Magazine article Gramophone

Charpentier: La Descente d'Orphee Aux Enfers

Magazine article Gramophone

Charpentier: La Descente d'Orphee Aux Enfers

Article excerpt

Charpentier La descente d'Orphee aux enfers Cyril Auvity ten                                Orphee Celine Scheen sop                              Eurydice Etienne Bazola bar                               Pluton Floriane Hasler mez                          Proserpine Ma'ilys de Villoutreys sop                       Daphne Virgile Ancely bass-bar                   Apollon/Titye Jeanne Crousaud sop                              Oenone Dagmar aaSkova sop                             Arethuze Kevin Skelton ten                                 Ixion Guillaume Gutierrez fen                         Tantale 

Francois-Nicolas Geslot haute-contre David Witczak bass Ensemble Desmarest / Ronan Khalil Glossa (F) GCD923602 (61 * DDD) Includes libretto and translation

One way or another, Charpentier's miniature opera La descente d'Orphee aux enfers is incomplete: either there's a third act missing or unwritten, or the music really is all there, with Charpentier having decided to end the action at the point when Orpheus has won back Eurydice and they have yet to attempt their return to the land of the living. Whatever the case, it is first-rate dramatic music from one of the Baroque's greatest masters, and this recording from emerging Ensemble Desmarest under Ronan Khalil enters the catalogue alongside two distinguished predecessors.

The tone of the performance is set as early as the Ouverture, whose light and airy texture suggests that it is to be characterised by intimacy and delicacy by comparison with the slightly firmer Les Arts Florissants under William Christie and the heavier Boston Early Music Festival players (who use oboes instead of flutes) under Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs. …

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