The Times

four stars
‘Revived by Independent Opera in 2007, the composer’s centenary year, two of Maconchy’s pocket operas transfer to CD with bristling panache in these studio recordings. The lyrical, grieving anguish of The Departure suits is helped along by the powerfully emotional performances of Hakan Vramsmo and Louise Poole. Bubbling and parodic, The Sofa is fun, though you miss seeing a unique opera spectacle – the hero’s transformation into furniture.’
Chandos 10508
The Sofa

Comic Opera in One Act
Libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams
Freely adapted from Le Sofa by Crébillon fils

The Cast

Nicholas Sharratt, tenor - Prince Dominic
 Sarah Tynan, soprano - Monique
 Josephine Thorpe, mezzo-soprano - Dominic's Grandmother
 Alinka Kozari, soprano - Lucille
 Anna Leese, soprano - Laura
 Patricia Orr, mezzo-soprano - Yolande
 Patrick Ashcroft, tenor - A Suitor
 George von Boden, baritone - Edward

The Departure

Libretto by Anne Ridler

The Cast

Louise Poole, mezzo-soprano - Julia
Hakan Vramsmo, baritone - Mark

Independent Opera Orchestra Dominic Wheeler - conductor
Recorded in Henry Wood Hall, London
 23 November (The Departure) and 24 & 25 November (The Sofa) 2007
Producer - Natalie Murray,  Sound engineers - Simon Eadon and William Brown

The Daily Telegraph
Five stars
Independent Opera's stagings of The Sofa and The Departure were a highlight of the Sadler's Wells season in the autumn of 2007. Marking the centenary of Elizabeth Maconchy's birth, these two short one-acters revealed a facet of the composer's output that contrasted sharply with the furrow-browed string quartets for which she is most familiar.
Even without the vivid visual element, this double bill, studio-recorded but with the same forces, stands up well on disc, both because Maconchy's dramatic instinct and musical invention were so acute and because the singing and playing are so good. The Sofa is pacily conducted by Dominic Wheeler, the small orchestral ensemble relishing Maconchy's sharp ear for the way that timbre, rhythm and neat instrumental commentary can highlight theatrical situations. Lyrical melody, lively pastiche and contrapuntal cunning are seamlessly blended. A consistently first-rate young cast brilliantly interprets Maconchy's virtuoso vocal lines and enjoys the fun of Ursula Vaughan Williams's libretto.
Anne Ridler's text for The Departure triggers music shot through with anguish, tragedy and regret. The score is executed with aching poignancy and passion, showing how intuitively Maconchy could respond to the knotty problem of setting and heightening the English language. Maconchy's posthumous reputation was given a much broader base by Independent Opera's sympathetic, inspired treatment of these two stage works, and it is valuable to have this permanent record of the sensibility and insight they brought to them.'