This little gem, exhuming musical corpses from 19th century Britain, begs - no, demands - the question: Are the operas from which these arias derive such drivel that they warrant almost total neglect in today's dollar-driven, pop-opera obsessed society? Some may not have sufficient quality content to sustain staging. Others, though, surely are worthy of being performed for, and judged by, modern opera aficionados bored to sobs by the policy of endless repeats of mainstream repertoire.
Any man - as did William Vincent Wallace, an Irishman whose passion for adventure brought him to Australia - blessed with the musical gift to pen 'Tis the Harp in the Air' must have enriched his opera, Maritana, with many other fine melodies. Similarly, Sir Arthur Sullivan, represented here by two excerpts from which he did not collaborate with William Schwenck Gilbert, and Michael William Balfe, whose pen crafted half of the disc's 18 arias.
Richard Bonynge masterfully conducts the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, which adds gloss to the soaring soprano voice of Deborah Riedel.