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Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, March 2017

This recent release from Naxos is an example of [opera buffa], offering a splendid performance of Maurice Ravel’s version of the Spanish-flavored L’Heure espagnole, as realized by the musicians of the Orchestre National de Lyon under the direction of conductor Leonard Slatkin. © 2017 Scene Magazine Read complete review, November 2016

Leonard Slatkin conducts the Lyon National Orchestra on this recording, with Luca Lombardo as Torquemada, Isabelle Druet as his wife, Frederic Antoun, Marc Barrard, Francois Le Roux, and the excellent French bass Nicolas Courjal. © 2016 Read complete review

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, July 2016

I like Druet very much, …Her tone has steel in it.

…the voices are closely present in the sound picture, but Ravel’s attractive orchestral colors are not dimmed. Everything is warm and clear, and at times exciting. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Huntley Dent
Fanfare, July 2016

…Slatkin leads a sweet-toned reading that has its own charm. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Roger Pines
Opera News, July 2016

This one-act comédie musicale is largely declamatory, with fleeting moments of entrancing lyricism. The Spanish flavor, vivid above all in the variety of percussion instruments employed by Ravel, is delightful, particularly when performed as dazzlingly as it is in Naxos’s new release.

Isabelle Druet boasts a lyric mezzo of richness and brightness in equal parts, with welcome ease on top.

French-Canadian tenor Frédéric Antoun offers technically flawless vocalism with a luminous lyric timbre, employed with instinctive elegance. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, May 2016

All five of the singers do an excellent job with Ravel’s colorful music and create believable comic portrayals, as much as possible on CD. If one is looking for musical quality only, this cast supplies plenty, and Leonard Slatkin leads the Orchestra of Lyon expertly in Ravel’s witty score. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, April 2016

L’Heure espagnole is farcical, but Ravel’s sense of comedy also contains a certain elegance that is essential for the work to attain its appeal. …the Lyon orchestra leaves little to be desired and Slatkin clearly appreciates the score, capitalizing on the Spanish elements. No detail in Ravel’s wonderful orchestration is missed and Slatkin’s tempos are perfectly judged. Everything comes across vividly… © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Charles T. Downey
The Washington Post, April 2016

The rich-toned mezzo-soprano Isabelle Druet is a seductive, sometimes acidic Concepción, the cheating wife of the clockmaker Torquemada, played by the light-voiced tenor Luca Lombardo. She schemes with Don Iñigo Gomez, sung with oily smoothness by the bass Nicolas Courjal, to get her husband the job of winding the municipal clocks, which gets him out of the house regularly. Concepción invites a young poet, Gonzalve, sung with heroic strength by tenor Frédéric Antoun, whose visit coincides with that of Don Iñigo. © The Washington Post Read complete review

Nigel Harris
MusicWeb International, April 2016

…thoroughly enjoyable, the sound is good, the price is right, and Isabelle Druet in particular is well worth hearing. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, April 2016

Leonard Slatkin conducts with admirable delicacy, with a nice attention to detail. …Isabelle Druet expresses Concepción’s frustration and impatience so vividly that you almost forget that you can’t see her. Her outburst ‘Oh! La pitoyable aventure!’, seconds before her invitation to Ramiro, is powerfully done; and her earlier remark about her husband’s virility is heavy with scorn. The ever-helpful Ramiro, more brawn than brain, is touchingly sung by Marc Barrard. The entire cast is excellent, in fact, but Frédéric Antoun’s absurd, self-regarding poet deserves a special mention. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Robert Tomas
The WholeNote, March 2016

…a great example of Ravel’s musical genius, especially when it comes to orchestration. …The result is playful, poetic and impressionistic. © 2016 The WholeNote Read complete review

Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, March 2016

…a splendid performance of Maurice Ravel’s version of the Spanish-flavored L’Heure espagnole, as realized by the musicians of the Orchestre National de Lyon under the direction of conductor Leonard Slatkin. Ravel’s take on the classic opera buffa gave the work a palpable humanity, a tenderness that deepens the comedy, as well as improving the overall score. © 2016 Scene Magazine Read complete review

James Manheim, March 2016

Leonard Slatkin is an exceptionally versatile conductor, …The singers in Ravel’s exquisitely formed little comic opera L’Heure espagnole…are all entirely appropriate and admirably clear, but it is really Slatkin who’s the star here, right from the “Introduction” that’s so artfully linked to what follows. …Highly recommended and absolutely delightful. © 2016 Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, March 2016

Frédéric Antoun stands out as the most compelling, utilizing his silky-tenor timbre to broaden the indelible field of Gonzalve’s narcissistic attitude. Antoun’s offstage roulades are bright, clear and buttery, but nicely arrogant as well. …Dishing out a plateful of polite corpulent humor is Nicolas Courjal, having grand fun digging into his character, Don Inigo Gomez. The interpretation is strikingly funny… © 2016 Read complete review

Joseph Newsome
Voix des Arts, February 2016

Featuring expertly-sung, brilliantly idiomatic performances of both Don Quichotte à Dulcinée and L’heure espagnole, this is one of the most enjoyable discs in the Naxos catalogue. Give this L’heure espagnole an hour wherever you happen to be, and Ravel’s musical sorcery will transform your surroundings into the bustling Alcázar. © 2016 Voix des Arts Read complete review, February 2016

All five singers handle the quintet music, and indeed the entire opera, with bounce and flair and just the right amount of piquancy—further credit to Slatkin’s exceptional way with Ravel. As for Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, this is a small set of character pieces originally intended for a film, and they are sung by baritone François Le Roux with empathy, comprehension and an understated tenderness that is altogether winning. © 2016 Read complete review

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