A keen advocate of the works of Antonio Salieri, Christophe Rousset continues his exploration of the composer's works, having unearthed the manuscript of another masterpiece. The three-act opera Armida, first performed on June 2, 1771 in Vienna, presents a perfect synthesis of the Italian and French styles. Salieri was just twenty when he turned to the difficult opera seria genre. He chose to tackle a well-known subject: that of the love affair between the Christian Crusader Rinaldo and the Saracen sorceress Armida, borrowed from Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme liberata. A very dense plot focuses on an intense drama involving just four characters. The fluidity, originality and brio of his compositional style were to ensure Salieri's lasting reputation throughout Europe.
Lenneke Ruiten and Florie Valiquette blend perfectly. The latter makes a magnificent Rinaldo. Ruiten's singing is brilliant, touching and unfailingly lovely. The 20-strong Namur Chamber Choir, whether cavorting rustically or threatening demonically, provide excellent support. The richness and beauty of the playing, under the unerring direction of Christophe Rousset, is beyond praise.
– Gramophone (Editor's Choice, May 2021)
[Rousset] has produced a quite outstanding addition, distinguished not only by the superb orchestral playing that unfailingly characterizes the work of Les Talens Lyriques but also a fine cast led by two sopranos that are less familiar names among artists working with Rousset.