A wonderful surprise.
Gary J. Wright | San Francisco, CA United States | 08/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rousset's instrumental forces display plenty of verve and the vocalists are top notch. The surprise is the wonderful music itself, by the rarely-recorded Mondonville. Admirers of Rameau will undoubtedly appreciate much that is to be heard here. Though Mondonville is very much his own man. there are plenty of choruses and other lively flourishes that Rameau would have been proud of. Spread over three discs, the set does run a little too long for its own good, but there is enough fine music here to justify a 5-star rating.
The sound quality is first class."
An absolute joy from start to finish
Steven Guy | Croydon, South Australia | 02/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful French Baroque opera from one of Rameau's younger contemporaries. Like Rameau's Les Indes Galantes or Les Fêtes d'Hébé, Les Fêtes de Paphos is an opera-ballet consisting of a collection of entrées. The music is rich and colourful, although, unlike similar works of Rameau, it doesn't feature any local colour.
The cast consists of some very familiar and fine singers - Sandrine Piau, Véronique Gens, Agnès Mellon, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Olivier Lallouette, Peter Harvey and James Oxley [the only one not known to me]. Les Talens Lyrique plays this music with great style and pizzazz, only Les Arts Florissants or Les Musiciens du Louvre seriously rival them in this musical genre. Note that the beautiful and talented Emmanuelle Haïm plays the harpsichord continuo in this recording. I don't she'd taken up conducting when this recording was made (1997) - she was still working with Les Talens Lyriques and Les Arts Florissants as a continuo player at that time, I think. To be sure, Christophe Rousset was only just starting to make a name for himself as a musical director in the mid '90s.
If you're a lover of the operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau, and, let's face it, who isn't!, then Les Fêtes de Paphos will delight you. Let us hope that further operas by Jean Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville are recorded in the near future. I'd love a DVD of Les Fêtes de Paphos.