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FideLeo:
For those interested in Gesamtkunstwerk in early modern Europe, this stage version of the Molière/Lully comédie-ballet Le bourgeois gentilhomme is a highly recommended experience.  There is more theatre than music here (about 3:1 in a four-hour production) but the performance is so oustanding in all departments (theatre, music, dance) it is no drawback at all.  The players recite in ancient French and observe all known theatrical practices of the time, including speaking at all times not to each other but facing the audience.  The stage is lit by 500 candles and houses a totally engrossing show from beginning to end.  The actors are wonderfully fun to watch even for me, from essentially a foreign (oriental) persepctive, and the included 50-minute documentary shows, in the case of Vincent Dumestre, what it takes to be a first-rate promoter of French baroque culture/music.   

Que:

--- Quote from: masolino on June 23, 2007, 02:42:25 PM ---For many the ULTIMATE French baroque opera (in the category of tragédies lyriques anyway)
isn't one by Lully or Rameau, but Médée composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (libretto:
Thomas Corneille). William Christie recorded it twice (for HM and Erato respectively), although
the general preference is for the later Erato version with the late Lorraine Hunt in the title role.
It is said that Charpentier instilled into the genre a rare psychological complexity that
can be utterly challenging and rewarding to attentive listeners.  The HM version, furthermore,
is cut in several places, but it has its share of supporters.  I am most fascinated by
the vocal style of haute-contres in this period, and Mark Padmore does a most convincing
job as a French baroque Heldentenor  :D

wiki article

4509-96558-2 (Erato)
HM901139-41 (Harmonia mundi)
--- End quote ---

Thank you Masolino for the recommendation! :)
I do hope Hunt's and Padmore's French is OK? (I must confess to some bias against anglophone singers in this respect... :-\)



--- Quote from: Lilas Pastia on June 23, 2007, 08:04:17 PM ---I second the recommendation for Clérambault cantatas (there are other recordings) and esp. the Campra Requiem. This, along with the Gilles Requiem is one of the high points of the French Baroque sacred repertoire. The Charpentier Te Deum is another incontournable. Don't miss out on Corrette either.

--- End quote ---

Lilas, could you mention some performers/recordings for those?

Q

71 dB:

--- Quote from: masolino on June 23, 2007, 02:42:25 PM ---For many the ULTIMATE French baroque opera (in the category of tragédies lyriques anyway)
isn't one by Lully or Rameau, but Médée composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier

--- End quote ---

I haven't heard this work. However, no matter how good it is ignoring Rameau's operas is plain stupidity.

71 dB:

--- Quote from: Que on June 24, 2007, 03:00:57 AM ---71 dB,

Indicating a preference for Charpentier opera as a first choice in French baroque opera, does not equate to ignoring any other composer. Besides, calling others stupid because of their preferences is not a very good idea  - please be nice!  :)

But if you want to stick up for Rameau's operas - please do so! Explain which ones you like, and why you prefer them. Compare with Charpentier's operas - I could learn something! :)

Q

--- End quote ---

I think you misinterpreted me. I didn't call anyone stupid. I am really interested of Charpentier's operas as I consider him the greatest 17th century composer of France. I just doubt Charpentier's operas can have the same level of harmonic bliss and orchestral colours Rameau has.

FideLeo:

--- Quote from: 71 dB on June 24, 2007, 04:25:49 AM ---I think you misinterpreted me. I didn't call anyone stupid. I am really interested of Charpentier's operas as I consider him the greatest 17th century composer of France. I just doubt Charpentier's operas can have the same level of harmonic bliss and orchestral colours Rameau has.

--- End quote ---

So long as operas are more than "harmonic bliss and orchestral colours" there is reason to prefer Charpentier's late operatic masterpiece to Rameau's works.  Rameau actually wrote catchier tunes as far as I am concerned, but there is such psychological realism in Charpentier's dramatic music (which came to a full bloom in Medea) that it stuns even modern listeners at first encounter.  His characterisation for most characters is so acute it is a bit like hearing a verismo opera two centuries before its time.  I think Charpentier's profound background in writing oratorios (his teacher in Rome was Giacomo Carissimi) is what enabled him to stand out here.

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