Reviews: Bronsart, Jery und Bätely

Updated: Jan 7

Malmö Opera | Naxos

A native of St Petersburg, Ingeborg von Bronsart studied with Liszt in Weimar, her striking appearance earning her the nickname ‘Ingeborg die Schöne’. Goethe’s libretto for Jery und Bätely is a charming and bucolic tale of unrequited romance between a pretty Swiss milkmaid and an eligible bachelor who are ultimately brought together by some farcical matchmaking. Bronsart brings life to this story with exquisite music, from an exciting overture through an uninterrupted evolution in melody and harmony to a spine-tingling finale, delivering a Singspiel that helped establish her reputation as a successful composer for the stage.


★★★★★ Who was Ingeborg von Bronsart? Born to Swedish parents in St. Petersburg, she was one of the first composers in history, pianist pupil of Liszt and author of a relatively large catalog, that in addition to the Singspiel recorded by Naxos also includes several Lieder and other major theatrical works. As it often happens the time he remembered her with a haughtiness reserved for her being a woman: known as "Ingeborg die Schöne" (Ingeborg la Bella) in the rooms from concert, his music received typically feminine adjectives such as "attractive" and "elegant". In in reality it is very pleasant music and certainly not "feminine", but simply well composed as you would often like to hear: the story of Jeri and Bätely, despite having Goethe as the author of the text, it looks like a classic love story against an alpine background on which, however, Bronsart grafted a decidedly refined music, able to move (in spite of the scarce possibilities offered by form of the Singspiel, above all for the relative brevity of the majority of its musical numbers) with ease in the description of the various psychologies and scenic moments at the basis of the short opera. A listening therefore not only very pleasant, but of the utmost interest, made best by enthusiasm of the Malmö Opera competently led by the Italian-Scottish Dario Salvi, and by an admirable company for balance and enthusiasm. The choice of giving 5 stars could be considered a whimsy by intellectuals, but intends to reward the courage of who still believes in the record like able cultural product, through reliable and well executions achieved, to convey a message of growth or, as in this case, of absolute gender equality as timely as ever. Registration successful and notes, interesting, however, these are only available in German and English. (original in Italian)

Gabriele Cesaretti, Rivista Music

As soon as the beautiful overture begins softly and gravely like a national anthem, one feels the perfect mastery by conductor Dario Salvi of the homogeneous orchestra of the Malmö Opera House. Maestro Dario Salvi turns this symphonic piece into a veritable musical tableau, which he colours with his beautifully nuanced baton: romantic anxiety-torment, dramatic urgency, warm poetry, right up to the joyous triumphal motif with Beethovenian accents that crowns the overture.

Yonel Buldrini, Operetta Research Center

[Salvi] provides his interpretation with romantic features. In the sound of the horns from far and near, the panorama of the mountains is created, against whose picturesque background the story takes place to great effect.

Rüdiger Winter, Opera Lounge (original in German)

Conducted and reconstructed from the original manuscript by Dario Salvi with a stupendous orchestral sound, excellently recorded to make a really persuasive case for this little known work.

DA, The Light Music Society

Bronsart brings life to this story with exquisite music, from an exciting overture through an uninterrupted evolution in melody and harmony to a spine-tingling finale, delivering a Singspiel that helped establish her reputation as a successful composer for the stage.

Records International

The recording, in the hands of Sean Lewis, is perfectly balanced, the excellent Malmo Orchestra given a beautifully transparent and detailed quality. The Scottish-Italian conductor, Dario Salvi, must feel highly delighted in having discovered such a pleasing jewel. Not to be missed.

David Denton, David's Review Corner

Warmly recommended.

Michel Dutrieue, Stretto (original in Dutch)

Delicious music, beautiful melodies, arias and duets, and an exciting finale. A delicious farce performed with apparent pleasure by all involved.

Jan de Kruijff, Musicalifeiten (original in Dutch)

★★★★ The music is strongly forward-thinking and classically spirited. Alternating light and shadow, the material creates musical jokes, with a hint to Mozart and folk tunes.

Susanna Välimäki, Helsingen Sanomat (original in Finnish)

This recording of the opera/singspiel Jery und Bätely is a special event, and one that conductor Dario Salvi considers to be 'one of the operatic revelations of the decade… Imagine Hänsel und Gretel with a woman's touch to it. Put on top of it a text by Goethe, some inspired performers and a fully dedicated conductor who is completely in love with the work. Can it get any better?'

Marbecks Record Shop

[Salvi's] familiarity with the romantic style benefits 'Jery and Bätely': the idyllic moods and the tone-painting nature descriptions are subtly worked out, lovingly modeling the easy-to-grasp melodies.

Karin Coper, (original in German)

The lead voices, Harrie van der Plas as Jery and Caroline Brucker as Bätely, are quite superb... An important work by virtue of its being, allegedly, the first opera by a German female composer.

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine

Salvi's enthusiasm for extracting nuances from this enjoyable, pleasurable work, which has great potential, is well-supported by the detailed playing of the Malmö Opera Orchestra.

Pedro Coco Jimenez, Ritmo (original in Spanish)

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