Auber: Orchestral and Theatre works
Richard Bonynge
Catalogue No.

Compiled from several Decca recordings made between 1964 and 1988, this portrait of Auber was created at Richard Bonynge’s specific request and supervised by him. Most substantial of these recordings is the ballet version which Auber made from his opera ‘Marco Spada’: 65 minutes of scintillating dance music, in the adaptation made by Richard Bonynge for the purpose of the recording. The set serves also to show Bonynge’s career-long commitment to the neglected figure of Auber. He has done more than any other musician in the modern era to rehabilitate a figure of prodigious accomplishment and huge popularity in his own era who both excited the admiration of Wagner and Berlioz as well as supplying a string of hits for the Opéra-Comique in Paris.

The conductor contributes a new and extensive essay of his own to this reissue, outlining Auber’s place in nineteenth-century culture and recalling how he came to make these recordings. Early in his partnership with Decca he had already made a disc of ‘French Opera’ overtures including ‘Marco Spada’ and’ Lestocq’ (‘a record for Francophiles to cherish’, according to Gramophone’s original review in March 1970); these are included here, in new remasterings, along with the even less familiar overture to ‘La Neige’.

Bonynge was introduced to the A minor Cello Concerto by the principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera,Richard Jascha Silberstein but much of this music Bonynge discovered for himself, as well as some of the artists who would help him bring it to life such as the mezzo-soprano Huguette Tourangeau. She sings an aria from ‘Le cheval bronze’, Bonynge’s wife Dame Joan Sutherland brings off a pair of showpieces from ‘Manon Lescaut’ and ‘Fra Diavolo’ and the set concludes with Australian-made recordings featuring another three fine antipodean singers: Angela Denning, Heather Begg and Anson Austin. A complementary issue on Eloquence (482 7742) presents the conductor’s sole complete recording of an Auber opera, ‘Le Domino Noir’ together with his ballet music for ‘Gustav III’.


CD 1
Marco Spada                                                                                                                 
London Symphony Orchestra

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor
Jascha Silberstein, cello
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

CD 2                                                                                                          Marco Spada: Overture                                                                                                    Lestocq: Overture                                                                                                            
New Philharmonia Orchestra

La Neige: Overture
Pas classique
London Symphony Orchestra

Les Rendez-vous (arr. Constant Lambert)
English Chamber Orchestra

Le Cheval de bronze: Ah pour un jeune cœur… O tourment du veuvage
Huguette Tourangeau, mezzo-soprano
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

La Muette de Portici: Ferme tes yeux
Richard Conrad, tenor
London Symphony Orchestra

Manon Lescaut: C’est l’histoire amoureuse
Fra Diavolo: Non temete milord … Or son sola
Joan Sutherland, soprano
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Fra Diavolo: Du village voisin … Dès l’enfance
Angela Denning, soprano
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

L’Ambassadrice: Buvons tous au Sultan Misapouf
Angela Denning, soprano
Heather Begg,
Anson Austin,
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Richard Bonynge

Recording information

Recording Producers: Michael Woolcock (Marco Spada); John Mordler (Cello Concerto, La Neige, Le Cheval de bronze, Manon Lescaut, Fra Diavolo); David Harvey (Marco Spada Overture, Lestocq); Christopher Raeburn (Pas classique, La Muette de Portici); Michael Haas (Les Rendez-vous); Margaret Hetherington (Fra Diavolo, L’Ambassadrice)
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Peter van Biene (Marco Spada); James Lock (Cello Concerto, La Neige, Le Cheval de bronze, Manon Lescaut, Fra Diavolo); Kenneth Wilkinson (Marco Spada Overture, Lestocq); Arthur Lilley (Pas classique, La Muette de Portici); Stanley Goodall (Les Rendez-vous); Peter Thorpe (Fra Diavolo, L’Ambassadrice)Recording Locations: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 31 August and 4, 6, 7, 9 18, 20 & 21 September 1969 (Manon Lescaut, Fra Diavolo), 20–23 August 1970 (Le Cheval de bronze); 20, 21, 23, & 24 September 1971 (Cello Concerto); Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 25–29 June 1963 (La Muette de Portici), 25, 29 April and 1 May 1964 (Pas classique), 26 February and 3, 5 & 6 March 1969 (Marco Spada Overture, Lestocq), 19–21 May 1971 (La Neige), 14–17 & 25 August 1972 (Marco Spada); Henry Wood Hall, London, UK, 6 & 8–11 June 1988 (Les Rendez-vous); Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, June 1980 (Fra Diavolo, L’Ambassadrice)
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer


‘One can have only the highest praise for the balletically idiomatic fashion in which Bonynge presents [the music] … He elicits smart, crisp playing from the orchestra, and the reproduction is notable for its bright realism.’  High Fidelity (Pas classique)

‘Silberstein makes a dashing thing of [the concerto] … He is obviously a man of first-class instincts, and he seems to know those lush, genial melodies from the operas.’ Gramophone (Cello Concerto)