The performance shows generally high competence and comfort, no surprise given that the work is a longtime staple in Croatia: indeed, it is the single most-performed opera in the entire repertory of the Croatian National Theater.
Croatia’s best-known Opera is like The Bartered Bride or a lighter-spirited Porgy and Bess: tuneful, engaging, and stageworthy.
This is a conductor and ensemble that have the measure of Max Bruch’s style and voice well in hand.
A noteworthy recording of Ernst von Dohnányi’s Symphony no. 1; as usual, Harry Christophers and the Handel & Haydn Society play Haydn with their customary elegance and character; a celebration of British composer Eric Coates – his music’s impossibly fresh tunefulness, striking progressions, and vividly idiomatic orchestrations.
The Seattle Symphony does right by Langgaard but not Strauss; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Beethoven is micromanaged to death; Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester offers an ideal off-the-beaten-path Offenbach disc.
Among the reviews: a terrific, important release that celebrates one of the most interesting – and hitherto overlooked – composers of the late-19th- and early-20th centuries in style. Don’t miss it.