horizontal line

Also combining gods with mortals is Lully’s Alceste in the expert hands of conductor Christophe Rousset. Composed for Louis XIV to celebrate his triumph against Franche-Comté, it follows Alceste’s self-sacrifice in taking her husband’s place in the underworld, selflessly rescued by Alcide who, despite loving her, restores her to marital bliss. Philippe Quincault’s libretto caused a bit of a stink in the 1670s by blending the heroic with the vulgar and comic, and – gasp – choruses, which were denigrated by none other than Corneille because they were distracting and ‘prevent the listener from relaxing’. To these ears the choruses prove one of Alceste’s main attractions in their invention and contrast, and are superbly sung here by the Chœur de Chambre de Namur. The recording is excellent and flows at a natural pace, with singers taking multiple roles. Judith Van Wanroij is a restrained Alceste, Edwin Crossley-Mercer a noble-toned Alcide, and Ambroisine Bré shines in her three assumptions.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Opera Now, 2018 - ©Rhinegold Publishing