Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jean Baptiste Lully - Armide - Herreweghe, Collegium Vocale, La Chapelle Royale







Lully's Armide is considered the highpoint of his collaboration with the librettist Quinault, and indeed all of France's Tragedie Lyrique. This recording really brings out Lully's genius. The structure is much different from Italian opera seria, for those of you who have gotten used to the endless alternation of recititative and aria--much more focus is put on the recitative aspect. When the arias do come, however, they pack an incredible dramatic wallop, beautifully illustrated in the end of act II with Armide's aria "Venez secondez me desires" subsequent to her famous monologue "Enfin, il ist en ma puissance." Herreweghe leads his ensemble in a virtually flawless and scintilating performance. The grand passacaile in act V is simply breathtaking. Guillame Laurens is incredibly powerful as the title role. This is a fascinating recording of Lully's masterpiece and nobody interested in French baroque should be without it. However, if you want to explore the Armida legend in various musical settings, listening to this set together with Gluck's opera of the same name may be particularly interesting. There are of course numerous musical "Armidas", but these two - by Lully and Gluck - share the same libretto by Philippe Quinault. Here we have a rare occasion to hear the same text put to music by the composers representing two different operatic styles. Comparing these two works may be particularly fascinating for those who try to understand Gluck's 'reforms'. "Armida" is one of the reform operas and juxtaposing it with the 90 years older, 'traditional' setting by Lully is really illuminating.


ape, cover

1 comment:

  1. Many Thanks Master Otto for your wonderful share. Take Care!


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