Magazine article Gramophone

Massenet: Le Mage

Magazine article Gramophone

Massenet: Le Mage

Article excerpt

Massenet Le mage Catherine Hunold sop                                           Anahita Kate Aldrich mez                                               Varedha Luca Lombardo ten                                             Zarastra Jean-Francois Lapointe bar                                       Amrou Marcel Vanaud bar                                       King of Persia Julien Dran ten                                 Prisoner/Persian Chief Florian Sempey bar                                Persian Chief/Herald Saint-Etienne Loire Lyric Choir and Symphony Orchestra / Laurent Campellone Ediciones Singulares [F][2] ES1013 (139' * DDD * T/t)  Massenet Therese Nora Gubisch mez                                               Therese Charles Castronovo ten                               Armand de Clerval Etienne Dupuis bar                                        Andre Thorel Francois Lis bass                                                Morel Yves Saelens ten                                               Officer Patrick Bolleire bass                        Officer/Municipal Officer Charles Bonnet bass                                            A Voice Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Opera Choir and Orchestra / Alain Altinoglu Ediciones Singulares [F] ES1011 (70' * DDD * T/t) 

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Two lavishly contextualised Massenet discoveries from Ediciones Singulares

The magus of the title is Zarastra, aka Zoroaster; but there's little resemblance to the character portrayed by Handel and Rameau, and none at all to Mozart's Sarastro. The setting is in and around Bakhdi (present-day Balkh, in northern Afghanistan). Zarastra, a Persian general, has defeated the Turanians in battle. Their queen, Anahita, accepts and returns his love after initially rejecting it because of the enmity between their peoples; but the celebrations are interrupted by Amrou and his daughter Varedha, whose claim that Zarastra is already betrothed is believed by all present, including Anahita. Banished, Zarastra becomes a magus, worshipping Ahura Mazda, god of fire. Goaded by Varedha, he returns to Bakhdi to find the city destroyed by the resurgent Turanians. The Persian king, who was on the point of marrying the unwilling Anahita, is dead, as is the high priest Amrou. Varadha, mortally wounded, calls down fire from her goddess, Djahi; but Zarastra prays to Ahura Mazda and the reunited lovers are saved. …

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