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El pájaro azúl (Millán)

Montserrat Caballé, Carmen Decamp, Francisco Ortiz, Vicente Sardinero, Antonio Borras, José Manzaneda. Coro, rondalla y Orquesta c. Benito Lauret
Columbia BS 7248 [cassette tape only]

Emilio Sagi-Barba, Luisa Vela, Ricardo Fuentes, Amparo Saus, Pablo Gorgé, Federico Caballé. c. composer(?)
Blue Moon BMCD 7554 [extracts]

In another strange omission by BMG, Millán's most varied score remains untransferred to CD. It is possible that some distortions in the master tape are responsible - they certainly manifest themselves in this otherwise very good commercial tape cassette - but aficionados of Caballé would rightly overlook these to have one of her most telling dramatic recordings returned to general circulation. Ortiz and Sardinero provide very strong support, and Lauret's firm but sympathetic direction does full justice to a strong and under-exposed score. Millán may have lacked the last ounce of individuality, but he was a musican of taste and imagination, as well as great theatical flair.

The 10 extracts on Blue Moon featuring cast members from some of the early Barcelona performances (1921) are a disappointment. Although the singing is good and the recording comes up fairly well, even the most popular songs from Millán's two-act swashbuckler frankly don't amount to much in isolation. In any case, for 10 read 8, as we get three versions of the Fado - the zarzuela is set in Portugal - sung by Sagi-Barba, the hardly less impressive Federico Caballé, and in orchestral transcription. The main coupling, Eduardo Granados's La ciudad eterna, hardly sets the world on fire either, and this cannot be accounted one of Blue Moon's most vital CDs - despite full texts and attractive presentation.

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