作曲：Jacques Offenbach 奥芬巴赫
指挥：Herbert von Karajan 卡拉扬
乐团：Berliner Philharmoniker 柏林爱乐
CD编号：STEREO 400 044-2
The period of Louis-Napoleon's Second Empire, from 1852 to 1870, was one of pleasure seeking and glamorous living for Parisian Society. In musical terms nobody reflected the high spirits of the time better than the German-born Jacques Offenbach. In the Exhibition summer of 1855 he opened a tiny theatre in the Champs-Elysées for the production of slight farcical one-act pieces, with a handful of performers, small orchestra and musical scores of some six or seven solos, duets and trios, often enlivened by parodies of operatic conventions or specific operatic successes of the time.
In 1858 Offenbach enlarged the scale of his entertainments with Orphée aux Enters. A satirical treatment of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, it achieved musical immortality for the famous galop or can-can danced by the gods in hell. He developed the genre to its finest pitch with such operettas as La Belle HéIène (1864), which mock-ed the legend of Helen of Troy, Barbe-Bleue (1866), which did the same for Bluebeard and his many wives, and La Grande-Duchesse de Gerol-stein (1867), whose target was the army. The wit of their books and situations captivated an international public no less than the sparkle and tuneful-ness of their scores. Offenbach's success was such that he was also on occasions asked to provide works as light-hearted relief for the more august surroundings of the Opéra-Comique, as in Vert-Vert (1869), which takes its name from a pet parrot in a girls' boarding school. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 Offen¬bach's frivolous entertainments no longer had the same hold on the public. Haunted by fears that his lighter works had no lasting value, he turned to the composition of a serious opera, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, built around the German story writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Its fantastic elements and win¬ning tunes have made it a lasting operatic favour¬ite. The Barcarolle, its most celebrated number (recorded here in the purely instrumental version arranged by Manuel Rosenthal), so admirably evokes a picture of water lapping along Venice's Grand Canal that it may be a surprise to learn that its melody had already done service as a goblins' chorus in Offenbach's romantic opera Die Rhein-nixen, produced in Vienna in 1864. It was usually only in his later works and those for more prestigious theatres (as in Vert-Vert) that
Offenbach himself provided a fully-fledged over-ture. For his opéras bouffes a short, frothy intro-duction usually sufficed for his small theatre or-chestra. German audiences, however, expected something more substantial, and arrangers had to use various devices to meet the need. In Barbe-Bleue and La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein they expanded Offenbach's own introductions, ad-ding extra wind parts and interpolating additional melodies from the operetta. Elsewhere, extended new overtures were written using Offenbach's themes, as in the overture to La Belle Hélène (attributed to Edmund Haensch) and that to Or-phée aux Enters composed for the first Viennese production by Carl. Binder, a conducting colleague of Franz von Suppè - one can readily hear some¬thing of Suppè's style in this lively overture, which ends with the famous can-can.
1.Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld), operetta: Overture
2.Barbe-bleue, operetta: Overture
3.La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, operetta: Overture
4.La Belle Hélène, operetta: Overture
5.Vert-vert, operetta: Kakadu: Overture
6.Les Contes d'Hoffmann, opera in 4 acts: Barcarole