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Auber’s Le Philtre

‘Boredom at the Paris Opéra has long been a truism. A tasteful, aristocratic boredom, perhaps, but boredom is boredom and, even at the risk of compromising the dignity of both audience and opera house, the authors of Le Philtre have sought to find a cure for this and entertain the stalls at last. Grandiose poems, magnificent stagings, the din of brass instruments were all suddenly replaced by joyful chords, a cheerful libretto and rural backdrops.’

Revue des théâtres, 1831


Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782–1871)
Le Philtre
Opera in two acts
Libretto by Eugène Scribe
Sung in French

Luiza Fatyol, Adina Vilichi, Sopranos • Patrick Kabongo, Tenor
Emmanuel Franco, Baritone • Eugenio Di Lieto, Bass
Kraków Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Luciano Acocella

The two leading operatic composers of their time were Rossini and Auber, one now fêted, the other largely overlooked. In 1831 Auber and his long-standing librettist Eugène Scribe produced Le Philtre, which took the concept of petit opéra to the extreme, even outdoing Rossini’s Le Comte Ory in depicting a rural setting peopled not with Arcadian shepherds but with ordinary country folk. Auber’s Franco-Italian style can be heard in the work’s ensembles, while elsewhere the opera shimmers with rich arias, buffo elements and delightful cavatinas. Le Philtre was an unalloyed success receiving 243 performances and inspired Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore.

Listen to an extract from Act I, Scene 9:
Trio and Finale: C'est un ordre du capitaine
About the Artists
Albums in the Auber Overtures series
‘The musicians play this music with wonderful spirit … So, when are we going to get Vol. 2? The sooner, the better!’
‘Not only are the performances crystal clear—wonderfully articulated and lovingly brought to life in what seems to be an ideal acoustic—but the disc booklet essay by Robert Ignatius Letellier gives excellent information on each piece and a brief resume of the opera plots.’
MusicWeb International
‘The orchestra plays with drama and sensitivity throughout, while Salvi’s attention to detail ... renders this a recording of historical value in addition to being a highly satisfying listen.’
The Light Music Society
‘… these performances are stylish, spirited, and affectionate.’
‘… there’s musical interest here aplenty … these are attractive accounts of music that deserves better than its current obscurity.’

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