Emmanuelle Haïm / Le Concert d'Astrée

Une Fête Baroque!

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This "fête Baroque" occurred in December 2011 at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, marking the tenth anniversary of the ensemble Le Concert d'Astrée under founder and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. The concert was a benefit for a French cancer research facility, and it attracted a galaxy of guest stars. Le Concert d'Astrée is one of the very best Baroque vocal ensembles, and this release never descends to a low common denominator. Haïm's trademark expressive phrasing is everywhere in evidence, but the biggest attraction is the selection of singers, with several figures from the mainstream showing up alongside established Baroque specialists. You might not think that tenor Rolando Villazón has quite the right voice for an aria from Handel's Tamerlano, HWV 18, but he's clearly wrestling with the problem, and he gets an appreciative roar from the Parisian crowd (who are given full voice on the recording). Right after that comes a delicious duet from mainstreamer Anne Sofie von Otter and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in the Cornelia-Sesto duet from the second act of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17, a pure feast of sensuous singing. Established Baroque vocalists like Natalie Dessay and Sara Mingardo are on hand, as well as a few up-and-comers who seized the chance to put their names and voices in front of a well-heeled crowd. Rather than try to cover the entire range of Baroque opera, Haïm wisely chooses to focus on three composers: Rameau, Lully, and Handel, whose vocal riches occupy the entire second CD. The sound picks up unadulterated audience noise, but nothing interferes with the spontaneity the musicians bring to the event.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Les Indes galantes, Opéra-ballet
1 5:22
Hippolyte et Aricie, Tragédie lyrique
2 4:31
Dardanus, Tragédie lyrique
3 1:20
4 1:42
5 1:24
Hippolyte et Aricie, Tragédie lyrique
6 6:09
7 3:23
Dardanus, Tragédie lyrique
8 4:18
Platée, Ballet-bouffon
9 5:49
Hippolyte et Aricie, Tragédie lyrique
10 1:15
Castor et Pollux, Tragédie lyrique
11 4:50
12 6:00
Les Indes galantes, Opéra-ballet
13 3:28
Dardanus, Tragédie lyrique
14 5:16
15 3:45
Thésée, LWV 51, Tragédie lyrique
16 1:26
17 2:49
King Arthur or The British Worthy, Z 628, Semi-Opera
18 3:23
Come, ye Sons of Art, Z 323, Birthday Ode for Queen Mary
19 4:50
Rinaldo, HWV 7a, Opera in three acts
20 4:22

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Rinaldo, HWV 7a, Opera in three acts
1 5:27
Agrippina, HWV 6, Opera in three acts
2 4:10
Dixit Dominus, HWV 232, Psalm
3 4:23
Orlando, HWV 31, Opera in three acts
4 4:14
Il Delirio Amoroso, HWV 99, Cantata
5 6:35
La Resurrezione, HWV 47, Oratorio
6 3:45
Tamerlano, HWV 18, Opera in three acts
7 3:36
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17, Opera in three acts
8 8:18
Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno, HWV 46a, Oratorio
9 4:08
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17, Opera in three acts
10 7:41
Rinaldo, HWV 7a, Operain three acts
11 3:46
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, HWV 72, Cantata a tre
12 3:13
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17, Opera in three acts
13 9:51
Theodora, HWV 68, Oratorio
14 4:20
Messiah, HWV 68, Oratorio
15 5:02
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