Véronique Gens - Tragédiennes

'Veronique Gens is now a leading interpreter of French opera and song'

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: André Campra, Christoph Gluck, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Marie Leclair, Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer, Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville

Genre:

Opera

Label: Virgin Classics

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo
DDD

Catalogue Number: 346762-2

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(Le) carnaval de Venise André Campra Composer
Christophe Rousset
Véronique Gens
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Iphigénie en Aulide Véronique Gens
Christoph Gluck Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
(Les) fêtes de Polymnie Véronique Gens
Christophe Rousset
Jean-Philippe Rameau Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Armide Christophe Rousset
Véronique Gens
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer
Scylla et Glaucus Christophe Rousset
Jean-Marie Leclair Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Castor et Pollux Véronique Gens
Christophe Rousset
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Jean-Philippe Rameau Composer
Scylla et Glaucus (Les) Talens Lyriques
Jean-Marie Leclair Composer
Véronique Gens
Christophe Rousset
Castor et Pollux Jean-Philippe Rameau Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Hippolyte et Aricie Véronique Gens
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Jean-Philippe Rameau Composer
(Le) pouvoir de l'amour (Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer Composer
Véronique Gens
Isbé Christophe Rousset
Véronique Gens
Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Scylla et Glaucus Christophe Rousset
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Véronique Gens
Jean-Marie Leclair Composer
Scylla et Glaucus Jean-Marie Leclair Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Véronique Gens
Hippolyte et Aricie Jean-Philippe Rameau Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Armide Christophe Rousset
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Scylla et Glaucus (Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Jean-Marie Leclair Composer
Scylla et Glaucus (Les) Talens Lyriques
Jean-Marie Leclair Composer
Christophe Rousset
Armide Christophe Rousset
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Véronique Gens
Christoph Gluck Composer
Hippolyte et Aricie Jean-Philippe Rameau Composer
Christophe Rousset
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Armide Véronique Gens
Christophe Rousset
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Iphigénie en Aulide (Les) Talens Lyriques
Véronique Gens
Christophe Rousset
Christoph Gluck Composer
Zaïde, reine de Grenade Christophe Rousset
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Véronique Gens
Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer Composer
Armide Véronique Gens
(Les) Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer
Armide (Les) Talens Lyriques
Jean-Baptiste Lully Composer
Christophe Rousset
Not many people will have heard, let alone seen, Mondonville’s Isbé, Leclair’s Scylla et Glaucus, Royer’s Zaïde or even Rameau’s Les fêtes de Polymnie. Most of the repertory of tragédie lyrique remains obscure to all but specialist devotees. This adventurous recital disc provides a sort of potted history, ranging from Lully’s Armide of 1686 to Gluck’s setting of the same libretto just over 90 years later. Véronique Gens has established herself as one of the leading interpreters of French opera and song, and her voice has gained in richness and power so that she can now tackle the role of Phèdre in Rameau’s opera Hippolyte et Aricie, rather than that of Aricie, which she recorded for Marc Minkowski a decade ago (Archiv, 9/95). The other Rameau arias make an excellent contrast in emotional temperature, Telaïre (Castor et Pollux) renouncing her love, while Argélie (Les fêtes de Polymnie) gives way to a sort of expectant thrill.

The selections are arranged chronologically, and any sense of monotony is dispelled by the happy idea of interjecting orchestral passages from the operas. In this way Phèdre’s prayer, in which she confronts her desire for her stepson Hippolyte, is followed by a brilliant chaconne, and an elegant passacaille succeeds Armide’s invocation of hatred. The playing by Les Talens Lyriques is virtuosic and Christophe Rousset is alert to the subtle changes of mood demanded by each generation of composer. The real rarities are the arias by Mondonville and Royer. It isn’t easy in these stately pieces to attempt a great deal of characterisation, but the more one listens to Gens the more impressive she is.

The most arresting music is inevitably the best known: the amazing aria for Clytemnestra (Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide), with its long recitative punctuated by stabbing bass chords, in which the queen has a vision of her daughter’s sacrifice. The wheel comes full circle – Gluck’s response to Quinault’s Armide libretto sounds more than a century away from Lully. This is an exceptionally imaginative recital, and even those who don’t normally go for early opera might find themselves pleasantly surprised.

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