Notes and Editorial Reviews
In a stunning world premiere recording, music director and conductor Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, and an international cast of French Baroque opera stars present Jean-Philippe Rameau’s original 1745 version of Le Temple de la Gloire (The Temple of Glory), with libretto by Voltaire. Presented as a fully staged opera in April 2017, the three sold out performances enjoyed universal critical acclaim. The original manuscript had not been performed since 1745 and is housed at U.C. Berkeley’s Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library. Originally written to honor King Louis XV and commemorate the Battle of Fontenoy, the version of this ballet heroique that has been heard up until now is the second version which was
substantially changed by Rameau to appease the King and Parisian tastes. Voltaire’s original libretto, used in these performances and recording, is a philosophical reform of opera: an allegory set around the idea of the temple of glory with moral and political overtones- making this original version not only more powerful but uniquely relevant, even today.
There is some fine singing here. Marc Labonnette and Philippe-Nicolas Martin have been well schooled in the art of the French baritone, whilst Artavazd Sargsyan has that nasal tenor sound typical of French singers in his portrayal of Bacchus in Act II. He is especially good in his aria Érigone, objet plein de charmes, where his vocal range gets quite high. However, it is the four female singers who shine in this production. Chantal Santon-Jeffery’s portrayal of Lydie in Act I and La Gloire in Act III is particularly fine. I also like Camille Ortiz, who like most of the singers appears in more than one guise. She is particularly good when she sings the role of Érigone opposite Artavazd Sargsyan’s Baccus. Their shared recitative is a highlight of Act II. The Philharmonia Baroque Chorale are in fine voice. The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra are sparkling and add a lot to the production, especially in the dance numbers, all under Nicholas McGegan’s excellent direction.
– MusicWeb International
The text, by none other than Voltaire, is not without humor. Reconstructing the opera (this live production of the original 1745 version was partly inspired by the discovery of a detailed libretto) is a tall order, and this performance is welcome for that reason alone.
The performances convey the scope and color of Rameau’s score. The sound may be somewhat fair at best, but the performance and recording give a good idea of what this unique work was like, and you can hardly ask for more here. Illustrations in the substantial booklet convey more of the flavor of the original 2017 production.
– All Music Guide (James Manheim) Read less
Works on This Recording
Le temple de la gloire by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Aaron Sheehan (Countertenor),
Artavazd Sargsyan (Tenor),
Philippe-Nicolas Martin (Tenor),
Gabrielle Philiponet (Soprano),
Marc Labonnette (Tenor),
Camille Ortiz (Soprano),
Tonia D'amelio (Soprano)
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
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