Jodie Devos

Offenbach Colorature

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The operatic works of Jacques Offenbach are generally referred to as operettas, but the composer himself more often than not used its French equivalent, opérette. Instead, his works were called opéra comique, opéra bouffe, or any one of a dozen other genre names, including chinoiserie musicale, conversation alsacienne, saynète, and even anthropophagie musicale. Few fit the conventional notion of an operetta, with a pleasing but slightly satirical romantic plot, and musically they are all over the map, with fantastical elements, Italian-style coloratura arias (which are not necessarily denoted by the "colorature" of the album title), and more in addition to romantic songs. The voice style, too, had various names: chanteuse légère and several others in addition to coloratura. The overall result of this variety is that a recital of Offenbach's music needs a versatile singer who can respond to a text and put it across attractively. It gets both in Belgian soprano Jodie Devos, who succeeds on all counts. She pays attention to and articulates the words. She has a fetching sound in the romantic pieces and playful charisma in the vocal displays. She brings a proper show-stopping heft to the one really well-known piece here, the "Barcarolle" from Offenbach's swan song, Les contes d'Hoffman. Devos gets light, nimble support from the Münchener Rundfunkorchester under Laurent Campellone, and the whole thing is enough to make you wish for the performers to reunite in a full production of one of Offenbach's comic operas -- perhaps Boule de neige (Snowball), from 1871, or the "bouffonerie musicale" La leçon de chant électromagnétique (The Electromagnetic Singing Lesson!).

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Boule de Neige
1 02:03
2 04:04
Orphée aux enfers
3 02:22
Un Mari à la porte
4 04:02
5 05:12
Les Bavards
6 02:50
Mesdames de la Halle
7 04:51
Le Roi Carotte
8 04:06
Les Bergers
9 04:39
10 04:03
Les Contes d'Hoffmann
11 06:01
Robinson Crusoé
12 03:47
Boule de Neige
13 02:26
14 03:59
Les Contes d'Hoffmann
15 04:03
Le Voyage dans la Lune
16 02:22
blue highlight denotes track pick