JOHN JOUBERT (b.1927): Jane Eyre.
Catalogue Number: 04S012
Reference: CD 263-2
Description: Joubert's sumptuously romantic opera reflects his love of Italian opera, Strauss, Shostakovich, Janáček, Britten, and especially Wagner, but his tonal, at first sight conventional, idiom remains his own, subtly differentiated from his acknowledged models. His gift for vocal melody is remarkable, as is his quasi-symphonic structuring of this piece. Ably assisted by his librettist, the opera necessarily streamlines the lengthy novel, concentrating on the adult heroine's emotional life. The orchestra provides much of the drama and scene-setting, expertly structured through the use of leitmotif, allowing the principals eloquently to express their emotional states. Joubert's score is passionate and often ravishingly beautiful, the story's darker moments - the exposure of Rochester's bigamous marriage, the revelation of the details of his downfall - are handled with full-blooded Romantic intensity. 'Unfashionable' as it may be, this superb opera deserves to take its place on the world's stages, but in the meantime this recording of the long-overdue premiere, attended by the nonagenarian composer, will amply suffice. 2 CDs. Libretto included. April Fredrick (soprano), David Stout, Gwion Thomas (baritones), Mark Milhofer (tenor), English Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Woods.