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Full Operas - Released April 5, 2019 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
With Les Indes galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau, György Vashegyi – along with his Orfeo Orchestra and Purcell Choir – makes a further dazzling addition to their Glossa series of French dramatic masterpieces from the Baroque, and in the company of a luxurious line-up of vocal soloists. The version of this “ballet heroïque” – supplied with an anti-colonial, anti-clerical manifesto by librettist Louis Fuzelier – selected by Vashegyi is the 1761 revision, a mere decade or so before the irruption onto the Parisian musical scene of the likes of Gluck and Grétry. Rameau’s score had undergone frequent adjustments and improvements since its première a quarter of a century earlier, and the performing edition for this recording, prepared for the Rameau Opera Omnia by Sylvie Bouissou (who also provides a booklet essay here), offers a vision of this work which is more theatrical, fluid and concise than hitherto. Just in themselves, the names of Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Katherine Watson, Véronique Gens, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Jean-Sébastien Bou and Thomas Dolié (sharing out the dozen solo roles) augur well for a glorious exploration of the prologue and three entrées ahead. Recently, they have also, in conjunction with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, been working on questions of tempo and how to perform Rameau’s sequences as the composer intended. Vashegyi brings a consummate understanding of Rameau’s galante style to the proceedings, following two previous Ramellian Glossa outings (Naïs and Les Fêtes de Polymnie). © Glossa
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Full Operas - Released May 2, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Month - Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
The story of the Pêcheurs de perles [Pearl Fishers] by Bizet is nothing short of torturous: after its first outing in 1863, the score – whose manuscript is now in private hands and no longer available, alas – fell into obscurity, and was only returned to its rightful place in the sun after the composer's death, once Carmen had made his name. Alas – a thousand times, alas – many different theatre directors took themselves for great geniuses and made little amendments to the work, cutting here, adding there, changing bits up to and including the end. Until the 1960s, this calamitously cack-handed version was the one that was performed – this libretto looks a little flat, why not add a few mistakes? – until musicologists stumbled across the original documents, in particular the cut-down version by Bizet himself, as well as the "conductor's score" of the time, which contained many notes about orchestration. This version, put together in 2014 by Hugh MacDonald, is sung by the flower of great French lyrical music – Julie Fuchs, Florian Sempey, Cyrille Dubois and Luc Bertin-Hugault – and returns as closely as possible to the original version of the work, so that the listener will encounter a number of big surprises, and good surprises too: additional numbers, several melodic and dramatic developments: almost a whole new score. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released February 9, 2018 | Cypres

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Nineteen musicians in the pit, three on stage; resolutely tonal music in a straight line of succession running from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Martinů, Weill; French lyrics more declaimed than sung - by, happily, Francophone singer-actors led by Stéphane Degout, Vincent Le Texier, Yann Beuron and Chloé Briot: this is the framework that Philippe Boesmans chose for his latest opera Pinocchio, recorded live at La Monnaie in Brussels. The script is the work of Joël Pommerat, and it aims for an hour and fifteen of the quasi-melodrama based on the style which was in vogue in the 19th century in which to showcase the baffling musical richness of Collodi's work: and with immense success, it must be said. Pommerat is not necessarily looking to write a purely lyrical Pinocchio, but rather to develop an opera within an opera, using Brecht's favoured method of defamiliarisation, a sort of play-within-a-play, where "real" events alternate with narrative description of what's happening or about to happen. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a major work for the contemporary scene, a worthy 21st-century successor to the Magic Flute and its fantasy world, immersive, and full of illusions, prisms and invitations to new readings: in short, a masterpiece. And it can hardly come as a surprise that the subject hasn't drawn the attention of more composers since it first appeared in 1881, as only cinema and television have really taken it seriously (and Disneyesque animations, heaping on the sugar), with the exception of Jonathan Dove's unique 2007 work, The Adventures of Pinocchio © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released November 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Record of the Year - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Victoire de la musique - 4 étoiles Classica
We will gladly forgive the occasional "weakness" in sound technology in this recording of Troyens by Berlioz (recorded live in concert in April 2017). In light of the first-rate quality of the music and vocals that appear on the disc (a majority of which are French voices, with Stéphane Degout at their head) this immense work is from the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra and the three choirs which have been brought together – because the work demands immense swelling choirs – which are the choir of the Opéra national du Rhin, the Opéra National de Bade, and the Strasbourg Philharmonic's own choir. This recording rests, of course, on the complete original edition, which gives the listener a chance to hear Les Troyens as the work was performed in 1863, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, in which some intense chopping saw Acts I and II condensed into one part and Acts III to V into another, producing two distinct operas (La Prise de Troie and Les Troyens à Carthage). We also get a taste, naturally, of Berlioz's immensely rich orchestral innovations: with every new work, he would invent some exciting new prototype from scratch, never content to rest on his laurels. The listener should note the presence of six saxhorns, recently invented by Adolphe Sax (of whom Berlioz was an indefatigable champion, even if he didn't often use his instruments in his scores, no doubt because of the poor quality of the early instrumentalists who learned - however well or badly - Sax's instruments); bass clarinet, and an army of percussion pieces including several instruments which must have been rare in those days: crotales, goblet drums, tom-toms, thunder sheets... clearly, this is a milestone in the Berlioz discography. © SM/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released September 2, 2016 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Full Operas - Released June 17, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The conductor Jérémie Rhorer is today regarded as one of the finest interpreters of the music of Mozart in general and his operas in particular. After conducting Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2015, he performed it again at a memorable concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in September of that year with his orchestra, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie. It is this exceptional event, captured in a live recording conveying all the dramatic intensity of the opera, that we present today. ‘In Die Entfuhrung, Mozart presents a completely unprecedented vision of the singspiel, with highly developed ensembles and musical continuity at a time when contemporary spectators were expect-ing the standard alternation between spoken and sung sections’, says Jérémie Rhorer in the interview that accompanies the discs. That musical dramaturgy lies at the centre of this interpretation, which is served by an outstandingly homogeneous cast. This recording launches a series of recordings of concerts at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and a collaboration between Alpha Classics and Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, who will continue to place their excellence at the service of the great masterpieces of Mozart – and of other composers: watch this space!
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Full Operas - Released April 27, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Full Operas - Released November 14, 2014 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet + Video Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Full Operas - Released October 4, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Full Operas - Released January 25, 2011 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Diapason découverte - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
The musical world owes a debt of gratitude to French conductor Christophe Rousset not only for the vital, exquisite performances he delivers with the ensembles Les Talens Lyriques and Choeur de Chambre de Namur, but for his work in bringing to light neglected masterpieces of Baroque opera. Lully's Bellérophon, premiered in 1679, was a huge success in its time, with an initial run of nine months. Part of its popularity was doubtless due to the parallels that could be drawn between its plot and certain recent exploits of Louis XV, but even the earliest critics recognized the score's uniqueness and exceptional quality within Lully's oeuvre, so it's perhaps surprising that it has never been recorded before. The distinctiveness of the music was likely a result at least in part of the fact that Lully's preferred librettist Philippe Quinault was out of favor at the court of Louis XV at the time, so the composer turned to Thomas Corneille for the libretto, and Corneille's literary and dramatic styles were so different from Quinault's that Lully was nudged out of his comfort zone and had to develop new solutions to questions of structure and the marrying of music to text. It is the first opera for which Lully composed fully accompanied recitatives, and that alone gives it a textural richness that surpasses his earlier works. The composer also allows soloists to sing together, something that was still a rarity in Baroque opera. There are several duets and larger ensembles; the love duet, "Que tout parle à l'envie de notre amour extreme!," is a ravishing expression of passion and happiness, as rhapsodic as anything in 19th century Italian opera. The level of musical inventiveness throughout is exceptional even for Lully; the expressiveness of the recitatives, the charm of the instrumental interludes, the originality of the choruses, and the limpid loveliness of the airs make this an opera that demands attention. Rousset and his forces give an outstanding performance that's exuberantly spirited, musically polished, rhythmically springy, and charged with dramatic urgency. The soloists are consistently of the highest order. Cyril Auvity brings a large, virile, passionate tenor to the title role and Céline Scheen is warmly lyrical as his lover Philonoë. Ingrid Perruche is fiercely powerful as the villain, Stéenobée, and Jean Teitgen is a secure, authoritative Apollo. Soloists, chorus, and orchestra are fluent in the subtle inflections of French middle Baroque ornamentation. The sound of the live recording is very fine, with a clean, immediate, realistic ambience. This is a release that fans of Baroque opera will not want to miss. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Full Operas - Released April 24, 2008 | Mirare

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique - 4F de Télérama
The legend of doomed Babylonian lovers Pyramus and Thisbe is best known from A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which a group of tradesmen enact the story for the entertainment of the Athenian court. Shakespeare's version is hilarious, one of the funniest moments in theater because of the ineptitude of the amateur thespians, but they essentially get the story right, as it's presented in Ovid's Metamorphoses. That plot is much too short for an evening-length tragédie lyrique, so librettist Jean-Louis Ignace de la Serre created an extensive back story for the lovers with a large cast that includes Venus and Zoroaster (a little mixing of mythologies going on) as well as Ninus (Ninny in Shakespeare). The aspect of the 1726 Pirame et Thisbé that makes it truly unusual is the fact that it was written by two composers, François Rebel and François Francoeur, without any indication of who wrote which parts. The music has the typical sophistication and elegance of late Baroque French opera. It's characterized by a reliance on an expressive, heavily ornamented arioso that lies between recitative and aria, extended instrumental numbers, and a tone of grandeur and high seriousness. The composers' use of atypical instrumental doublings and choral unison singing gives the opera a distinctive sound. Daniel Cuiller leads the ensemble Stradivaria and Choeur de l'Académie Baroque in a polished and spirited performance. The vocal performances are decidedly mixed. Most of the principal soloists are fully effective, with a clear grasp of the vocal timbres and the elaborate ornamentation appropriate for the period. In the central role of Ninus, tenor Jeffrey Thompson seems to be moving in an entirely different universe from the rest of the cast. His performance is so vocally overwrought that it would be out of place even in the most overwrought Italian verismo repertoire. He telegraphs intense emotion by swoops and gasping intakes of breath that would not be tolerated in any music school. His vocal mawkishness makes his performance virtually unlistenable without cringing. It's unfortunate, given the excellence of other the soloists, particularly Judith Van Wanroij, Katia Velletaz, Thomas Dolié, and Jean Teitgen, whose performances are fully expressive, but within the conventions of the period. The sound of the live recording is clean, bright, and atmospheric, with a minimum of ancillary noises. © TiVo