“Massenet was the musical historian of the female soul," French composer Claude Debussy said of Jules Massenet (1842-1912). An often maligned opera composer (he wrote Manon, amongst others) Massenet wrote, according to Rodney Milnes' introduction to Massenet - Amoureuse: Sacred and Profane Arias, "great tunes - straightforward tunes, endless melodies". Launched six weeks ago by Richard Bonynge, Melba Recordings has brought together Rosamund Illing, conductor Bonynge and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra for this, its debut CD, and the product well reflects the lightness and passion of Massenet's work, as well as promising great things for the label.
Highlights: Sappho. In these four pieces, Fanny Legrand, the artist's model, is rejected by her younger lover. Melodrama at its most lyrical.