Themes from La Belle Helene
SMC S718EP/ HL 3778200
"La Belle Helene", produced in 1864, is among the greatest of Offenbach's hits for the stage and a favorite throughout Europe. The story is a delightful satire of the ancient Greek myth of Helen of Troy, the beautiful daughter of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Leda, and a cental figure in the Trojan War. This story provided Offenbach a vehicle for broad swipes at French politics and institutions, capturing to perfection the foolishness of the day. During the Viennese run of the operetta, Edmund Hansch expanded the brief first act orchestra prelude into a full-length overture. This arrangement by Jim Mahaffey is based on several themes featured in the overture, and should be performed with the high spirit for which the composer was renowned.