Le Comte Ory, a rehashing of Il viaggo a Reims with some added numbers, a not uncommon practice of Rossini and his contemporaries, is a surpisingly delightful piece. It is full of verve, and actually very funny. There are few operas which make you laugh out loud ! A cohort of lascivious men, totally sloshed, and dressed as nuns - you get the picture ! Pretty daring stuff back in 1828.
This opera requires a lively tempo, with fine actor/singers, with clear (French) diction, .... timing is everything in comedy. This new offering from Naxos, usually first-rate in providing low-priced opera recordings, fails here in every way. (Their recording of Rossini's, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, under Will Humburg's baton is unsurpassed.) Here, everything went terribly wrong. Brad Cohen and his Czech orchestra, the singers (Rhys-Evans, Salsi, Gerrard, etc). No redeeming aspects at all. A waste of money, and a totally unexpected, disappointing, product from this otherwise superb label.
The best recording of Le Comte Ory remains the Glyndebourne Festival production under Vittorio Gui, dating back to 1957 !
A charming visual interpretation is provided by Kultur Video's DVD of the 1997 Glyndbourne Festival production directed by Jerome Savary, released in 2005, with Massis, Laho, Montague, Tezier, Woodman, et al. Loads of fun, with spirited acting and singing, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Davis' baton.