Lyriques/Conducted by Christophe Rousset. Naïve/Naxos E 8894 (1 CD
I have an annoying habit. I collar my friends, sit them in front of my
system, and while ranting “you’ve got to hear this,” I regal them with
selected tracks of a new CD. With this CD, I couldn’t do it. I had to
play the whole thing. Cecilia, move over. In Sandrine Piau you have a
I had a hard time getting through it the first time. I kept playing
tracks over and over. Like the achingly beautiful Verdi piante from
Orlando, the spirited Brilla nell’alma from Alessandro, or the
schizophrenic Ah! Spietato! from Amadigi.
Film critics often speak of “genius in casting,” referring to actors
like Gene Hackman in The Conversation and Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull.
Here we have genius in coupling. Piau and Rousset’s Les Talens Lyriques
function as an organic whole and together produce not one sour or even
a slightly overstated one. She could not have executed her oboe and
violin dialogues with more finesse and variety. Her phrasing is
flawless–consistently warm and intriguing like a lover’s caress. It
made me want to see her in entire roles, preferably on 5.1 DVD. I heard
she did a fabulous Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and even tackles twentieth
century roles with aplomb. If she can sing Handelian melismatic trills
with such apparent ease, she can sing anything.
If you love baroque opera, buy this CD. If you don’t know it that well,
buy it anyway. It will convert you. And if Sandrine Piau ever visits
your city, shell out good money to see her, without hesitation.
— Peter Bates