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Eino Tamberg: Cyrano de Bergerac
Jassi Zahharov, Priit Kruusement, Rauno Elp
Eino Tamberg: Cyrano de Bergerac
Genre: Classical


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Cyrano fans and opera lovers - don't miss this gem!
R. B. Collins | Alexandria, VA | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Eino Tamberg's opera "Cyrano de Bergerac" is a joy to listen to, from beginning to end, and I have now listened many times. The librettist and composer have managed to condense a play that runs well over 3 hours into an opera that lasts 110 minutes, but the pace seems perfect within this new whole. Rostand purists might moan at the elimination of the whole first act, but the musical characterizations are so delightfully complete that one hardly notices anything being left out.

The music is an incredible amalgamation of styles, showing both humor and true sympathy with all the characters. It is genuinely moving, while at the same time retaining a light touch throughout. It is impossible to praise too highly in particular the second act, which includes the lyrically romantic balcony scene, in which Cyrano speaks to Roxane of his love under the cover of night, followed soon by a most urgently comical interplay when Cyrano uses all his wit and invention to intercept and delay the villain of the piece. This Cyrano is a dream of a role for lyric baritones: it encompasses everything heroic, romantic and humorous. Finnish baritone Sauli Tiilikainen gives a truly beautiful performance, singing with passion and complete conviction. All the other singers are excellent as well, as are the orchestra and chorus. The sound of the recording does everyone justice.

English, French and German speakers need not be dismayed that the opera is sung in Estonian; the accompanying booklet gives the Estonian text and the three translations side-by-side, along with a history of the opera and biographical notes about the composer and performers. The Estonian adaptation was made by Jaan Kross, one of Estonia's best known and most beloved writers. Like Rostand's original, the Estonian libretto is in verse; the condensations and interpolations are (judging from the English translation) most apt, and truly in the spirit of the original. The English version of the libretto could have used a bit more proofreading, and the French translation of the Estonian should have gone back to the Rostand original for Cyrano's final word ("panache"), but these are obviously very minor quibbles .

Listen and enjoy! And if you know a lyric baritone appropriate to the role, please introduce him to this Cyrano. I dream of someday actually hearing and seeing this opera live!