- Psyché, opera in 4 acts: Eros Non, ne la suivons pas...Sommeil, ami des die
The graphics clarify the rather curious title of this release by French mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa. This is a collection of arias for what are referred to in the English translation of the booklet notes by the rare term "travesty roles," but are better known as "pants roles." The main strength of the album is the program: Crebassa starts with some Mozart examples, not all of them terribly familiar, and moves forward through the Romantic era as far as Reynaldo Hahn. The album might even serve as an anthology of the pants role, and a college course devoted to gender and music could easily take this album and run with it. Crebassa finds some marvelously sensuous arias, such as one from Ambroise Thomas' "Psyché" (1857), which is little known outside France. Sample this aria to hear both the collection and Crebassa's rather sharp-edged voice at its best. She seems a bit mechanical in the Italian-language arias but often puts the French material across convincingly. The contributions of the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg under Marc Minkowski are a major plus, as is the engineering, executed on the orchestra's home ground. An offbeat choice, recommended for those who enjoy this rather intimate corner of the operatic repertory.