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Fantasio (28-page booklet without libretto)

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Fantasio (28-page booklet without libretto)

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'Opera Rara have done the piece proud... Sarah Connolly's understated Fantasio was very much the refined dreamer ... Mark Elder conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with infinite sensitivity'... read more

Song title Time Format Price
playstop01 Fantasio: Overture07:10
playstop02 Fantasio: Vive le roi!04:06
playstop03 Fantasio: Fanfare00:06
playstop04 Fantasio: Mes amis, je vous...01:03
playstop05 Fantsaio: Vive le roi! Vive le Roi!01:01
playstop06 Fantasio: Où diable est donc Fantasio?01:08
playstop07 Fantasio: Voyez dans la nuit brune03:23
playstop08 Fantasio: Eh bien, que ferons-nous...01:31
playstop09 Fantasio: Voilà toute la ville en fěte05:30
playstop10 Fantasio: Quel murmure charmant04:38
playstop11 Fantasio: Quel astre contemples-tu là?00:04
playstop12 Fantasio: Vois comme ce clair de lune01:14
playstop13 Fantasio: Ô Saint-Jean! Ta joyeuse face03:53
playstop14 Fantasio: Que je prenne la place de Saint-Jean01:49
playstop15 Fantasio: Je médite un projet d'importance!03:16
playstop16 Fantasio: Une seule chose me paraît s'opposer00:45
playstop17 Fantasio: Tute bruit cesse10:33
playstop18 Fantasio: Entr'acte02:55
playstop19 Fantasio: Quand l'ombre des arbres09:02
playstop20 Fantasio: Je me sens, malgré tout...00:51
playstop21 Fantasio: Oui, c'est bien lui, chère princesse!02:51
playstop22 Fantasio: Permettez-moi de baiser cette main02:07
playstop23 Fantaio: Je ne serai donc jamais03:38
playstop24 Fantasio: Aurait-elle un coeur dur et faux?00:52
playstop25 Fantasio: Quel métier délicieux quel celui...01:03
playstop26 Fantasio: C'est le nouveau bouffon de roi02:49
playstop27 Fantasio: Tu me fais l'effet de regarder...01:13
playstop28 Fantasio: Je n'ai donc rien de plus05:01
playstop29 Fantasio: Je vous laisse, princesse...00:25
playstop30 Fantasio: C'est aujourd'hui fête à la cour12:32
playstop31 Fantasio: Entr'acte02:47
playstop32 Fantasio: Par Jupiter! Je l'avais bien prédit!01:04
playstop33 Fantasio: Psyché pauvre imprudente 03:40
playstop34 Fantasio: Est-ce un rêve00:54
playstop35 Fantasio: Il n'est qu'un refrain à chanter09:08
playstop36 Fantasio: Princesse, on vous cherche00:57
playstop37 Fantasio: Entr'acte00:56
playstop38 Fantasio: Calmez-vous, prince! 00:53
playstop39 Fantasio: Reprenez cet habit mon prince02:29
playstop40 Fantasio: Oui, oui, je connais ton dévouement!00:06
playstop41 Fantasio: Ils sont entrés dans le palais03:47
playstop42 Fantasio: Eh! Bien! Le voilà, Fantasio!01:32
playstop43 Fantasio: Sous ta bannière on se faille07:33
playstop44 Fantasio: Ballade à la Lune04:39
playstop45 Fantasio: Pleure, le ciel te voit02:03

'Opera Rara have done the piece proud... Sarah Connolly's understated Fantasio was very much the refined dreamer ... Mark Elder conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with infinite sensitivity' - The Guardian, reviewing the concert performance given December 2013

Experience one of Offenbach's most beautiful and refined works with spectacular performances from Sarah Connolly and the outstanding young American soprano, Brenda Rae. Fantasio is a heady cocktail of charm, gracefulness and gentle melancholy, of bad-tempered jokes and poetry, marking the crucial step in Offenbach's path towards The Tales of Hoffmann.

Sir Mark Elder, Artistic Director, explains: "For me, reviving these forgotten operas involves the opportunity to work with the most talented singers and the finest orchestras, discovering, recording and performing these works with the accuracy and artistic brilliance they deserve."

This recording was made using the new critical edition made by Jean-Christophe Keck for Boosey & Hawks Offenbach Edition Keck series. 

Click here for the video of Sarah Connolly (Fantasio) and Brenda Rae (Elsbeth) in their duet 'Quel murrmure charmant' filmed at the Fantasio recording launch.

Hugh Canning awards Fantasio Classical Album of the Week in the Sunday Times (Sunday, 5 October 2014). 

Opera Rara's Fantasio recording won the 2015 International Opera Awards for best CD (Complete Opera).

This release includes a 28-page booklet with the introductory article and synopsis in English. The libretto in original French with the English translation is available to download in PDF format  here. 

Sarah Connolly (Fantasio)

Russell Braun (Le prince de Mantoue)

Robert Murray (Marinoni)

Brenda Rae (La princesse Elsbeth)

Victoria Simmonds (Flamel)

Neal Davies (Sparck)

Brindley Sherratt (Le Roi de Baviere)

Aled Hall (Facio)

Gavan Ring (Hartmann)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Opera Rara Chorus (Renato Balsadonna - chorus director)

Sir Mark Elder - conductor

The Story

Act 1 [Overture]

The action takes place on a square in Munich. On one side of the stage are the gates and terrace of the royal palace; on the other, a tavern and a tailor’s shop. Dusk is falling. The town is in festive mood. The crowd has gathered to celebrate peace, soon to be sealed by the forthcoming marriage of the Prince of Mantua to the Princess of Bavaria. Three students, Sparck, Hartmann and Facio, enjoy the party and poke fun at the bourgeoisie. [N° 1 chorus and couplets “Long Live the King”]. The king, with his attendants, appears from the palace to announce the arrival of the Prince of Mantua and the marriage of his daughter Elsbeth [N° 1b end of “Long Live the King”]. Rutten, the king’s secretary, tells the sovereign that his daughter Elsbeth is mourning the death of Saint-Jean, the court jester whom she adored. Enter an odd-looking figure, Marinoni, the Prince of Mantua’s aide. He has come to keep a discreet eye on the preparations for the festivities and find out what the locals are thinking. He moves away when Fantasio appears, lost in thought. In a melancholy mood with no wish at all to join the celebrations, he improvises up a ballad to the moon [N° 2 ballad, “See in the Dark Night”]. Flamel the page arrives to ask the students to keep their voices down so as not to disturb the Princess who wanders on to the terrace, also deep in thought. Elsbeth sings of her confusion at feelings she is experiencing for the first time and which are gradually taking her over [N° 3 recitative and ballad [“Look, the Whole Town is Celebrating”]. Fantasio, spellbound by her angelic voice, responds to her melancholy song with a ballad of his own, so that the two young people sing a duet without having seen one another [N° 4 duet “What Sudden Delightful Murmuring”]. A maidservant comes to fetch the Princess. Meanwhile, the student Sparck tries to drag Fantasio to join in the dance. But suddenly the court jester Saint-Jean’s sombre funeral procession moves across the square. It then occurs to Fantasio to disguise himself as the late jester so that he can approach the Princess [N° 5 penitents’ chorus “Oh, St. Jean”]. He goes with Sparck to the nearby tailor’s shop to get the costume, which will also help him escape his creditors and avoid a prison sentence. The Prince of Mantua enters, accompanied by Marinoni. To try to discover his future bride’s true feelings, the Prince decides to exchange clothes with his aide [“I’m Working Out an Important Plan!”]. The students return and Sparck sings a final homage to Saint-Jean and to fools in general. They are all waiting for Fantasio but are dumbstruck when he appears, believing the king’s jester has risen from the dead. The merry group leave and Fantasio stands alone, knocking at the palace door [N° 7 finale” All Noises Cease”].

Act 2 [N° 8 Intermezzo]

The curtain rises on Elsbeth, her page Flamel, and several ladies of the court strolling in the palace gardens. The Princess prefers to remember her beloved jester than to think about her future marriage [N° 9 chorus and aria “When the Tree’s Shade”]. The arrival of the Prince of Mantua is announced [N° 10 quintet “It’s Really Him”]. The king enters with the Prince and Marinoni, disguised as each other. The Prince’s first encounter with Elsbeth is not a success. Marinoni does not know how someone of his new-found status should behave, and the Prince’s attempted hoax makes matters worse. Left alone, the Prince is riddled with self-doubt. [N° 11 ballad “I Shall Never Be Loved for Myself”]. But he is not about to give up and prepares to launch a fresh campaign. Returning to the palace gardens, Fantasio finally comes across Elsbeth. At first, the Princess takes offence at this “scholar in fool’s clothing” who dares to disguise himself as poor Saint-Jean. But Fantasio intrigues her and makes her laugh at the silly things he says [N° 12 couplets “It’s the King’s New Jester”]. He even manages to touch the young lady’s heart and to listen as she tells him her troubles. [N° 13 “So That’s All I Have To Comfort My Heart”]. Before he leaves, Fantasio promises the Princess that this marriage of convenience will not take place. Flamel enters and tells Elsbeth that “the Prince is not the Prince”. But the entire court has already appeared onstage. While Marinoni (disguised as the Prince) enters, accompanied by the Prince (disguised as his aide), and pays his respects to Elsbeth, to the cheers of the crowd, Fantasio climbs up a tree and, with a stick, suddenly sends the false Prince’s wig flying through the air, making him look a complete fool. After such an insult the marriage cannot possibly take place and Fantasio is marched off to gaol [N° 14 finale “Today the Court is in Festive Mood”].

Act 3 [N° 15 Intermezzo]

Fantasio is delighted to have ruined the Prince’s wedding plans, but is nevertheless languishing in gaol. While he pretends to be asleep, Elsbeth comes to visit him [N° 16 romance “Poor Careless Psyche”]. She tells her new jester that his bravery was in vain as she is to marry the Prince of Mantua to ensure peace between the two kingdoms. Fantasio suddenly removes his disguise and reprises the ballad he sung in Act 1. Deeply moved, Elsbeth believes him to be the real Prince of Mantua and is ready to offer herself to him. But Fantasio reveals his true identity: Fantasio, an ordinary middle-class man from Munich who has fallen in love [N° 17 duet, “There is Only One Song to Sing”]. Elsbeth gives him her key to her garden and helps him escape. Since it was a hunchbacked jester and not a charming young man that the Swiss Guards believed they were keeping under lock and key, he is free to walk away accompanied by the Princess.

[N° 18 Melodrama – 2nd Intermezzo tableau].

The second scene takes place in the same setting as Act 1. Still blind with rage, the Prince prepares to enter the royal palace to confess his trickery to the King of Bavaria and order Marinoni to return his princely clothes [N° 19 couplets [“Take Back This Coat, My Prince”]. Fantasio, dressed as a student once again, tries to calm his angry friends who were preparing to free him from prison [N° 20 ensemble “They Have Gone Into the Palace”]. Meanwhile, the King of Bavaria and the Prince of Mantua are about to declare war. Fantasio, crowned “king of fools” by the students, pleads for peace and challenges the Prince to a duel to settle the quarrel there and then. But the Prince withdraws, decides not to marry Elsbeth and returns to Mantua. The King pardons Fantasio, whom he names Prince for preventing war. Fantasio offers to hand back to Elsbeth the key to the gardens which she gave him in prison, but she asks him to keep it [N° 21 finale “Everyone is Rallying to Your Banner”].

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