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A welter of French repertoire means that this month has a strongly Francophone flavour. Véronique Gens adds to her previous French opera discs (Tragédiennes I, II and III, which covered the 18th and 19th centuries) with this new CD bringing her into the 20th century. The premise is that each aria expresses some form of Romantic ‘vision’ – a neat peg on which to hang a variety of gorgeous tunes and reveal yet more rarities. So if you have ever wondered what Bruneau’s Geneviève sounded like, or Godard’s Les Guelfes or Février’s Gismonda, then this is the disc for you. In case you have never pondered such musical obscurities, but have a taste for French music and fancy something different, then it is still highly recommended. Gens’s ‘Falcon’ soprano oozes class as she purrs her way through these arias. Interestingly, Cornélie Falcon, after whom the vocal type is named, made her Opéra debut alongside Julie Dorus-Gras in Robert le Diable, only to lose her voice mid-flow in Niedermeyer’s Stradella five years later, an aria from which Gens also includes on her album.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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