Album: Offenbach, Vert-Vert / Spence etc (Opera Rara)

Inspired by a satirical poem on a convent parrot corrupted by foul language, Vert-Vert was accused of indecency at its London premiere.

Here Toby Spence is the winsome Valentin/Vert-Vert, adopted as a human pet by schoolgirls Mimi (Thora Einarsdottir), Emma (Ann Taylor) and Bathilde (Lucy Crowe), seduced by the actress La Corilla (Jennifer Larmore) and introduced to booze in the local garrison. Deft ensemble writing and a lickety-split history of dance show the "Mozart of the Champs-Elysées" at his most charming.