ALBUM TITLE: Sabine Devieilhe: Rameau
WORKS: Le grand theatre de l’amour: arias, duets etc from Pygmalion, Les paladins, Les boréades, Anacréon, Zais, Dardanus, Casto et Pllux, Platée and other works
PERFORMER: Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Samuel Boden (tenor), Aimery Lefevre (baritone); Le Jeune Choeur de Paris, les Ambassadeurs/Alexis Kossenko
CATALOGUE NO: 934 1492
If Jean-Claude Malgoire and William Christie were the first generation of French Baroque specialists, and Christophe Rousset, Hervé Niquet and Marc Minkowski were the second, then here are members of the third – soprano Sabine Devieilhe and flautist, musicologist and founder-director of Les Ambassadeurs, Alexis Kossenko. Rameau’s theatre music is in their blood and under their skin. They understand its rhythmic character, the curves of its melodies, and the variety, wit and refinement of its moods.
Constructed as a pasticcio, this programme of arias, duets, trios, choruses and dances offers a brilliant introduction to Rameau’s operas, featuring a tempest and a sommeil (a slumber scene), heartbreak and triumph. Devieilhe has a clear, flexible voice with easy high notes. She’s an agile, expressive and stylish singer, and a generous team player, sharing the spotlight with tenor Samuel Boden and baritone Aimery Lefèvre.
The star performance here, however, comes from Kossenko and his orchestra, with flute obbligatos of ineffable beauty (‘Feuillages verts naissez’ and ‘Air de Phani’ from Les Indes galantes and the ‘Air tendre en rondeau’ from Zoroastre) and pastoral and exotic orchestral dances of infectious rhythmic vitality. Delightful from start to finish, with animated contributions from Le Jeune Choeur de Paris, this is a stunning debut.