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Rameau - Dardanus / Ainsley, Gens, Naouri, Delunsch, Courtis, Kozena, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Minkowski
Mireille Delunsch
Rameau - Dardanus / Ainsley, Gens, Naouri, Delunsch, Courtis, Kozena, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Minkowski
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (43) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (36) - Disc #2

If there was any composer who could fit music to the special effects called for by the conventions of the French baroque tragédie lyrique, it was Jean-Philippe Rameau (patron saint of the late bloomers, who composed his fi...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Mireille Delunsch
Title: Rameau - Dardanus / Ainsley, Gens, Naouri, Delunsch, Courtis, Kozena, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Minkowski
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Archiv Produktion
Original Release Date: 1/1/2000
Re-Release Date: 5/9/2000
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750)
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 028946347621

Synopsis

Amazon.com
If there was any composer who could fit music to the special effects called for by the conventions of the French baroque tragédie lyrique, it was Jean-Philippe Rameau (patron saint of the late bloomers, who composed his first operatic masterpiece, Hippolyte et Aricie, at age 50). In the lesser-known Dardanus, Rameau's librettist provided plenty of such opportunities. In fact, he curiously goes beyond the French Age of Reason penchant for Greek myth by inventing his own prehistory for the mythic hero Dardanus (eventual founder of Troy). The story of rival factions, divine interventions, and love triumphing over obstacles political and personal clearly inspired some of Rameau's most adventurous musical evocations (just one example might be the fascinating harmonic language he uses to depict a magician commanding an eclipse). It's this spirit of daring experiment that Rameau expert Marc Minkowski relishes throughout this magnificent, high-octane, deftly tailored account. He fires the authentic-instrument group Les Musiciens du Louvre into his customary whiplash speeds, which are just perfect for the air of martial excitement that prevails, while the many dance-centered numbers have a muscular grace. The result in general is some of his best work to date on disc, with a special emphasis on the through line of the score. The cast is spectacular--young in demeanor, passionate, and superbly fluent in the idiom. Consider the vocal acting of Véronique Gens as the conflicted heroine Iphise (in love with her father's enemy), with its rich emotional involvement; there's an exciting chemistry between her and the title hero John Mark Ainsley, who gently tapers his vibrato into a beautifully nuanced tenor--now forlorn and outcast, now assertively heroic. Less satisfying is Laurent Naouri's inconsistently projected lower range as the antihero Anténor. The chorus has been beautifully prepared. For this recording, Minkowski uses Rameau's original 1739 version, with some interpolations of especially compelling material from the slimmed-down 1744 revision. --Thomas May
 

CD Reviews

Vrai Francais...
Melanie Eskenazi | Cheam UK | 07/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rameau, Dardanus.This superb recording should please both those who consider themselves "Ramistes" and those who simply enjoy pre - 19th century music. Previous recordings of Rameau have always seemed to me to be rather dull, but this one is full of energy and commitment and directed with flair.The cast is generally a good one, and in the case of the eponymous hero, sublime, and Minkowski obtains playing of real verve from his orchestra; the choral singing is incisive throughout. The part of the heroine, Iphise, is sung by the flavour-of-the-month soprano, Véronique Gens, and she never fails to give pleasure with her lovely tone, although her manner of address does not seem to me quite distinctive enough for a Rameau heroine, and her sense of the words is at times rather generalized. Her would - be lover Antenor is sung by Laurent Naouri, who gives a nobly dramatic account of "Monstre Affreux," and the wizard Ismenor is taken with credible sympathy by Jean-Philippe Courtis. Mireille Delunsch enjoys herself in the soubrette - ish role of Venus, and the much - hyped Magdalena Kozená turns up in a couple of smaller parts.The finest singing on the recording is, appropriately, by the Dardanus, John Mark Ainsley, who takes himself completely seriously in the role - there is none of the tongue-in-cheek attitude that afflicts some singers in such parts, and he is equally credible as the conquering hero and the forlorn lover. His singing is always lyrical, his French completely idiomatic and his mastery of the complex music absolute, but it is his attention to words which gives the purest delight; at every turn one is startled by some grace in delivery or some nuance of phrasing - the little air "D'un Amant empressé lui parler le langage" is full of these, and his scene with Iphise is heart-rendingly done - "Vous fuyez, inhumaine" is an especially poignant moment. There were one or two instances in his performance where I found myself wondering if his tone, with its distinctive sweetness, were not hardening a little, and if he is not doing too much of the wrong kind of music for him; his recent Lensky at ENO had wonderful moments but he struggled to rise above the orchestra during the aria. On the evidence of the present recording, he should perhaps be preparing to take on the mantle of the French classical tenor of our time, in such roles as Admetus and Pylades - amazing, really, to be able to say this about an English singer! This "Dardanus" is fresh, vital and fascinating, combining the best virtues of live performance with an utterly precise sound. Fully deserving of five stars."
Another Rameau gem
J. Luis Juarez Echenique | Mexico City | 05/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After listening to DG's new Manon Lescaut, it is obvious that there are no decent Puccini tenors around, but while listening to this new Dardanus it also was obvious that these baroque operas are the real glory of our time. This is not the first recording of Dardanus, there was a 1977 recording in ERATO with a marvelous cast that included Frederica von Stade, Christiane Eda-Pierre and Jose van Dam, but it was incompetently conducted by Raymond Leppard with an inadequate modern-instrument orchestra. Now we are fortunate to have a very good and stylish period-orchestra recording from Radio France. John Mark Ainsley is certainly a better Rameau tenor than Jose Cura is a Puccini one. Veronique Gens is exquisite as usual and the rest of the cast is admirable, even if we miss the great Jose van Dam. If you have never heard a Rameau opera, you are missing a lot to put it mildly. Here is France greatest composer in all his glory."
Very Nice
David Leeson | 05/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very nice live recording of one of Rameau's lesser-known operas. The story is fairly typical of French Baroque opera. Dardanus, son of Jupiter and Electra, has been waging war against the Kingdom of Phrygia, but has fallen in love with King Teucer's daughter, Iphise. Iphise secretly loves Dardanus too, but Teucer has promised her to his ally Antenor, who helps the Phrygians defeat Dardanus in battle. Dardanus is captured, but before Teucer can sacrifice him to the gods a sea monster appears and ravages the Phrygian coast. Antenor departs to battle the monster, but the gods intervene and release Dardanus from prison. Dardanus is transported to the sea coast, defeats the monster, and saves Antenor's life. Antenor, who does not recognise his rescuer, promises to grant Dardanus any favour within his power: you can probably guess the rest. Minkowski has chosen to perform the 1739 version with a couple of additions from the revised version of 1744, most notably Dardanus's Act IV prison air "Lieux funeste." This was a good choice, since "Lieux funeste" is one of the best parts of the performance. Other memorable moments include the Chorus of Dreams in Act IV, Scene 2 and the striking war dance in Act 1, Scene 3, "Mars, Bellone, guidez nos/leur coups." It's all good, however. The many choruses and dances, one of French Baroque opera's best features, are excellent, but the soloists shine as well. I was a little apprehensive about buying a live recording, but the sound quality is excellent. If you're a "Ramiste" like myself, you will definitely enjoy these discs."