LABELS: Wigmore Hall Live
WORKS: Blessed Spirit: A Gluck Retrospective
PERFORMER: Sophie Bevan, Ailish Tynan (soprano), Anna Stéphany (mezzo-soprano); Classical Opera Company/Ian Page
CATALOGUE NO: WHLive 0037
Gluck remains one of the great unknowns of his period, with only three or four titles familiar to non-specialists. But this Wigmore Hall Live release, recorded in January this year, at least opens a few more doors, with extracts from 12 operas conducted by Ian Page and refined playing from the Classical Opera Company Orchestra.
The three singers here all make a good showing, Ailish Tynan with her direct engagement with recitative, notably in an extract from Antigono, and as a sentient, fearful Euridice in the climactic scene of Orfeo ed Euridice, in which Page takes the famous aria ‘Che faro’ a good deal faster than we are used to – though not without positively impacting Anna Stéphany’s involving performance.
She scores highly as Clytemnestra in Iphigénie en Aulide, her smoky timbre encompassing the anger of Agamemnon’s wife at his willingness to sacrifice their daughter.
Sophie Bevan cuts a charmingly determined figure as Colette in the comedy L’ivrogne corrigé, and is measured and skilful in Sesto’s vast aria from La clemenza di Tito.
The sound is less impressive, with the voices too distant and intrusive reverberation. George Hall