Reviews: Auber, Overtures vol.5

Updated: Apr 2

Janáček Philharmonic, Naxos

From the mid-1820s onwards Auber’s career was filled with success. His opéras-comiques and grandsopéras won repeated acclaim for their myriad qualities of Parisian elegance. The fifth volume in this series features two of his Sicilian operas and both centre on well-delineated female characters. Brimming with grace, charm and lyricism, the extensive ballet from Zerline exemplifies why Auber’s music was so popular. Philippe Musard’s Quadrille No. 2 on themes from Zanetta shows the extent of Auber’s contemporary popularity and is a revealing cultural souvenir of the period.


For conductor Dario Salvi, this series is a labor of love. Not only has made a study of Auber's music but he's also edited it for publication. That knowledge shows in his performances.

Dario Salvi, who has previously worked with the Czech Chamber Philharmonic and Moravian Philharmonic orchestras in this series, this time works with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra seems to have no trouble adapting to Auber’s unusual and transparent orchestral textures and the balance on the recording is exemplary. Salvi’s direction of the music is, as always, historically informed and faithful to the styles of the time, his love of the musical period always clear in his meticulous and idiomatic interpretations

The melodic invention – Italianate with a French accent – is winning, the orchestration is vivid and the Janáček Philharmonic play with considerable polish for Dario Salvi, with shapely woodwind and violin solos, and a jaunty lilt to the dance rhythms in the various quadrilles and styriennes. The two overtures develop a fine momentum. Overall, Salvi goes for grandeur and breadth rather than champagne sparkle.

★★★★★ The Ostrava-based Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, newly co-opted to the project, does sterling service throughout as they tackle no doubt hitherto unfamiliar scores. Meanwhile, Dario Salvi’s skilled direction and the expertise of Naxos’s engineering team – both consistent features of the series - ensure that plenty of felicitous detail is uncovered and recorded. I have no hesitation at all in warmly welcoming this new release to the catalogue.

music web

The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra under Dario Salvi finds just the right sense of joy. It's worth perhaps quoting the dance from the third act, "La Styrienne," performed with humour and definite suavité by the Ostrava-based Czech orchestra under Dario Salvi.

Colin Clark, Classical Explorer

★★★★ The music sounds airy, light, natural, the melodies sparkling and brimming with musical wit.


Let yourself be moved by the man whom we have known only by name for far too long. A beautiful performance by the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the Italian-Scottish conductor Dario Salvi.

Knopskaya, Cultuur Pakt (original in Dutch)

Dario Salvi conducts with a restrained authority while being ever alert to the performing style of the French romantic era, and the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra responds with committed vigour and passionate warmth. An unmissable feast for the ears in fine sound and annotations.

Gerald Fenech, Classical Music Daily

Once again our gratitude to the Scottish/Italian conductor and musicologist, Dario Salvi, who is ‘discovering’ this goldmine from a long forgotten era. Highly quality orchestral playing from the Janacek Philharmonic in a very long programme. Much recommended.

They are interpreted here with a good stylistic rigor, without impasto, and it also allows to discover some nuggets, like this Entertainment of Versailles where we hear the Passacaille d'Armide by LULLY, the introductory storm of Iphigénie en Tauride or again "The Victory is ours" from La Caravane du Caire de Grétry! Beautiful ballets (from operas) in volume 5: beautiful pieces (light, of course), and beautiful discoveries!

carnets du sol (original in French)

Artistically and tonally at the usual high level of the series... a recommendation can be made without hesitation.

Daniel Hauser, Opera Lounge (original in Dutch)