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Penguin Guide, January 2009

This completely gives the lie to any idea that Grace Moore was primarily a film star rather than a genuine prima donna. Helped by Sir Thomas Beecham at his most warmly understanding, obviously enjoying his wartime stint at the Met. in New York (1943), she gives an enchanting performance as Charpentier’s heroine. The voice is not just brilliant and flexible, with trills and ornaments flawlessly executed, but warm too, bringing out the tenderness of the writing. Her French is totally idiomatic, with the Canadian, Raoul Jobin, a stylish hero and Ezio Pinza gloriously resonant as the heroine’s father. Clearer, fuller, if limited mono sound than in most radio recordings from this source.

Phil Anson
La Scena Musicale

"Naxos's historical opera recordings are almost all worth their modest cost, and some of them would be treasures at any price. The latest release is a February 20, 1943, Metropolitan Opera recording of Gustave Charpentier's 'musical novel,' Louise, a once-popular opera which is unfortunately rarely staged today. This is a dynamic, fascinating performance by a company of first-class voices. In the title role, 45-year old soprano Grace Moore deploys a glorious, clear voice-though her Berlitz French accent betrays her Tennessee roots. Quebecois tenor Raoul Jobin (only 37) is an ardent Julien, pouring out virile lungfulls of sound (quel contrast to today's wimpy tenors). Ezio Pinza's entrance is justifiably applauded. The 51-year-old Italian-American bass is a noble, commanding Father, with a rich, broad, resonant instrument. Sir Thomas Beecham coaxes very fine playing out of the Met orchestra (horns, strings and winds are all audible in detail throughout their range). The recording, dating from 1943, is surprisingly vivid, with only minor surface noise. If you don't mind a bit of static, this highly dramatic CD (beefed up with 13 tracks of opera arias by Grace Moore) should give you hours of nostalgic pleasure."

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