challenges in a wide-ranging program sung in German, French, and Italian. It’s a collection that also reveals Meyerbeer’s often surprisingly delicate handling of the orchestra, especially the woodwind (with “obbligato'” flute used to great effect). Listen, in particular, to the dramatic “D’una madre disperata…Con qual gioia” from Il Crociato in Egitto.