Alun Francis is one of the most respected conductors on the international scene, and is particularly admired for his efforts in bringing international recognition to several great tonal symphonists active in the post-World War II years, and for other efforts on behalf of 20th century music. His "native" instrument is the French horn. He continued his studies on that instrument and took conducting while attending the Royal Manchester College of Music from 1960 to 1963.
Sylvain Cambreling is one of the leading French operatic conductors. He is known for his often startling innovations in many opera productions: in a performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the 2001 Salzburg Festival he employed a synthesizer to deliver recitative accompaniments, and at a performance of Janácek's Katya Kabanova, he used some of the composer's songs as transitional material between acts.
Michel Plasson is one of the most important French conductors from the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. He is well known for his interpretations of French opera, particularly those of Gounod and Massenet. He has also received praise for his work in the choral music of Duruflé and Fauré, and the orchestral works of Magnard, Ravel, and other French composers.
The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of opera's most potent archetypes, the subject of the earliest experiments in the genre by Peri and Monteverdi. But Offenbach's wickedly witty operetta uses it as a vehicle to lampoon stuffy artistic conventions as well as the social and political realities of Paris in the Second Empire. In this sublimely ridiculous scenario, Eurydice is a flighty flirt only too happy to be separated from husband Orpheus, a dullard violin teacher, when Pluto kidnaps her into his realm.
This 1972 studio recording is the ultimate Tales Of Hoffman. The recording was originally an LP on the ABC label in the Westminster Legacy issues, but digitally remastered and edited for cd by Deutsche Grammophon. Deutsche Grammophone cd labels are famous for remastering legendary and classic recordings of classical music and opera and they have outdone themselves again with this one. It features virtuoso singers at the top of their game and the orchestra is directed under the baton of the seasoned conductor Julius Rudel.