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Twenty-four years ago, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants premièred Jean-Baptiste Lully's opera Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris. It was a smashing success, and marked a pivotal moment in the history of period performance practice. Christie became a tireless champion of the music of Lully and helped rehabilitate the composer's once stodgy reputation. In Armide, the "tragédie en musique" (a genre that Lully and his librettist Quinault jointly invented) reaches its peak of emotional and musical expression. Robert Carsen's highly acclaimed 2008 production of Armide at the Théâtre des
Champs-Elysées rekindled interest in French Baroque music. On this new video from FRA Musica, filmed at the Château de Versailles, Carsen and stage director Jean-Claude Gallotta present an opulent and powerful vision of Lully's poignant masterpiece.
The story of the sorceress, Armide, is an adaptation of an epic poem by Tasso: this woman traps her male victims by using the wiles of her sex, causing them to fall in love with her without returning their love, everything changes. She is overwhelmed with love which consumes her and proves her undoing. The hero, Renaud is subjugated by her erotic, corrupting, emasculating charm. Lully is also captivated by the charm of his enamoured sorceress. It is the character least expected to inspire our empathy that ultimately wins it by the beauty, emotion and expressive power of the music.
Works on This Recording
Armide, LWV 71 by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Marc Mauillon (Baritone),
Nathan Berg (Baritone),
Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano),
Paul Agnew (Tenor),
Claire Debono (Soprano),
Laurent Naouri (Baritone),
Andrew Tortise (Tenor),
Marc Callaghan (),
Anders J. Dahlin (Tenor),
Stéphanie D'Oustrac (Soprano)
Les Arts Florissants
Written: 1686; France
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Dancing the weak spot January 2, 2014
By Lois L. (Cambridge , MA) See All My Reviews
"The singing and playing were very fine; the staging and costumes were clever and effective. For me, the weak part was the dancing. Some was elegant, some was engaging, but also some depended on simple arm movements, repeated...repeated...and repeated. I wished the choreographer had done more to enrich the effect of the repetitions in the score."