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Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, March 2012

The singers are a worthy lot, producing charming, witty, authentic interpretations to be enjoyed over and over again. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online, January 2012

the music…bubbles along pleasantly and has just the effect of lighthearted entertainment that the composer intended; soprano Meghan McCall…is particularly well-suited to the comic banter. Opera Lafayette’s exceptionally idiomatic approach to this and the other works recorded by Naxos shows that the opera world has far more to it than most operagoers realize… © 2012 Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, January 2012

The music is taut, descriptive and sung by Opera Lafayette with modest emotional coloring that comfortably exemplifies the point.

Darren Perry impresses the absurdities of Sancho Pança without overstepping boundaries. During the duel with Don Crispinos, “Une, deux”, both Perry’s and Tony Boutté’s voices mesh with an aesthetic flair. Elizabeth Calleo measures precision and unblemished clarity as Sancho’s wife, Thérèse. The vocal acumens of Meghan McCall as Juliette are sweet, lyrical and pristine, particularly in her aria, “Je vais seulette” where she executes the most marvelous acciaccatura dynamics. One can hear strains of Mozart permeating the score, well highlighted in Sancho’s ‘ball’ aria, “Je suis comme une pauve boule.” The orchestra plays an integral part in magnifying the singers’ feelings; their execution is excellent and demonstrably clear.

Philidor’s Sancho Pança is brilliantly captured on this Naxos CD. The acoustics are stellar and even more so when listening on headsets…Highly recommended. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2011

Francois-Andre Philidor was one of the founders of French Opera-Comique, and would have enjoyed more success had it not been for his brilliance as a chess player. He was to earn a living playing the game, and became so highly respected that his book on the skills required has been passed down to the 20th century. In chess and opera he worked in Paris and London, and while many of his operas were intended as comedies, his high education as a composer never allowed him to write the trivial scores that were to soon overtake him in French popularity. Sancho Panca—a one act opera composed in 1762—enjoyed a brief life in the theatre, but is today unknown. The libretto was formed from a section of Cervantes’s famous novel, Don Quijote, where a duke and duchess welcome Don Quixote and his companion, Sancha Panza, and then devise scenarios that they hope will bring an end to their guest’s delusions. For Sancho Panza this involves being made governor of the Island of Barataria, and amid marital problems and confusions, Sancho is eventually persuaded that life as a humble farmer is much better than the stress of such a high rank. Philidor relates the episode in a series of arias and duets, the singers—more or less—coming on stage to sing just an aria and then depart, allowing the cast to double up on various characters. While highly attractive, it does not musically possess a comedy ingredient, that ingredient only coming from words. It is here performed in good period style by the American company, Opera Lafayette, who specialise in Baroque opera. The cast—also mainly from the States—is headed by the pleasing voice of the baritone, Darren Perry, and the attractive light soprano of Elizabeth Calleo as his wife. Notable among the multi-roles are the soprano, Meghan McCall, and the high tenor of Karim Sulayman, while Ryan Brown is the conductor well versed in this musical era. Excellent sound.

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