Brett Farrell | Cape May, NJ USA | 03/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Opera Rara brings us another treat. Offenbachs third attempt to infiltrate the opera-comique after "Barkouf" and "Robinson Crusoe". This was written by Offenbach during his prime, when he was writing his masterpieces such as "La Grande-Duchess de Gerolstien", "La Perichole" and "Les Brigands". Now if your expecting another work of his bouffee works caliber, you will be a bit dissapointed. The music is still light and very melodic and greatly enjoyable but there are no real hit songs here. Again it is great music, beautiful, charming, and sparkling music that is a notch above most of Offenbachs contemporaries, but this is no 'Les Brigands'. You can constantly hear shades and loud echos of many of his other pieces in 'Vert-Vert' as well. It's almost like a watered down version of his bouffee. It was written for an entirly different audience and was supposed to be more universal in style I suppose.
But with that out of the way let me very briefly recount the plot, it is a very typical and very silly story about lovers and has just about nothing to do with the parrot Very-Vert who learned prayers but then went to live in a brothal and learned swears. I would recount more but if you've ever listened to an opera-comique before than you've heard the story a million times.
Again, the music is all wonderful, right from the riveting overture to the sparkling charming numbers that litter the ground after it, I am very glad to have bought this opera (I couldn't wait for it come on sale here so I bought it a while ago at an English site) and will listen to it often. Everyone sings beautifully and the orchestra is top notch under the direction of David Parry.
The CDs come in a thick typical Opera-Rara box and it comes with a thick typical opera-rara book that contains a history of the work, synposis, and of course libretto in French and English.
Also a point of note, the music used was put together by Jean-Christophe Keck who has been putting together the most complete renditions of many lost or considerably altered Offenbach gems which thankfully continue to show up on CD. Now we get Vert-Vert. If you are an Offenbach fan or a fan of light romantic period french opera, you will be very pleased with this opera. I can safely and highly recommend it to you. But if you just discovered pieces like 'La belle Helen' or 'Les Brigands' than you will not yet be ready for Vert-Vert. At least not as of yet. But once you've exhausted the grand Offenbach cannon, Vert-Vert will be a very welcome treat.