Notes and Editorial Reviews
Founded in 1991 by Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques are now internationally recognised for their excellence in the Baroque repertoire and their latest recordings in the genre, for Aparté, have earned them international acclaim. After the huge success of 'Bellérophon', they now present Lully's 'Phaéton', recorded at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in October 2012. The critics commented on the admirable clarity and precision of the performance, the perfection of the choruses, sung with veracity by the Namur Chamber Choir, and an ideal cast.
'Phaéton' was the eighth tragédie lyrique to emerge from the successful collaboration between Jean-Baptiste Lully and his faithful librettist, Philippe Quinault, and it is one of their most remarkable creations. First performed in 1683, it proved so popular that it was referred to as the ‘opéra du peuple’. As Christophe Rousset puts it, "Its airs were whistled at Versailles and on the bridges of Paris."
In keeping with the tastes of the time, the work is laden with allegory. Phaéton describes a young man’s temerity in wishing to drive the chariot of the sun god, his father, and his subsequent downfall. It presents a moral lesson and also served the image of the king: Jupiter brings to an end the chaos that prevails in the world, just as Louis XIV brought peace to Europe, while promising his people a Golden Age.
"There are glorious things in the score, though, all of them presented by Rousset with his customary brilliance... The vocal honours, inevitably perhaps, went to Emiliano Gonzalez Toro in the title role and the great Cyril Auvity as his father, both of them wonderfully at ease with Lully's stratospheric tenor writing. Ingrid Perruche's majestic Clymène, Isabelle Druet's embittered Théone, and Andrew Foster-Williams as Libye's vengeful lover Epaphus were all outstanding." -- Tim Ashley, The Guardian