on 10 October 2010
When I last did a review of a Rameau opera I said that recitative was used sparingly, I now understand that this wasn't quite correct and is something which is demonstrated well here. In these French baroque operas and opera-ballets the differences between recitative, aria, ensembles and orchestral dances are all rather blurred so that they merge into each other, also much of the recitative has a full accompaniment making it sound in passing like an aria. I really like this approach especially when compared for instance, to the operas of Handel where the distinction between recitative and aria is very clear. It means that instead of the recitative being something to endure on the way to the next aria, or at least, something which to me, holds up the progress of the musical ideas, becomes a more integral part of the music.
This particular opera has the usual William Christie touch, he is well tuned in to Rameau in my opinion and his soloists, chorus and orchestra all sing/play with a beautiful tone and colour, phrasing everything quite enchantingly.
The presentation is of course up to the usual Erato standard with a comprehensive booklet including and essay and libretto. Highly recommended!
on 21 February 2013
It's always welcome to hear William Christie and his forces, especially in French baroque repertoire. However, I would suggest that anyone who already has the much earlier Kuijken/La Petite Bande recording, sticks with the latter. This set is good, but much of it sounds too rushed for my liking. Kuijken's more relaxed approach and more resonant recording seems to conjure up more of the mystery of the work for me.