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Odyssey Opera Releases Debut Recording of the Fully Restored, Original Grand Opera LA REINE DE SABA

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This marks the debut release of the complete five-act opera including rediscovered music that has been omitted for decades.

Odyssey Opera Releases Debut Recording of the Fully Restored, Original Grand Opera LA REINE DE SABA

Odyssey Opera has announced the release of its fourth recording: Charles Gounod: La reine de Saba (The Queen of Sheba). This marks the debut release of the complete five-act opera including rediscovered music that has been omitted for decades. This forgotten masterpiece by the Father of French grand opera is a must-hear album. Recorded live on New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall stage in 2018 more than a century after its 1862 world premiere, Odyssey Opera's 70-piece orchestra and 60-piece chorus featuring eight glorious singers bring this neglected work back to life.

Odyssey Opera's Artistic and General Director Gil Rose went searching for Gounod's music in France and Italy and discovered extensive passages that had been either lost or cut from the original score, including Act II (which was deleted entirely before the 1862 world premiere), Act III's closing septet, and a duet for lovers in Act IV, which both eventually disappeared. "This was a labor of love," says Rose. "Odyssey Opera's mission is to present undiscovered operatic masterpieces in a version that most closely resembles the composer's intentions. In this case, it led us on a hunt through some unlikely, though not wholly surprising, places: libraries on two continents, the Library of Congress, correspondence with writers of biographies and conductors. The final piece of the puzzle being a worn score found in a dusty basement in Italy. This was quite a coup!"

Gounod's unmistakable melodic gift is at its best in his 12 operas. He is most famous for his beloved operas, Faust and Romeo et Juliette. Inspired by Gérard de Nerval's book Le voyage en Orient, La reine de Saba is set to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. Balkis, the famed Queen of Sheba, played by the versatile soprano Kara Shay Thomson, arrives in Jerusalem to meet her betrothed King Solomon played by the commanding bass Kevin Thompson, but the beautiful and powerful Queen instead finds herself drawn to Solomon's master architect Adoniram played by tenor Dominick Chenes. What follows is a dramatic struggle between love and obligation, filled with intrigue, jealousy, and betrayal.


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