Following her superb recording of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Susan Graham and Ian Bostridge, conductor Emmanuelle Haïm turns to history's first opera, Monteverdi's Orfeo, leading an equally starry cast. Bostridge takes on the title role here, and his combination of lyrical intensity and erudite nobility are right on the mark, though there's also an unexpected element of sensuality in his singing that seems entirely appropriate to such richly expressive music. Many of the other singers, like Veronique Gens (Properina) and Paul Agnew (Eco), also have extensive early-music experience. Others, like Natalie Dessay (La Musica) -- an inspired, luxurious piece of casting -- and Christopher Maltman (Apollo), are associated with 19th- and 20th-century repertory. Still, this cast really gels, not just in terms of tonal blend and precision of ensemble but also in the way the drama moves with such naturalness and inevitability. Credit for this goes, of course, to the conductor. Purists may cluck their tongues at some of her fanciful orchestral touches, like the snappy percussion parts added to the Act One chorus "Lasciate i monti," for example. But how vividly this story is told. One gets the sense that these are living, breathing characters, not stiff, cardboard figures striking poses. There are other fine recordings of this opera available, including critically acclaimed versions by John Eliot Gardiner and Réné Jacobs, but Haïm's new account goes straight to the head of the list.
- Release Date:
- Emi Classics
- La favola d'Orfeo, opera, SV 318 - Claudio Monteverdi - Emmanuelle Haïm - European Voices - Les Sacqueboutiers - Concert d'Astrée - Paul Agnew - Malcolm Bennett - Pascal Bertin - Ian Bostridge - Richard Burkhard - Patrizia Ciofi - Alice Coote - Natalie Dessay - Véronique Gens - Mario Luperi - Robert MacDonald - Christopher Maltman - Norbert Meyn - Sonia Prina - Lorenzo Regazzo - Carolyn Sampson - Paul Thompson - Alessandro Striggio - Alexandre Seon - Nigel Swift - Alain Lanceron
Performance CreditsEmmanuelle Haïm Conductor
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