In this two-CD set, José Serebrier gathers all of the ballet music Verdi wrote for his operas, much of it composed for productions at the Paris Opéra, for whose audiences the inclusion of a ballet was a non-negotiable part of the operatic experience. For the most part, these ballets would not be counted among the composer's deepest works, but they succeed perfectly in the function for which they were created: as diversions from the dark tragedy of the operas in which they were embedded. Serebrier and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra perform them with a light touch and with idiomatic élan. Serebrier's flexible, lilting phrasing makes it clear that this is music intended for dance, and besides being flawlessly graceful, the performances sound like fun. Some of the music, like the dances from Aida, is usually included in performances of the opera, but some, like the ballet from Jérusalem (a re-working of I Lombardi for a Paris production), Serebrier unearthed in opera house archives in preparation for this recording. Naxos' sound is pristine and bright. This recording should be of strong interest to Verdi fans, and the sparkling performances should appeal to anyone who loves Romantic ballet.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
Track Listing - Disc 1
Act 3. Scene 7. Ballabili (Allegro vivace [Danza turca] - Canzone araba - Invocazione ad Allah - Canzone greca - Danza - Muranese - Canto guerriero)
Track Listing - Disc 2
|I vespri siciliani|