Label: BRU ZANE
Format: COMPACT DISC
FLEMISH RADIO CHOIR LE CERCLE DE L'HARMONIE RHORER
According to Berlioz, Spontini was – after Gluck – the greatest genius of French music to pave the way for the Romantic era. And it may well be that the little-known Olympie, premiered in 1819 and subsequently revived in 1826 under the modified title Olimpie, had a greater influence than we have hitherto imagined on the massive upheaval that was to set French opera on the path of the modern ‘grand opéra’. From start to finish, this finely polished score, with its astonishing orchestration, is full of spectacular effects that clearly look forward to Les Troyens of Berlioz. The omnipresence of a huge chorus, the valiant vocal writing for Antigonus, the pathos of the role of Statira (conceived for Caroline Branchu, then at the peak of her career): all the ingredients were there to make a powerful impact on listeners such as Berlioz, who was moved to tears. Here, undoubtedly, is one of the first epic canvases of the nineteenth century.