La Gran Vía (Chueca &
Plácido Domingo, Milagros
Martín, Marta Moreno, María José Montiel. Orquesta y Coro
de la Comunidad de Madrid, c. Miguel Roa
RTVE Música 65150
María Bayo, María
Rodríguez, Manuel Lanza, José Julián Frontal. Coro de
Cámara de Tenerife, Coro Infantil del Conservatorio de Música de
Tenerife, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, c. Víctor Pablo
Nati Mistral, Antonio Blancas, Pura
María Martínez. Coro Cantores de Madrid y Orquesta Filarmonia de
España, c. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
BMG Ariola España WD 71587
Teresa Tourné, Renato
Cesari. Coro Cantores y Orquesta de Conciertos de Madrid, c. Pablo
Inés Rivadeneira, Luis
Rodrigo, Santiago Ramallé, Pascual Bloise, José Granados. Coro
Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta de Cámara de Madrid, c. Enrique
Marcos Redondo, Amparo Saus. Coro y
Orquesta del Gran Teatro de Liceo, c. Antonio Capdevila
Blue Moon BMCD 7513
Manuel Ausensi, Ana María
Iriarte, Toñy Rosado. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta
Sinfónica, c. Ataúlfo Argenta
The RTVE recording sweeps all before it:
Domingo turns in the louchest, most mellifluous Caballero de
Gracia on record, Montiel the grandest and most operatic
Elíseo, and Roa's relaxed but theatrically aware direction
captures Chueca's spirit as no other recording since Capdevila's pioneering
1930 account. The text is a full one, including Doña Virtudes' riposte
to the Maidservant's Tango as well as the substantial later editions to the
score also found on DG and BMG. With La
revoltosa as the generous coupling, this is now a clear outright
We are indebted to DG for giving us the first
recording to feature every single bar of Chueca's mould-breaking masterpiece,
with some tiny vocal vignettes and instrumental interludes making it to disc
for the very first time. Some of these - notably the orchestral pantomimes for
Oil, Gas, Electricity and an exploding candle - are well worth hearing.
Unfortunately the performance itself is monochrome, with Víctor Pablo
Pérez's plodding tempi failing to inspire the party spirit. Of the
customarily excellent soloists, only Bayo's prissy Elíseo and
Rodríguez's imperious Doña Virtudes inspire much interest.
Still, with an excellent El bateo as coupling
this issue is self-selecting for serious collectors.
The BMG recording is more characterful than the
EMI alternative coupled with Agua, azucarillos y
aguardiente. Nati Mistral's Tango is outrageously over the top -
inimitable and delectable, worth the price of the disc alone.
Martínez is contrastingly restrained as Elíseo, and
Blancas graceful by name and nature as the Caballero de Gracia.
Orchestral standards are good, the variety and diversity proper to what is
really an early revue are well marked. Two rare later additions to the score, a
Waltz and Pasodoble for Policemen, are included. The appropriate coupling is
Serrano's humorous one act sainete Alma de
Dios, given an equally stylish rendition.
EMI give us the standard score without additions, but with
its indispensible coupling zarzueleros are likely to acquire it anyway.
Not so the rarely spotted Zafiro, desirable for Rivadeneira's
stately Elíseo (her Tango is a touch matronly) and Estela's well
pointed direction. With no coupling to speak of, it doesn't seriously threaten
the Frühbeck version.
Blue Moon offer the historic Barcelona sessions under
Capdevila from 1930, coupled with early selections from
Don Gil de Alcalá and El Cantar del
Arriero. If you can live with the inevitable limitations of the recording -
very good indeed for its vintage - the rewards are considerable.
Redondo's Caballero has an appropriate touch of raffishness
missing from smoother accounts, and Amparo Saus gets the best of all
worlds in a Tango as well sung as it is acted. The delectable Midshipmens'
Chorus is pruned, but otherwise the text is as full as the Hispavox, if not
the DG or top-rated RTVE and BMG versions.