PERFORMER: City of London S/Hickox
CATALOGUE NO: EMI 640 7282
Gluck’s stay in Paris produced a sequence of major works, of which Armide (1777) – a setting of a libretto by Quinault written for Lully nearly a century before – is both a homage to the French operatic tradition and a renewal of it.
The neglected score tells of the doomed love of the sorceress Armide (Felicity Palmer) for the Christian knight Renaud (Anthony Rolfe Johnson) at the time of the First Crusade. Hickox motivates it to good effect, with Rolfe Johnson deploying plenty of lyrical heroism and Raimund Herincx weighty if wobbly as Armide’s uncle Hidraot. Palmer is a mixture of emotional grandeur and stress, her voice masked by an over-resonant acoustic. George Hall