Rameau: Naïs, Rct 49

Album cover art for upc 8424562240032
Label: Glossa
Catalog: GCD924003
Format: CD

Nunez Camelino, Manuel; Vashegyi, György; Purcell Choir; Komáromi, Márton; Orfeo Orchestra; Dolié, Thomas; Skorka, Daniela; Martin, Philippe-Nicolas; Sempey, Florian; Santon-Jeffery, Chantal; Mechelen, Reinoud Van

György Vashegyi’s love affair with French Baroque repertoire continues with Rameau’s Naïs from 1749 in a Glossa release complete with a characteristically appealing design. Subtitled “Opéra pour la paix,” Naïs features demanding and extended leading roles for soprano Chantal Santon-Jeffery (Naïs) and high tenor Reinoud Van Mechelen (Neptune), ably assisted by Florian Sempey and Thomas Dolié, in an everyday eighteenth-century tale of a lovesick god in disguise, a misinterpreted prophecy and an alternative version of the Olympic Games (the score demands much from the chorus and Vashegyi’s refined Purcell Choir is up to the mark). Rameau was a master orchestrator, no more so than in this pastorale heroïque, stuffed full of ballets figurés, airs, minuets, rigaudons and tambourins, and with his Orfeo Orchestra – led by the peerless Simon Standage – Vashegyi harnesses the music’s graphic and dramatic energy, complete with giants toppling off mountains, tidal waves swamping jilted lovers, underwater palaces, bucolic scenes (which include that characteristic French Baroque instrument, the musette – here played by Patrick Blanc), and even a chaconne for wrestlers.

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