Offenbach: Le voyage dans la lune / Dumoussaud, National Montpellier Occitan Orchestra

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Jules Verne was the inspiration for Offenbach’s opéra-féerie, premiered in 1875. The Parisian craze for this type of musical extravaganza stemmed from its impressive stage...

Jules Verne was the inspiration for Offenbach’s opéra-féerie, premiered in 1875. The Parisian craze for this type of musical extravaganza stemmed from its impressive stage effects: for Le Voyage dans la Lune, two ballets and some twenty sets took the audience from the Earth to the Moon, successively recreating the Paris Observatory, a working blast furnace and the crater of an erupting volcano. The piece is studded with zany characters and imaginary places: a lunar landscape, a glass palace, mother-of-pearl galleries, etc. The producers even borrowed a dromedary and an ostrich from the zoo at the Jardin d’Acclimatation! To accompany this theatrical display, Offenbach composed a series of colorful, picturesque hit numbers, wittily and energetically performed here by a team of enthusiastic soloists. The Chœur et Orchestre National Montpellier Occitanie are placed under the subtle and precise direction of Pierre Dumoussaud.


The Bru Zane Opéra français CD-book series has reached volume 32 with Jacques Offenbach’s music theatre work Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon). This first complete recording is part of Bru Zane’s contribution to a co-production directed by Olivier Fredj being taken to a number of theatres and opera houses in France. I applaud the entirely sensible decision to abridge the extensive spoken dialogue of this studio recording of Le Voyage (as it is often abbreviated) just enough to keep the narrative coherent.

From the first bar to the last this recording of Le Voyage is very much to my taste, entirely holding my attention. Clearly judiciously chosen, the cast of mainly native French speakers gives an ebullient performance that communicates the sheer infectious joy of music making. This may be a light music work but it doesn’t take long to realise that the cast treats the performance of this opéra féerie with utmost sincerity. What a treat it is to encounter such a motivated cast that communicates such spirit and hilarity.

Both Violette Polchi and Sheva Tehoval are in splendid form, their voices combining so well. They are clearly savouring the charming text as the royal couple express their love for each other. Projecting his large personality, [bass-baritone] Matthieu Lécroart excels in couplets so good-humoured and entertaining the role could have been written for his voice.

Tenor Raphaël Brémard takes the roles of Microscope, the brainy scientist who designed the project to reach the Moon, and Un Acheteur and Un Marchand. He is most effective as Microscope which, although a significant role, consists largely of dialogue; there is some singing but nothing in the way of major solos. As Prince Quipasseparla, tenor Pierre Derhet demonstrates his fine comedy voice in his major solo with chorus known as the Rondo de Quipasseparla. Derhet negotiates the tricky text with witty expression as the prince boasts of how he collects women of all types.

[The] thirty-strong Chœur Opéra national Montpellier Occitanie, prepared by chorusmaster Noëlle Gény, is in splendid voice throughout, adding to the success of the recording. The Orchestre national de Montpellier Occitanie is conducted by Pierre Dumoussaud who keeps the score on the move, bolstered by the enthusiasm and energy of the players.

Released as part of the Bru Zane Opéra français series of CD-books, Le Voyage enjoys the usual high-end presentation that one has come to expect from this label. This 212-page hardback book is a bilingual edition (French and English) with a full cast and track listing, a detailed synopsis and the abridged French libretto with English translation. There are four detailed and informative essays: Alexandre Dratwicki Shooting for the Moon with Offenbach, Jérôme Collomb Offenbach and the ‘féerie’, Alexandre Dratwicki A journey... through the press and Jean-Claude Yon Jacques Offenbach and Jules Verneabortive encounters. In addition, there are several reproductions of artworks, drawings and posters of the early productions and also current performer photos.

With Offenbach’s opéra féerie - Le Voyage dans la Lune Bru Zane has come up trumps. This unashamedly light music comes across as a fast-moving and immensely entertaining fantasy romp. Surely the number of spectacular scenes makes Le Voyage best appreciated in a full staging; nonetheless, the excellence of the performances on this recording drew me in completely.

-- MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Release Date: May 27, 2022

  • UPC: 8055776010045

  • Catalog Number: BZ1048

  • Label: Bru Zane

  • Number of Discs: 2

  • Period: Romantic

  • Composer: Jacques Offenbach

  • Conductor: Pierre Dumoussaud

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestre National Montpellier Occitanie, Choeur National Montpellier Occitanie

  • Performer: Marie Lenormand, Matthieu Lecroart, Raphael Bremard, Pierre Derhet, Christophe Poncet de Solages, Violette Polchi, Thibaut Desplantes, Sheva Tehoval, Ludivine Gombert


  1. La voyage dans la lune

    Composer: Jacques Offenbach

    Ensemble: Choeur National Montpellier Occitanie, Orchestre National Montpellier Occitanie

    Performer: Matthieu Lécroart, Raphaël Brémard, Pierre Derhet, Christophe Poncet de Solages; Violette Polchi, Thibaut Desplantes, Sheva Tehoval, Ludivine Gombert, Marie Lenormand

    Conductor: Pierre Dumoussaud