El pájaro azúl
Montserrat Caballé, Carmen
Decamp, Francisco Ortiz, Vicente Sardinero, Antonio Borras, José
Manzaneda. Coro, rondalla y Orquesta c. Benito Lauret
Columbia BS 7248 [cassette tape
Emilio Sagi-Barba, Luisa Vela,
Ricardo Fuentes, Amparo Saus, Pablo Gorgé, Federico Caballé. c.
Blue Moon BMCD 7554
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.