Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Marc-Antoine Charpentier, William Christie, Les Arts Florissants|
Charpentier - Médée / Hunt, Padmore, Deletre, Zanetti, Salzmann, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
Charpentier's Médée gets this writer's vote for the greatest opera of the entire French Baroque era. In their retelling of the Medea legend, Charpentier and his librettist Corneille combine all the grace, charm, and artifi... more »
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Charpentier's Médée gets this writer's vote for the greatest opera of the entire French Baroque era. In their retelling of the Medea legend, Charpentier and his librettist Corneille combine all the grace, charm, and artifice typical of the French Baroque era with truly gripping drama. William Christie and Les Arts Florissants give a thrilling performance with a fabulous cast featuring stellar high tenor Mark Padmore and "La Divina" Lorraine Hunt (yes, she is the Maria Callas of 18th-century opera) in the role that made her a Baroque superstar. --Matthew Westphal
The power of music and classical drama!
Sergio Mascate Pires (email@example.com) | Lisbon, Portugal | 10/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was fortunate to listen to this production, performed in Lisbon in 1994, and I will never forget Lorraine Hunt on her black long dress, calling the spirits of the underwold in the third act... it was a magical moment, something I have no words to express. The recording shows not only that Charpentier and Corneille conceived the best lyrical drama of all time, but also that William Christie and his orchestra are among the best performers of baroque music. If I would have to choose only one record for a desert island, this would be the one! If you don't have it on your collection, you just can't imagine what you are missing..."
Charpentier's 1693 and Cherubini's 1797
John D. Pilkey | Santa Clarita, CA USA | 10/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Medee is the seventh French Baroque opera in my collection together with three by Lully and three by Rameau. Charpentier intervened between the two. The opera dates 1693, six years after Lully's death. The plot includes events from the Jason-Medea mythology not found in Cherubini's "first grand opera" Medee, dating a century later in revolutionary Paris in 1797. The sprightly and largely unruffled dignity of Charpentier's music poses a sharp contrast to the thunder of Cherubini's Medee. The contrast between the two operas serves as an index of the vast change from French monarchy at high tide under Louis XIV to the angry republic of revolutionary France in the aftermath of the Regicide of Louis XVI and subsequent Reign of Terror. Cherubini's Medea is a one-woman terror. Not so Charpentier's Medea although she warns of her magical powers with a short musical outburst early in the opera and eventually uses these powers to murder Jason's intended bride Creusa. Charpentier brings in a character, Oronte, lacking in Cherubini. Oronte allies himself with the Corinthian King Creon and then with Medea in a common cause with her as a rejected lover of Creusa just as Medea is rejected by Jason. The whole tenor of the opera is different because Medea sings the opening lines rather than being held back, as Cherubini does, to bring the angry woman on to disturb the peace of Jason's impending wedding. In other words Charpentier's work features a more conventional build-up of motives unlike the diabolical frenzy which Cherubini transferred from the Terror to the ancient sorceress. There are powerful moments in the 1693 work but the dominant qualities are delicacy and regal dignity and optimism. The reason for that optimism is stated in the Prologue by allegorical Victory who has made her home in France for a long time. Louis VIV was a winner in battle. The courtship scene between Jason and Creusa in Act II is one of the most super-refined instances of such an exchange I have ever heard."
John D. Pilkey | 08/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the in-house reviewer that Charpentier's Medee is arguably the finest French baroque opera ever written. And the superb quality of this recording fully matches the beauty and subtlety of Charpentier's music. This may well be the finest recording ever produced by Les Arts Florissants."