Véronique Gens began her career with William Christie in Baroque opera, moving into Mozart and then into 19th century French opera and song. Visions finds her absolutely at the top of her powers. The concept indicated by the album title is a little diffuse: the pieces -- arias from opera and oratorio and freestanding orchestral cantatas -- do indeed include a few religious visions, but other pieces deal with love or deep upheaval. The visions, then, are emotions of some transcendent sort, and the program has an inwardness that builds in intensity as it proceeds. One might also classify the album in other ways: much of the music is all but unknown, even in France, and it's not too much to imagine Gens doing for Romantic French opera what Renée Fleming did for Handel some years back. Each of these pieces is strong enough to make you wonder what else is out there, and Gens furthermore defines a whole new sound: she doesn't hang out much at the top of her range, but instead explores a variety of timbres and attacks in the middle. The accompaniment by the Munich Radio Orchestra under Hervé Niquet, a specialist in French Romantic opera, is top-notch. A really thrilling release by one of the top sopranos in the world as of the mid-2010s.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Clovis Et Clotilde|