Melba Recordings

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La somnambule

Acoustic Sounds (US)

This will certainly get the attention of those old-time audiophiles! 

Richard Bonynge was responsible for some of the most important recordings of favorite ballets and operas (and many rarities) of the past 40 years, many featuring his wife Joan Sutherland. Although trained as a pianist, Bonynge found himself drawn to opera. He gained fame as an accompanist and a musicologist – his edition of Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman is considered the best. He made his conducting debut in 1962 and in the same year made his first recording, Handel's Alcina. Well, with this wonderful new release on the Melba label, the magic of his conducting is back (even the cover of the CD slipcase has that "vintage" look). 

Louis Ferdinand Hérold is probably best known for the overture to his once-famous opera Zampa. The ballet La somnambule follows the same storyline as Bellini's opera from four years later, La Sonnambula. Adolphe Adam (famous for the ballet Giselle) considered Hérold the greatest of the French ballet composers of the era. 

This present recording, in superb SACD sound, is probably the first time the music has been heard in over 150 years.