Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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Power of Love

The Age 'Green Guide' (Australia)
Tony Way

Richard Bonynge's passion for the music of 19th-century England and some of its colourful characters has finally borne fruit in this impressive recording of British arias that will cause all its listeners to reconsider the merits of composers such as Sir Arthur Sullivan, Michael Balfe and William Wallace. While these composers were never musical trendsetters and their operas have long been out of fashion, the quality of their work (if this disc is any indication) is still of a very high standard.Consider the rich and varied orchestration for 'Placida Notte' from Il Talismano by Balfe or the vivid characterisation of 'Lord of Our Chosen Race' from Sullivan's great work Ivanhoe. Deborah Riedel returns Bonynge's enthusiasm with equal commitment, bringing to life the jewel-like feeling of 'Little Princess, Look Up!' from Amasis by Faraday and the Britannic grandeur of 'Oh! Could I But His Heart Enslave' from Satanella.Rich, versatile and experienced, Riedel's soprano copes valiantly with the considerable technical demands that some items in the program present, such as 'The Naiad's Spell' from Wallace's Lurline or 'My Long Hair Is Braided' from The Amber Witch by Wallace.The disc is suavely and sensitively accompanied by Bonynge and the orchestra and makes for an unusual but worthwhile investment for opera lovers.As usual, Melba's high production standards have been maintained in both engineering and presentation and the booklet contained a wealth of information and many rare illustrations