Hervé Niquet / Le Concert Spirituel Orchestra & Chorus

André Campra: Le Carnaval de Venise

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AllMusic Review by

André Campra has the distinction of being the most prominent French opera composer in the decades between Lully and Rameau, but even the operas of those two great masters are so rarely performed or recorded that it's not surprising that Campra's are virtually unknown to modern audiences. That makes this very fine recording with Hervé Niquet leading Choeur et Orchestre du Concert Spirituel and Les Chantres du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles all the more valuable and welcome to fans of the French Baroque. Campra enthusiastically embraced the innovations of Italian opera, particularly the da capo aria, that Lully had scorned. The plot of Le Carneval de Venise (obviously) even takes place in Italy in an opera theater preparing a performance, and it involves an opera within an opera; it concludes with a performance of an operatic divertissement in Italian, Orfeo nell'inferi, in which Campra unabashedly adopts Italian conventions. The French sections are similar in sound and style to Lully's operas-ballets even though Campra doesn't have Lully's genius for simple, memorable melody. Orfeo nell'inferi very skillfully uses the florid manner of late 17th century opera, and the juxtaposition of the two styles, while intriguing to modern ears, must have been absolutely revolutionary to French audiences who were finally exposed to the innovations of Italian opera. The singers, chorus, and orchestra are skilled in both the Italian and French conventions of Middle Baroque performance practice and they offer a compelling account of the piece. The orchestra and the chorus (which is used very prominently in the French sections) play and sing with precision and lively energy. Niquet's tempos are fluid and he maintains a strong sense of momentum throughout. The soloists are never less than adequate and several stand out, particularly sopranos Salomé Haller and Sarah Tynan, tenor Mathias Vidal, baritone Andrew Foster-Williams, and bass Luigi de Donato. Glossa's sound is characteristically immaculate present and beautifully balanced.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Le Carnaval de Venise
1 02:01 Amazon
2 01:06 Amazon
3 01:04 Amazon
4 01:10 Amazon
5 01:02 Amazon
6 01:22 Amazon
7 01:47 Amazon
8 01:21 Amazon
9 01:24 Amazon
10 00:45 Amazon
11 01:01 Amazon
12 01:42 Amazon
13 00:51 Amazon
14 03:28 Amazon
15 00:22 Amazon
16 02:04 Amazon
17 03:39 Amazon
18 02:24 Amazon
19 03:06 Amazon
20 01:31 Amazon
21 02:33 Amazon
22 04:26 Amazon
23 00:40 Amazon
24 01:41 Amazon
25 02:42 Amazon
26 00:49 Amazon
27 02:27 Amazon
28 01:22 Amazon
29 01:03 Amazon
30 01:28 Amazon
31 01:16 Amazon
32 01:07 Amazon
33 00:50 Amazon
34 01:33 Amazon
35 03:45 Amazon
36 02:16 Amazon
37 00:47 Amazon
38 04:11 Amazon
39 00:40 Amazon
40 01:05 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Le Carnaval de Venise
1 01:35 Amazon
2 02:20 Amazon
3 00:47 Amazon
4 02:14 Amazon
5 00:52 Amazon
6 02:01 Amazon
7 02:39 Amazon
8 05:34 Amazon
Orfeo nell'inferi
9 02:27 Amazon
10 02:02 Amazon
11 01:09 Amazon
12 01:34 Amazon
13 03:07 Amazon
14 01:02 Amazon
15 03:06 Amazon
16 02:45 Amazon
17 01:52 Amazon
18 00:39 Amazon
19 00:32 Amazon
20 01:40 Amazon
21 02:58 Amazon
Le Bal, dernier divertissement
22 00:36 Amazon
23 01:41 Amazon
24 00:44 Amazon
25 01:09 Amazon
26 00:47 Amazon
27 03:09 Amazon
28 01:06 Amazon
29 03:33 Amazon
30 00:56 Amazon
31 01:51 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick