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Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, March 2014

This June 2012 studio performance makes a strong case for the opera. It produces an energy that sweeps the music along, coupled with a gentle, smiling lyricism.

Fete Galante is pretty enjoyable. The orchestra and the orchestration are as ear-catching as the singers. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, January 2014

The level of inspiration throughout is high. Schierbeck revels in opportunities to display both musical humor and sentiment, and to switch out deftly between the two…his ability to evoke specific colors out of his orchestra is a continuous delight.

The singing is mostly very fine. Dénise Beck is without doubt the best thing in it, sporting a focused, attractive lyric soprano voice and a real gift for utilizing dynamics and phrasing to convey meaning. Her act 3 monologue requires a strong actress as well as a beautiful voice, and Beck delivers. Bo Skovhus does a fine turn as the slippery Scaramouche, while Andrea Pellegrini as his flirtatious wife has the right vocal weight…Gert Henning-Jensen’s dry lyric tenor succeeds through cantabile and fine vocal production. René’s three friends are all excellently sung…Michael Schønwandt conducts well and his Danes display all the finesse they are capable of…

The engineering is excellent…This is a fine performance…of a seldom-heard work, and strongly recommended. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review




David Fanning
Gramophone, December 2013

It’s good finally to be able to hear this lyric‑comic opera by Poul Schierbeck. It’s a strong score, masterfully orchestrated, with many shades of Nielsen’s Maskarade and a few of Figaro and Rosenkavalier. …at its best there’s an effervescence and warmth here that are immensely likeable. A superb cast and recording from the Danish National Symphony Choir and Orchestra under Michael Schønwandt. © 2013 Gramophone



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, October 2013

The cast includes soprano Dénise Beck (Suzon), mezzo-soprano Andrea Pellegrini (La Scaramouche), alto Henriette Elimar (Annette), tenors Michael Weinius (René), Gert Henning-Jensen (King Louis XV) and Christian Damsgaard (Dumont), not to mention renown baritone Bo Skovhus (Scaramouche). All are in magnificent voice for this tasty Danish operatic pastry!

Conductor Michael Schönwandt gets superb accounts from them as well as seven other soloists along with the Danish National Concert Choir and Symphony Orchestra. While Schierbeck’s masterpiece had to wait some fifty years for this recorded revival, the composer couldn’t have better advocates than the performers assembled here.

Calling for fourteen soloists, chorus and a large orchestra, the opera presents a considerable recording challenge, but the Danish engineers have met it head on!…the CD and SACD stereo tracks project a magnificently proportioned soundstage in an ideal acoustic. The multichannel version will give you a center seat.

The balance between vocalists and orchestra is ideal throughout. There is a hint of upper end digital grain on the CD track, but it’s a bit less pronounced with the two SACD ones. The midrange is very natural sounding, and the lows exceptionally clean in all three play modes. Opera recordings don’t get much better than this—audiophiles take note! © 2013 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



David Fanning
Gramophone, October 2013

…the orchestration is a constant delight, and it was this aspect that early critics singled out, despite their finding the piece over-long. …Schønwandt and his forces deserve far more than the traditional nod of respect.

…Dacapo’s cast is without conspicuous weakness; and, with beautiful recording quality and excellent documentation in addition to first-rate performance, the collectability of this issue for Scandophiles is not in doubt. © Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2013

I guess that, like me, you will have never heard of Poul Schierbeck’s Fete Galante, but if you make just one operatic discovery during this year, make sure it’s this one. Born into a music-loving Danish family in 1888, he went to university to study law, but music reclaimed him, and his future composition mentors included Nielsen. From there he enjoyed a varied career, his place in Danish music cemented with marriage to a leading opera singer, Sylvia Larsen. The idea of writing Fete Galante came through the rather bizarre route of being asked to compose incidental music to Max Lobedanz’s play of that name, but on reading it, he asked Lobedanz if he could fashion it into an opera libretto. And so in 1923 he began writing the score, though it was four years later before it was complete. Though the plot becomes quite complex, it basically relates that, in the absence of the King at court, Count Rene tricks Suzon into a fake marriage, the witnesses being his friends who are willingly accessories. She is blissfully unaware that the King insists on sampling in bed the pleasures of new brides when his noblemen marry. Scaramouche, theatre director and supplier of women to the wealthy, finds out about the scam and offers to get proper legal signatures on the marriage certificate she has for a large fee from Suzon. And so the plot thickens, Scaramouche eventually being double-crossed by the conspirators, when they persuade the King, on his unexpectedly early return, that Scaramouche’s wife is the new bride, and she is more than happy to spend a couple of hours in his bedroom. Written in a style not far removed from Richard Strauss’s comedies, the score is full of highly attractive melodies, Schierbeck’s pedigree as a symphonic composer creating gorgeous intermezzos that linger long in the memory. I suppose we go through life wedded to the first recorded performance that we own, but this one must come close to being definitive. Denise Beck, as Suzon, perfectly weighs an innocence with a seductive allure, the quality of her voice being a constant delight, while the Rene of Michael Weinus is a creamy smooth tenor. At the heart of the story, and with the major share of the score, Bo Skovhus, is an exceptional baritone that vocally has everything the scheming Scaramouche requires. There is not one weak link in the long list of subordinate character singers, and the orchestra, with Michael Schondwandt conducting, is absolutely superb. The booklet does not make clear whether the recording came from concert performances, though there are photographs in the booklet that suggest that possibility. If it was, the audience were silent, and the engineering quality outstanding. My major problem is to stop playing it. Absolutely superb. © 2013 David’s Review Corner






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10:13:23 AM, 22 December 2014
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