Decca are to be commended for focusing on the operatic side of Isaac Albéniz and this new release will surely be a great hit amongst opera lovers. Those have have already snapped up the hugely successful 'Merlin' (another Albéniz opera, also on Decca) will want this set immediately.
Henry Clifford is set in 15th century England with the Wars of the Roses as a backdrop and I can safely say that it is pure enjoyment from first note to last. The work is full of exciting ensembles, arias and orchestral passages with all performers especially the great Aquiles Machado churning out a performance that is well nigh unsurpassable.
The libretto states that the work has been recorded 'in the original English', although I do find this hard to believe as you don't get Italian or French composers composing works to be sung in a foreign language! However, the music is what we are chiefly concerned about and that is a ravishing proposition.
Those collectors who have already enjoyed the similarly infectious 'Merlin' will obviously need no urging from me to snap up this rarity. The soloists are strong and the live recording is also extremely good.
As I already indicated, this work deserves such a revival and the set will bring much enjoyment to the opera lover who is having little to rejoice about nowadays. Decca indicate that they have further similar projects in preparation. Perhaps their tag, 'The Opera Company' is still ringing in their ears!
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech