Jennifer Smith, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner - Rameau - Les Boreades (1990)
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Jennifer Smith, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner - Rameau - Les Boreades (1990)

Artist: Jennifer Smith, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner
Title: Rameau - Les Boreades
Year Of Release: 1990
Label: Erato disques
Genre: Classical, Opera
Quality: FLAC (image+.cue)
Total Time: 02:42:17
Total Size: 847 Mb
WebSite:

Tracklist:

CD 1:

01: Ouverture
02: Acte 1; Scène 1 - “Suivez la chasse, allez” (Alphise, Sémire)
03: Acte 1; Scènes II, III, IV (début) - “La chasse à mes regards, noffre plus rien daimable” (Alphise, Sémire, Borilée)
04: Acte 1; Scène IV - Danse “Si lhymen a des chaînes” (Sémire)
05: Acte 1; Scène IV - “Cest dans cet aimable séjour” (Calisis)
06: Acte 1; Scène IV - Rondeau vif “La troupe volage” (Sémire, chœur), Gavottes
07: Acte 1; Scène IV - “Un horizon serein” (Alphise, Sémire)
08: Contredanse en rondeau
09: Acte 2; Scène I - “Charmes trop dangereux” (Abaris)
10: Acte 2; Scène II - “Japerçois ce mortel” (Adamas, Abaris)
11: Acte 2; Scène III, IV - “Avec éclat paraissez à mes yeux” (Adamas, Abaris, prêtres/Alphise)
12: Acte 2; Scène V - “Borée, à la clarté dont brillaient mille éclairs” (Alphise, Abaris)
13: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Chantez le dieu qui nous éclaire” (Abaris, Alphise, Calisis, Borilée, Suite dAlphise, Prêtres)
14: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Nos peuples, dieu du jour, toffrent de nouveaux jeux” (Borilée)
15: Acte 2; Scène VI - Gavottes; “Cest la liberté” (Borilée), Air un peu plus gai
16: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Comme un Zéphir qui vole et jamais ne sengage” (La Nymphe)
CD 2:
01: Acte 2; Scène VI - Air andante et gracieux
02: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Ecoutez lamour qui vous presse” (Calisis, Chœur)
03: Acte 2; Scène VI - Air andante
04: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Cest de dieux quon doit apprendre” (Borilée, chœur)
05: Acte 2; Scène VI - Loure
06: Acte 2; Scène VI - Gavotte vive, Gavotte
07: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Ciel, quels accords harmonieux” (Chœur)
08: Acte 2; Scène VI - “Espère tout de ce trait enchante” (L’Amour, Alphise, Calisis, Borilée, chœur)
09: Acte 3; Scène I, II - “Songe affreux, image cruelle” (Alphise, Abaris)
10: Acte 3; Scène III - “Triomphe hymen, lamour tappelle” (Calisis, Borilée, Alphise, Abaris, les Peuples)
11: Acte 3; Scène III - “Dans ces beaux lieux” (Borilée)
12: Acte 3; Scène III - Air un peu gai, “Eh! Pourquoi se défendre?” (Calisis)
13: Acte 3; Scène III - Menuets
14: Acte 3; Scène III - “Jouissons de nos beaux ans” (Calisis, chœur)
15: Acte 3; Scène III - Gavottes
16: Acte 3; Scène III - “Aimez, aimez à votre tour” (Borilée); Scène IV - “Ecoutez de ce dieu la volonté suprême” (Adamas, et les précédents)
17: Acte 3; Scène IV - “Regnez, belle Alphise” (Chœur, Calisis, Borilée)
18: Acte 3; Scène IV - “Borée en fureur” (Alphise, Abaris)
19: Entracte - Suite des Vents
20: Acte 4; Scène I, II - “Nuit redoutable!” (Borilée, Abaris, chœur)
CD 3:
01: Acte 4; Scène III - “Nous nimplorons que vous” (Adamas, Abaris)
02: Acte 4; Scène IV - Entrée
03: Acte 4; Scène IV - “Commandez aux tendres Zéphirs” (Polymnie, les Saisons)
04: Acte 4; Scène IV - Gavottes pour les Heures et les Zéphirs, Rigaudons
05: Acte 4; Scène IV - “Parcourez la terre” (Chœur)
06: Acte 4; Scène IV - Air très gais
07: Acte 4; Scène IV - “Mon pouvoir doit servir au bonheur des humains” (Abaris)
08: Acte 4; Scène IV - Air pour les Saisons et les Zéphirs
09: Acte 4; Scène IV - “Je cours fléchir un dieu sévère” (Abaris)
10: Acte 4; Scène IV - “Volez, que lamour vous seconde!” (Chœur)
11: Acte 5; Scène I - “Obéissez, quittez vos cavernes obscures” (Borée, chœur)
12: Acte 5; Scène II - “Ne suivez plus mes pas, vous irritez ma peine” (Abaris, Borée, Alphise, Calisis, Borilée)
13: Acte 5; Scène III - “Venez punir son injustice” (Borée, Alphise, chœur)
14: Acte 5; Scène IV - “Que vois-je?” (Abaris, et les précédents)
15: Acte 5; Scène IV - “Trop superbes rivaux” (Borée, Abaris, Calisis, Borilée)
16: Acte 5; Scène IV - “Quel éclat!” (Borée avec le chœur)
17: Acte 5; Scène V - “Je rends pour ce héros ma tendresse éclatante” (Apollon, Borée, Abaris, Alphise)
18: Acte 5; Scène V - “Délices des mortels” (Apollon), Airs
19: Acte 5; Scène V - “Que ces moments sont doux” (Alphise, Abaris)
20: Acte 5; Scène V - Air andante, Pas de deux, Menuets
21: Acte 5; Scène V - “Que lamour embellit la vie” (Abaris)
22: Acte 5; Contredanses très vives

Performers:

Jennifer Smith (soprano, Alphise)
Anne-Marie Rodde (soprano, Sémire)
Edwige Bourdy (soprano, Polymnie)
Martine March (soprano, Une Nymphe)
Philip Langridge (tenor, Abaris)
John Aler (tenor, Calisis)
Jean-Philippe Lafont (bass, Borée)
Gilles Cachemaille (tenor, Borilée)
Francois LeRoux (tenor, Adamas)
Stephen Varcoe (bass, Apollo)
Elizabeth Priday (soprano, L'Amour)
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
directed by John Eliot Gardiner
That this recording exists at all, is due to the persistence of John Eliot Gardiner, who worked out a performing version from the surviving manuscript as early as 1975. The original opera, written by Rameau when he was in his eighties and never performed in his lifetime (the composer died during rehearsals and the planned performance was abandoned), had been forgotten for over 200 years, and all attempts at actually getting it on stage appear to have been dogged by bad luck. Even this recording, which needed eight years between the recording sessions at Aix-en-Provence and its release in 1990, is not without its problems. The biggest seems to be the fact that the French publishing house which owns the copyright to the libretto refused to allow it to be translated - and demanded an extortionate fee on each box sold if the French libretto was printed in the booklet. In the end, Erato decided to do without, and have instead printed a summary of the plot (which is not keyed to the track numbers but can, with a little effort, be fairly easily followed). Another problem appears to have been the recording venue, which leads to a certain amount of echo. The balance between the singers and the orchestra is not always ideal, and there are differences in sound between different parts of the opera. However, all told the engineering is acceptable - certainly better than what you would get on a budget label, I imagine.
Like practically all Rameau's stage works, the storyline here is based on Greek mythology. The "Boréades" of the title are two male descendants of the god of the north wind (Boreas) who lay claim to the hand of the Queen of Bactria, Alphise, and to the kingship. Alphise, however, is in love with Abaris, a mysterious stranger who has been brought up in the temple of Apollo. When Alphise comes out into the open and declares her love for Abaris, the two sons of Boreas call on him to wreak revenge. There is a freak storm, and Alphise is carried away into Boreas's kingdom (which some think may have been Britain, although that is highly unlikely). Abaris follows her and manages to silence Boreas and his two sons by using a magic arrow given to Alphise by the god of Love. If all this sounds rather stupid and superficial, it is just that - the plot seems to be there only as a rather flimsy excuse for lots of dancing, divertissements, appearances of gods, wonderful stage-effects (clouds, winds, etc.) - and some lovely singing, I should add. Jennifer Smith as Alphise is very much at home in this kind of repertoire, and her stylish singing helped me to excuse the occasional hardness of her timbre. The real "stars" of this performance are, however, Philip Langridge (Abaris) and Gilles Cachemaille (Borilée, one of the two pretenders to the throne). Both have plenty of opportunity to shine and do so with delightful voices, rather outshining the other male contributors. Of the smaller female roles, it is Annemarie Rodde as Sémire, a confidante of Alphise, who can create the best impression with her Act 1 air, "Un horizon serein". The Monteverdi Choir is, as usual, exquisite; the playing by the English Baroque Soloists at this period does not quite match up to that on later Rameau recordings by Marc Minkowski's Musiciens du Louvre, but is still wonderful to listen to. There are plenty of very well-known "HIPP" musicians to be heard here, including Lisa Beznosiuk with some great flute playing and Nicholas McGegan on one of the two harpsichords.
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