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Gerard Lesne, Il Seminario musicale - Vivaldi: Salve Regina, Violin concerto RV 581; Galuppi: Motets (2004)

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Gerard Lesne,  Il Seminario musicale - Vivaldi: Salve Regina, Violin concerto RV 581; Galuppi: Motets (2004)

Gérard Lesne, Il Seminario musicale - Vivaldi: Salve Regina, Violin concerto RV 581; Galuppi: Motets (2004)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 507 Mb | Total time: 66:34+56:29 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin | # 5 62413 2 | Recorded: 1991-92

Gérard Lesne founded the Il Seminario musicale Ensemble in 1985. Since 1990, the Ensemble has been in residence at the Royaumont Foundation, where it attracts vocalists and instrumentalists who share Lesne's enthusiam for the 17th and 18th century Italian repertoire. The musicians perform on old instruments and strive to reproduce as faithfully as possible the lilt and narrative line characteristic of the baroque style as expressed in works by composers such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Pergolesi, and the others. The size of the ensemble is variable depending on the repertoire. Based on a rich and varied continuo section (theorbo, cello, basson, double bass, organ and harpsichord) supporting one or more soloists, it can be expanded with the addition of a string quartet to make a small chamber orchestra suitable for performing chamber operas.

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Niccolo Jommelli: Armida abbandonata (2005)

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Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Niccolo Jommelli: Armida abbandonata (2005)

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Niccolò Jommelli: Armida abbandonata (2005)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 928 Mb | Total time: 61:04+66:40+44:10 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Naïve | # AMB 9983 | Recorded: 1994

Armida abbandonata is one of Niccolo Jommelli's finest operas. It was the first he composed after returning to Naples from his triumphant years in Stuttgart (1754-1769), receiving its first performance at the Teatro San Carlo on May 30, 1770. Among those who attended was the 14-year old Mozart, whose report that Armida was "beautiful, but too serious and old-fashioned for the theater," has been frequently quoted and almost as frequently misunderstood. "The theater" almost certainly refers specifically to the San Carlo, which did indeed find Armida "too serious," in the sense of its harmonic and orchestral complexity, ironically a criticism Mozart himself would later encounter in Vienna.

Christina Pluhar, L'Arpeggiata - Luigi Rossi: La Lyra d'Orfeo (2019)

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Christina Pluhar, L'Arpeggiata - Luigi Rossi: La Lyra d'Orfeo (2019)

Christina Pluhar, L'Arpeggiata - Luigi Rossi: La Lyra d'Orfeo (2019)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 726 Mb | Total time: 159:26 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Erato | # 9029537230 | Recorded: 2005, 2019

The latest album from Christina Pluhar and her instrumental ensemble L’Arpeggiata sheds new light on the chamber cantatas of 17th century Italian composer, Luigi Rossi. He wrote more than 300 of these works and Christina Pluhar’s new double album includes an impressive number of 21 world premiere recordings, which are the fruit of Christina Pluhar’s research among music manuscripts held in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Vatican Library.

Ulf Schirmer, Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Benjamin Godard: Dante (2017)

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Ulf Schirmer, Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Benjamin Godard: Dante (2017)

Ulf Schirmer, Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Benjamin Godard: Dante (2017)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 618 Mb | Total time: 65:52+75:20 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Bru Zane | ES10298RSK | Recorded: 2016

Dante Alighieri, born in Florence in 1265, was at once a poet and an important political figure of his time. His celebrated Divine Comedy relates his supposed descent to Hell and slow ascent to Paradise. Godard’s operatic treatment of his life (1890) skilfully juxtaposes the political milieu – crowd scenes in Florence and the quarrel between Guelfs and Ghibellines – with the expression of the courtly love he feels for Beatrice, betrothed to his friend Bardi.

Véronique Gens, Hervé Niquet, Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Visions (2017)

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Véronique Gens, Hervé Niquet, Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Visions (2017)

Véronique Gens, Hervé Niquet, Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Visions (2017)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 222 Mb | Total time: 55:43 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Alpha Classics | # ALPHA 279 | Recorded: 2017

After an album of French songs (Néère, Alpha 215) that earned her a Gramophone Award in 2016, Véronique Gens presents her new recital, this time with orchestra, which gives her an opportunity to display the maturity of her ‘Falcon’ soprano, the central tessitura typical of French Romantic opera, which takes its name from Cornélie Falcon, who created the works of Meyerbeer and Halévy staged in the 1830s.

Markus Poschner, Orchestre National de France - Offenbach: Maître Péronilla (2020)

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Markus Poschner, Orchestre National de France - Offenbach: Maître Péronilla (2020)

Markus Poschner, Orchestre National de France - Offenbach: Maître Péronilla (2020)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 518 Mb | Total time: 44:06+56:34 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Bru Zane ‎| BZ1039 | Recorded: 2019

There is more Spain in Offenbach’s brain than in Spain itself’, said a journalist entranced by Maître Péronilla. Understandably so, given the charm and humour of this operetta in which no fewer than twenty-two characters are kept busy unravelling a preposterously complicated love story. And the libretto is all the better for having been penned by the composer himself.

Christophe Rousset, Herve Niquet, Jordi Savall, Fabio Biondi - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, un automne musical à Versailles (2005)

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Christophe Rousset, Herve Niquet, Jordi Savall, Fabio Biondi - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, un automne musical à Versailles (2005)

Christophe Rousset, Herve Niquet, Jordi Savall, Fabio Biondi, Gérard Lesne, Christina Pluhar - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, un automne musical à Versailles (2005)
PAL 16:9 (720x576) | Français | (Dolby AC3, 2 ch) | 150 min | 7,74 Gb (DVD9)
Classical | Label: Armide | Sub: English, Français, Deutsch | Recorded: 2003

Studio Armide represents magnificent documentary film Olivier Simonnet «Marc-Antoine Charpentier, un automne musical à Versailles». Marc-Antoine Charpentier never had an official function at the court of Louis XIV. In 2004 Versailles finally opened its doors to him for the tercentennial commemorations of his death. The finest performers of baroque music, from Jordi Savall to Christophe Rousset, played the most important works of the time in the Royal Chapel opera house, as well as in the chateau salons and galleries: from instrumental music (Lully’s Alceste) to vocal music (Actéon), from lyric tragedy (Médée) to sacred music (Missa assumpta est Maria). The life of this collaborator of Molière’s and cultural life under Louis XIV are enriched by the participation of conductors and musicians.

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Jean Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville: Les Fêtes de Paphos (1997)

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Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Jean Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville: Les Fêtes de Paphos (1997)

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Jean Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville: Les Fêtes de Paphos (1997)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 877 Mb | Total time: 59:20+52:12+55:33 | Scans included
Classical | Label: l’Oiseau-Lyre | 455 064-2 | Recorded: 1996

Les fêtes de Paphos (The Festivals of Paphos) is an opéra-ballet in three acts (or entrées) by the French composer Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville. The work was described as a ballet héroïque on the title page of the printed score. Each act had a different librettist. Les fêtes de Paphos was first performed at the Académie royale de musique, Paris on 9 May 1758 and was a popular success. Mondonville recycled material from two of his previous operas for the first two acts, namely Erigone (1747) and Vénus et Adonis (1752), both originally composed for Madame de Pompadour's Théâtre des Petits Cabinets. The title of the work is explained in the preface to the printed score. Paphos was a city in Cyprus sacred to Venus, the goddess of love. "Reunited on the island of Paphos, Venus, Bacchus and Cupid decide to enliven their leisure in such a pleasant location by celebrating their first loves, and this gives rise to the following three acts and the title Les fêtes de Paphos."

Hervé Niquet, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Flemish Radio Choir - Félicien David: Herculanum (2015)

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Hervé Niquet, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Flemish Radio Choir - Félicien David: Herculanum (2015)

Hervé Niquet, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Flemish Radio Choir - Félicien David: Herculanum (2015)
XLD | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.31 Gb | Total time: 72:58+49:06 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Ediciones Singulares ‎| # ES 1020 | Recorded: 2014

Félicien David was already famous through his 'ode-symphonie' Le Désert (1844) when his opera Herculanum was first staged at the Paris Opéra in 1859. This ambitious work, later to gain him entrance to the Opéra-Comique and the Institut de France, also played a part in earning him the Légion d'Honneur. Leaving behind the Middle Eastern inflections of his earlier scores, Herculanum is a remarkably strong composition (vast, intensely dramatic scenes), impressive in the diversity of its style (including Verdian influences) and its vocal variety (including the rare coloratura contralto voice often used by Rossini).

Gérard Lesne, Véronique Gens, Il Seminario Musicale - Alessandro Scarlatti: Motets (1994)

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Gérard Lesne, Véronique Gens, Il Seminario Musicale - Alessandro Scarlatti: Motets (1994)

Gérard Lesne, Véronique Gens, Il Seminario Musicale - Alessandro Scarlatti: Motets (1994)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 329 Mb | Total time: 69:19 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin Veritas | # 5 45103 2 | Recorded: 1993

Depuis plus d'une décennie, Gérard Lesne poursuit un splendide travail de redécouverte du répertoire baroque sacré, qu'il chante avec sa voix merveilleuse de haute- contre, accompagné de son ensemble Il Seminario Musicale. Ce disque est l'occasion de les retrouver dans de très beaux Motets de Scarlatti - Alessandro Scarlatti, le père de Domenico, l'auteur des fameuses 555 sonates pour clavier. Tout est subtilité, douceur et expression, comme toujours avec Gérard Lesne.

Christophe Rousset, Il Seminario Musicale - Niccolo Jommelli: Lamentazioni per il Mercoledi Santo (1996)

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Christophe Rousset, Il Seminario Musicale - Niccolo Jommelli: Lamentazioni per il Mercoledi Santo (1996)

Christophe Rousset, Il Seminario Musicale - Niccolò Jommelli: Lamentazioni per il Mercoledi Santo (1996)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 337 Mb | Total time: 73:58 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin Veritas | # 5 45202 2 | Recorded: 1995

Jomelli, regarded by many of his contemporaries as the greatest opera composer of the century, sets the lamentations in a dramatic and religio-operatic style as a duet between two high voices. Gérard Lesne receives higher billing than Véronique Gens on the cover of the CD, but they both sing exquisitely well – too well, perhaps, for the music to be regarded in the light of a meditation on the Passion, but that’s the way that Jommelli writes it.

Véronique Gens, Alexandre Bloch, Orchestre National de Lille - Chausson: Poème de l'amour et de la mer & Symphonie Op.20 (2019)

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Véronique Gens, Alexandre Bloch, Orchestre National de Lille - Chausson: Poème de l'amour et de la mer & Symphonie Op.20 (2019)

Véronique Gens, Alexandre Bloch, Orchestre National de Lille - Chausson: Poème de l'amour et de la mer & Symphonie Op. 20 (2019)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 285 Mb | Total time: 60:07 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Alpha | # ALPHA441 | Recorded: 2018

Ernest Chausson is a most unusual figure in French music, positioned at the crossroads where the romanticism of Berlioz and Franck meet the language of Wagner and the symbolism of the young Debussy. His Poème de l amour et de la mer is a unique score for the period and certainly his greatest work; simultaneously a profane, naturistic cantata, a monologue, and a song cycle, it was composed between 1882 and 1892.

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Purcell: The Fairy Queen (1989)

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William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Purcell: The Fairy Queen (1989)

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Purcell: The Fairy Queen (1989)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 785 Mb | Total time: 64:48+63:54 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Harmonia Mundi | # HMC 901308.09 | Recorded: 1989

On the strength of the immense success of Dido & Aeneas and King Arthur, in 1692 Purcell went on to produce The Fairy Queen, based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer-Night’s Dream. The work is, in fact, a ‘semi-opera’, or ‘opera with dialogue’, in which only some of the crucial scenes are provided with music. But this version of A Midsummer-Night’s Dream by the ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ became almost as famous as the play that inspired it, with its love scenes, its supernatural scenes and its innate sense of musical humour investing it with an irresistible savour and enchantment.This title was released for the first time in 1989.

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Dauvergne: Hercule mourant (2012)

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Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Dauvergne: Hercule mourant (2012)

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Dauvergne: Hercule mourant (2012)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 727 Mb | Total time: 59:09+79:19 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Aparte | # AP042 | Recorded: 2011

Following on the international success of their recording of Lully's Bellerophon, Christophe Rousset and his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques present Hercule mourant (Hercules Dying) - an undiscovered operatic treasure by Antoine Dauvergne. When Francoeur and Rebel took over as directors of the Academie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opéra) in 1757, they decided to promote some of the new generation of composers. Among them was Dauvergne, who appears to have enjoyed great favor at that time. Premiered in 1762, Hercule mourant was a success, receiving eighteen performances. The opera's libretto by Jean-Francois Marmontel extended the scope of French opera: he was the first to have the courage to bring opera closer to the great spectacles of ancient Greece. Inspired and guided by Marmontel's libretto, he clearly aimed to take the genre in a completely new direction, anticipating the Romantic model for opera that was born with Gluck, while at the same time giving one of the last tributes to the great French tragedie lyrique tradition inherited from Lully.

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Gounod: Faust (2019)

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Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Gounod: Faust (2019)

Christophe Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Gounod: Faust (2019)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 836 Mb | Total time: 55:59+49:57+68:32 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Bru Zane | # BZ1037 | Recorded: 2018

The masterpiece of French opera – Gounod’s ‘Faust‘ – still has surprises in store for us. Originally conceived in the spirit of opéra-comique, the 1859 score alternated between spoken dialogue and music, intermingling witty comedy and Romantic pathos. It is that ‘first Faust’ that the Palazzetto Bru Zane reveals in this recording, and particularly the many numbers that were subsequently deleted or altered.