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Site last updated
26 June, 2013

Léo Delibes
Recommended Recordings



Lakme (Highlights)
(Dame Joan Sutherland, Jane Berbié, et al; Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra; Richard Bonynge, conductor)
Delibes's opera Lakmé is full of gorgeous melodies, even if you don't count the coloratura sensation, the famous "Bell Song." That aria virtually demands a soprano of Sutherland's agility and ease, and it gets it here (this is the highlights version of Sutherland's complete recording). Even the few singers who can match her in the upper altitudes can't do it with a voice so rich and full. Sutherland's is a Lakmé beyond comparison with twittering, thin-voiced, coloratura specialists. She did make this recording at a time when her diction was mushy and her vocal lines sometimes drooped, so she's not beyond criticism. But revel in the voice; after all, Lakmé is a cardboard character, and the opera, for all its considerable charms, isn't another Ring cycle. Sutherland's colleagues are excellent too. Vanzo was one of the finest lyric tenors of his generation, and he's by far the best Gérald on disc. Jane Berbié and Gabriel Bacquier are also unmatched, and Bonynge's conducting is idiomatic and flowing. Add engineering from Decca/London's golden age of recording, and here's a Lakmé to treasure. (review by Dan Davis)

The 3 Ballets
(National Philharmonic Orchestra London, New Philharmonia Orchestra, et al; Richard Bonynge, conductor)
Coppelia, Sylvia, La Source

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