Messager: Passionnément / Blunier, Münchner Rundfunkorchester
Normandy in the Années Folles. Romantic encounters, changes of identity and unexpected comic twists: in Passionnément, André Messager places himself at the intersection of café-concert, American popular music and French operetta. The score is swept along with great spirit by Véronique Gens, Étienne Dupuis, Nicole Car and a team of enthusiastic soloists accompanied by the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under Stefan Blunier. As witty as Messager’s music, the libretto, with its flavor of boulevard theatre, offers a genuine manifesto of the French spirit in the years after the First World War.
Heading the cast is the distinguished soprano Véronique Gens in the role of Ketty, an American, former music-hall star. Gens sings beautifully, displaying her artistry and providing the subtleties to capture each mood. Undoubtedly the best-known aria from Passionnément is the act two waltz-song where Robert is missing being with Ketty (Margaret) and is anxious that his love for her should be reciprocated. Clearly savouring the celebrated waltz-song, Dupuis sings with warmth, successfully creating an entirely captivating mood.
This revival of Passionnément was recorded live during concert performances in 2020 at the Prinzregententheater, Munich and broadcast live. From what I understand to be a tricky live acoustic, the sound engineers have achieved successful results. As usual, the book is a bilingual edition (English and French) and it's hard to find fault with such detailed and extensive notes. Included is the complete libretto both sung and spoken, a synopsis and five interesting and helpful booklet essays. Bringing its 'French opera' series up to volume 28, Bru Zane's release of Messager's feelgood musical comedy Passionnément receives my wholehearted endorsement.
– MusicWeb International
Catalog Number: BZ1044
Label: Bru Zane
Composer: André Messager
Conductor: Stefan Blunier
Orchestra/Ensemble: Munich Radio Orchestra
Performer: Armando Noguera, Chantal Santon Jeffery, Eric Huchet, Etienne Dupuis, Nicole Car, Véronique Gens