Marius Et Fanny by Vladmir Cosma was a pleasant discovery, with the moving ending and the Puccini-like lyricism of the music being the main points of interest. A few more listenings will determine where it stands in terms of favourite operas or ones I have respect for, but what's for sure is that I am glad I listened to it. And I will say the same for this production, which is excellent. The costumes and sets have some nice colour and realism, and never looks shabby or ugly. Elegant it may not be, but in all fairness it didn't need to be. The performance is well photographed and recorded too. The orchestral playing manages to convey the lyricism of the music beautifully, it did sound like they had the playing needed for Puccini and Massenet in mind and this approach really worked in its favour. It is well matched by the conducting. The stage direction is always involving, with the ending particularly poignant. The performances are superb, with both Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu on top form in the titular roles. Alagna's singing is musical and intelligent with lovely unstrained tone, while Gheorghiu gives a very natural and vocally gleaming performance. All the supporting cast are great, but it is Jean-Phillippe Lafont's sonorously sung and knowing Cesar that stands out the most. In conclusion, a fine performance of a very interesting work. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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