Author Topic: Zoroastre by Rameau  (Read 5265 times)

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uffeviking

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Zoroastre by Rameau
« on: May 08, 2007, 05:50:19 PM »
Five acts and uncounted scenes of beautiful Rameau music, Pierre Audi direction and Patrick Kinmonth costumes, all 227 minutes of it! I had to take it in two sessions. Basically I would call it a French Zauberflöte without the humour and slapstick comedy and, to be honest, rather boring. I lost track of who wants who, who gets who and who doesn't. If I list the cast, you probably don't find any familiar names, for instance the title role is sung by Evegueniy Alexiev and his love is Sine Bundgaard, a typical Drottningholm production, which I usually like. The singing is acceptable, nothing earth shattering, but then Rameau was more concerned with the acting than giving the performers a chance to shine with individual grand arias. No 'Celeste Aida' here. If you are a true and dedicated fan of Rameau's music, I think you should get this DVD. Les Talens Lyriques with the Drottningholm orchestra are conducted by Christophe Rousset and it all sounds rather nice. I can not judge the correctness of the French language sung by all those foreigners; the r of the star sounded a bit too rolling to me though.

To me the value of this Opus Arte DVD is the direction by Pierre Audi. - The same genius who did the Amsterdam Ring! - He successfully mixes dance moves with mime gestures, voluminous costumes, yards of fluffy material on an almost bare stage. Patience is needed for this marathon production but well worth the effort.

Offline knight66

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Re: Zoroastre by Rameau
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 10:16:47 PM »
Lis, It reads like excerpts would do rather better. I have a whole disc of Sine Bundgaard. She is yet another who has benefited from the EMI Debut CD series. Lovely voice and rather a nice face as I recall.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Sean

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Re: Zoroastre by Rameau
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 12:33:51 AM »
I think there are five true Rameau operas and this is a late one...I've only got hold of two so far but there's obviously a wealth of invention throughout.

Offline T-C

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Re: Zoroastre by Rameau
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 01:10:42 AM »
Zoroastre was the fourth of Rameau's tragédies en musique that was staged, but the 1749 audiences were not especially enthusiastic about the opera, so Rameau and his librettist Louis de Cahusac reworked it completely, and in this revised version it was stages successfully in Paris on 19 January 1756. The revised 1756 version is the one heard today.

The opera takes place in the ancient kingdom of Bactria (old Persia) and is about the struggle between good and evil. The good are led by Zoroastre (Zarathustra), the "founder of the Magi", which is a devotee of Ahura Mazda (the Supreme Being) and the evil, led by the sorcerer Abramane, a servant of Ahriman (the Spirit of Evil).

The opera opens, with Bactria in chaos after the death of the king. The King had two daughters: Amélite, which is the rightful heir, and the evil Erinice. They are both in love with Zoroastre, who loves Amélite. After a lot of singing and dancing (5 acts) the Good is triumphant: Zoroastre and Amélite are the new King and Queen. Erinice is now repentant and Abramane defeated.

The new Opus Arte DVD offers an excellent performance of the opera, both visually and musically. Christophe Rousset, who also plays the harpsichord, leads expertly the HIP forces. The singers are very good.

Lis, the title role is Zoroastre, which was written for an haute-contre (a high French tenor). Mark Padmore was scheduled to sing the part, but it is sung here by the young Swedish tenor Anders J Dahlin. He has a very beautiful and flexible voice, which enables him to cope very well with several elaborated coloratura passages. The Evil main character, the sorcerer Abramane, is sung by baritone Evgueniy Alexiev. What a voice. He is outstanding.


Anders J. Dahlin who sings the title role


From the ladies, one should mention first Anna Maria Panzarella, a Rameau specialist, singing very impressively in the role of the evil sister, Erinice (She recorded this role in the 2003 Erato recording that is conducted by William Christie). Sine Bundgaard sings Amélite. I was less impressed with her singing in the beginning, but than she improves, and in the end, she is very good. All the other singers are excellent, and one must mention the very tall bass Lars Arvidson singing and acting outstandingly as both Zopire and La Vengeance.

This is a typical Pierre Audi production, very suitable for the dark nature of the opera. And there are some very original dances that were created by Amir Hosseinpour. The opera lasts 156 minutes. All the rest of the DVD playing time is a documentary about the production, which has very interesting remarks from conductor Christophe Rousset about the novelty and originality of Rameau’s music.

To sum up: anyone seeking a Celeste Aida, should stick with Verdi. This is a beautiful Rameau opera filed with exquisite music. I can highly recommend this set to anyone who is interested in the French baroque opera.   


« Last Edit: May 09, 2007, 01:15:36 AM by T-C »

Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Zoroastre by Rameau
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 03:04:12 PM »
Zoroastre is my second-favourite Rameau opera (after Les Boréades), and I'm pleased to say it's moderately well-represented on disc (well, for a Rameau opera).



Blu-ray

Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset (2008)
[1 Blu-ray. Zoroastre: 2 hrs 42 mins. Bonus documentary "Zoroastre: Discovering an opera": 1 hr]

Excerpt:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/7p3z7q10DAU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/7p3z7q10DAU</a>






Full Opera

Les Arts Florissants / William Christie (2002)
[3 CD, 2:42:29]

Excerpts:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/rRS9ybt5bnM&amp;list=PLeeZuKb4cBCD-RliJH_7q8j_ck4A19T-R" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/rRS9ybt5bnM&amp;list=PLeeZuKb4cBCD-RliJH_7q8j_ck4A19T-R</a>



La Petite Bande - Sigiswald Kuijken (1983)
[3 CD, 3:04:12]

Excerpts:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/oeqCgi2INrA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/oeqCgi2INrA</a>






Excerpts

Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall (2011)
[2 CD, 41 tracks, 1:47:53]
[Zoroastre: 9 tracks, 21:57]

Excerpts:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/lbJ59QwLALY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/lbJ59QwLALY</a>



Ausonia / Frédérick Haas (2009)
[1 CD, 26 tracks, 1:07:47]
[Zoroastre: 12 tracks, 30:17]




Orchestra of the 18th Century / Frans Brüggen (2001)
[1 CD, 29 tracks, 1:04:10]
[Zoroastre: 17 tracks, 34:10]

Excerpts:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/xQ1yqJQ-Ylw" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/xQ1yqJQ-Ylw</a>



Hamburg Chamber Orchestra / Richard Kapp (1971)
[1 CD, 26 tracks, 57:29]
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 03:35:05 PM by Peter Power Pop »

Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Zoroastre by Rameau
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 12:39:26 AM »
In addition to going overboard with my previous post about all the currently available versions of Zoroastre, I've uploaded a few (is six a few?) versions of one of my favourite excerpts.

Ostensibly, I've posted them to give you a little taste of how each version of the same piece of music sounds. But primarily it's because it's a piece of music I adore and want to pester you with as much as possible.

Each excerpt isn't long (two minutes at most), so they won't waste too much of your time.

I've put them in chronological order:


Zoroastre, Acte II, Scène 7 - Menuets I & II
Hamburg Chamber Orchestra / Richard Kapp (1971)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/8TJrAOX4H6A" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/8TJrAOX4H6A</a>



Zoroastre, Acte II, Scène 7 - Menuets I & II
La Petite Bande - Sigiswald Kuijken (1983)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/CCYfnV73YjM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/CCYfnV73YjM</a>



Zoroastre, Acte II, Scène 7 - Menuets I & II
Orchestra of the 18th Century / Frans Brüggen (2001)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/StYC1schk-U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/StYC1schk-U</a>



Zoroastre, Acte II, Scène 7 - Menuets I & II
Les Arts Florissants / William Christie (2002)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/w2UrDcTugmo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/w2UrDcTugmo</a>



Zoroastre, Acte II, Scène 7 - Menuets I & II
Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset (2008)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/fpFGlwlApbU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/fpFGlwlApbU</a>



Zoroastre, Acte II, Scène 7 - Menuets I & II
Ausonia / Frédérick Haas (2009)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/VsxoYVqR4IM" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/VsxoYVqR4IM</a>
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 03:32:48 PM by Peter Power Pop »