Halévy: La Juive

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Whoa! The front cover of this Opera d'Oro edition of Fromental Halévy's much admired, if infrequently revived opera "La Juive" is, needless to say, rather striking. Not many opera sets feature full frontal nudity on the front cover, and as the naked girl in question is surrounded by a giant, solid gold Mogen David, one wonders if the boundaries of taste have been breached in some way. The last time Opera d'Oro issued the opera, the cover wasn't nearly so racy. The last time, you ask. Oh yes, Opera d'Oro issued this March 4, 1973, Covent Garden performance of "La Juive" before, as did Myto, Grand Tier, and the now defunct Legato Classics line, which probably put it out ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Whoa! The front cover of this Opera d'Oro edition of Fromental Halévy's much admired, if infrequently revived opera "La Juive" is, needless to say, rather striking. Not many opera sets feature full frontal nudity on the front cover, and as the naked girl in question is surrounded by a giant, solid gold Mogen David, one wonders if the boundaries of taste have been breached in some way. The last time Opera d'Oro issued the opera, the cover wasn't nearly so racy. The last time, you ask. Oh yes, Opera d'Oro issued this March 4, 1973, Covent Garden performance of "La Juive" before, as did Myto, Grand Tier, and the now defunct Legato Classics line, which probably put it out first. Tenor Richard Tucker was a strong proponent of "La Juive," and long sought to have it produced at the Metropolitan Opera, but he died not long after learning that the Met was willing to mount it in his honor; they finally got around to staging it in 2003. Tucker also appeared in this work several times outside of the Met and managed to make a studio recording of excerpts from it for RCA Victor in 1974; another live appearance, from New Orleans in 1963, also survives. In the twenty-first century, tenor Neil Shicoff has made something of a specialty of the role of Éléazar and has recorded it in an excellent performance with the Wiener Staatsoper on RCA Victor that is the gold standard for "La Juive." All recordings of "La Juive" are to some degree reduced from the opera's original four-hour length, and that with Shicoff is reduced the least; this Covent Garden version is just short of 150 minutes long, barely more than half the size of the entire work. The recording is surprisingly good for an opera of this vintage and provenance. Apart from some blasting during the overture, it is clear and easy to understand, and the orchestra is well led by Anton Guadagno. Tucker sounds terrific as Éléazar and is obviously pouring his all into it, Yasuko Hayashi portrays Rachel the "Jewess" implied by the title with a sense of transparency and innocence, but Juan Sabate as Leopold edgily whorls and wobbles around his part as though he badly needs a bathroom break. "La Juive" is a milestone in French opera and an important and powerful social document addressing the conflict between Jews and Christians, and apart from that, is full of great music. It used to belong to the operatic repertoire in Europe, but its reputation has suffered since being banned by Adolf Hitler in 1936. RCA Victor would do well to issue its Tucker studio recording of highlights on CD, as this would serve to weaken the appeal of, if not entirely eliminate, a package such as the one under consideration. As good as this Covent Garden performance is, a few dollars more will get you the Shicoff, although that will NOT get you a libretto, as it doesn't have one. A bad decision on RCA's part, as the Opera d'Oro version does supply it, and for this reason alone, remains competitive in "La Juive."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/9/2006
  • Label: Opera D'oro
  • UPC: 723721215156
  • Catalog Number: 7022
  • Sales rank: 390,083

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Anton Guadagno Primary Artist
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