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Brigands


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Audio CD, May 25, 2004
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Editorial Reviews


1. The Brigands - Offenbach

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 25, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Albany Records
  • ASIN: B00022FWVS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,253 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
33%
4 star
0%
3 star
67%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jsdof on July 1, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD as a gift but have subsequently commandeered it for myself. I find myself singing the tunes at work, in the car, while running...halfway through a 5k race last Sunday I realized I was singing the Royal Carbineers song. I "tramp-tramp-tramped" to a 3rd-place finish. The orchestra is fantastic -- I feel like I'm there. The singing is superb. I just had to say how much I am enjoying this CD.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Gerard on April 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Offenbach's music and Gilbert's libretto are both great fun, and the performances are too - especially allowing for the fact that this is really a "semi-professional" production. The acting is a little "comic opera-ish" and wooden, but this is if anything a plus. It is of course "authentic" in that it is how Victorian and Edwardian comic opera used to be staged. I rather like it anyway.

And, as nearly always with the Ohio Light Opera, this release does not have a competitor - if you want to hear this operetta in English then this is all there is!

What lets this CD set down in my opinion - and this goes to a lesser or greater extent to all this company's recordings, at the least the three I have purchased so far, is the quality of the sound. It is recorded "live" (i.e. presumably at an actual performance - although there is little or no evidence of an audience) - I wish it had been done in a proper studio instead!

Sound levels are generally very low (although they fluctuate a fair bit) and I actually had to make a "boosted" copy onto MD when I wanted to play some tracks on our local community radio station - just to get enough volume so our equipment at the station would broadcast it at a listenable level. Clarity is poor (the fault of the sound engineers rather than the performers, in the main) and it is very fortunate indeed that the set includes a full libretto. Otherwise some of Gilbert's best lines would be lost.

Both the "lost stars" in my assessment are for sound quantity and quality, anyway.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is the only recording ever made, as far as I know, of William Schwenck Gilbert's English translation of Meilhac's and Halévy's libretto for Offenbach's 1869 operetta 'Les Brigands.' In the process the operetta effectively becomes another G&S operetta. Since Sullivan had borrowed many of Offenbach's tricks for his own music, this is not too surprising. There are, of course, identifiably Offenbachian tunes and harmonies here, but the oh-so-British lyrics tend to overcome any Gallic spirit the music might impart. Be that as it may, the piece is a hoot, with a not-quite-so-nice 'Pirates of Penzance' band of brigands whose stealing and intimidation of honest folks is presented as the norm, and honesty as some sort of aberration. The leader of the brigands, for instance, is scandalized that his daughter falls in love with 'an honest man' who then joins the brigands in order to win approval from her father and claim her hand.
This production, however, does not do justice to the piece. There is a lovely recording of the French-language original conducted by John Eliot Gardiner that puts this one in the shade musically. The only major plusses in this production are the excellent chorus, the alert conducting of J. Lynn Thompson and, of course, the Gilbert translation. Otherwise, it's a downright provincial effort with soloists that are not ready for prime time and an orchestra that sounds like a middling college group (and indeed they MAY be, since the Ohio Light Opera Company is resident at Wooster College in Ohio). The libretto is printed in full so one can read Gilbert's hilarious words, many of which are indistinct on the recording.
This recording apparently was made after the operetta was staged in Wooster, and I suspect it was much more effective in the theater, which lead to a suggestion: why doesn't OLO make DVDs of their productions?
Scott Morrison
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