Until I heard this recording, Régine Crespin's recording of Les Nuits d'Été was the be-all and end-all; it was simply impossible for me to imagine anything better. Well, Mme. Crespin will need to make room on her pedestal, because Karen Cargill is simply wonderful.
I first noticed Ms. Cargill when I watched the Met's broadcast of Les Troyens. For my money, she was at least as good as - if not better than - Susan Graham, so I decided to see what else she'd done and found this and a few other recordings. I don't know if I can say I discovered her, but let's just say I'm so glad I found her. She has a wonderfully warm and expressive voice; it can be delicate or huge, and she handles the transitions between the two, as well as the French accent and elisions, spectacularly well. And because she's a mezzo, she can handle the lower notes arguably better than Crespin.
I'd have loved to have Ravel's Scheherazade on this recording, but in lieu of direct competition with Crespin's, Ms. Cargill has opted for an all-Berlioz recording with the "La Mort de Cléopâtre, and it's simply amazing. Maybe she'll do the Ravel on another recording at some point - one can only hope.
Similarly, Ansermet's conducting of L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romand is easily matched by Robin Tocciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. I'm not familiar with either, but I can't wait to hear more.
Finally, the sound quality of this recording is extraordinary - the extra bucks you pay for an SACD are well worth it.