Reviews: Meyerbeer, Jephtas Gelübde

Updated: Feb 18

Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus | Naxos

The plot of the opera is based on the story of Jephthah (Book of Judges) which we also know from the version that a practically blind Handel made in what would be his last work, the oratory Jephtha (1751). Alpha and omega, then, of both composers. Both geniuses also sweetened the original story with a happy ending and a secondary love plot.


The recording was made in Sofia with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir under the dedicated conductor Dario Salvi. The Italian-British conductor has developed into a specialist in the rediscovery of forgotten works and ensures stylistically coherent conducting.The few solo parts are excellently cast

Peter Sommeregger,

The work of Dario Salvi at the head of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir is excellent and shows his care in exposing the different numbers, in the sound balance between the parts and in fidelity to the score. In addition, the deadlines that he had to carry out the recording were very tight, which gives even more value to the work done. I would also like to highlight the role of the soloists and the additions of the guitarists and the harp. And of course the choir, which was magnificent at all times

Domènec González de la Rubia for

★★★ Dans ces conditions, la remarquable mise en place des masses vocales et orchestrales par le chef Dario Salvi est à saluer, ainsi que l'élégance de sa direction. Une plus longue préparation nous aurait sans doute valu un rythme plus soutenu. S'il manque un peu de nerf, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Sofia offre une prestation d'une belle qualité musicale. Les Chœurs sont excellents.

★★★We still need a good studio recording of Jephtas Gelübde, but until such time as this happens, this recording shows us just what we are missing. The strong performance from Sönke Tams Freier in the title role is complemented by admirably game performances from Andrea Chudak and Markus Elsäßer, whilst Dario Salvi, the orchestra and chorus clearly relish the myriad challenges thrown at them.

Another recording of historical significance from the seemingly endless treasures of lesser known grand operas is given here by a young and promising cast under the baton of Dario Salvi. At the time of writing, this album has only received a pitifully limited release, exclusively on Naxos Music and not on CD.

We do not understand as a worldwide recording of a work, with all the research work that has been behind it, the meticulous work of editing from the manuscript preserved in the British Library in London, the study of some singers (despite some irregularities), of a choir and an orchestra (quite satisfactory), in addition to the tenacity of a conductor like Dario Salvi to illuminate this strange mixture between Singspiel and oratorio, may have as a reward a ostracism like this. The document itself provides a completely unknown view of a composer so often insulted by the weight of history and who is happily regaining his rightful place in recent years..

Jephtas Gelübde was recorded at Bulgaria Hall in July 2019, and Salvi’s sensitive, elegant recording features a young and promising cast. Sönke Tams Freier, singing Jephta, is a noble bass-baritone in the true German style; soprano Andrea Chudak (Sulima) and tenor Markus Elsäßer (Asmavett) cope well with Meyerbeer’s demanding music; while baritone Laurence Kaladjian (Abdon) is impressive in his Act I aria..

The Opera Scribe