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Descripción del producto
Raphaël Pichon conducts the Ensemble Pygmalion in this production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in April 2015. Michel Fau directs the cast which includes Reinoud van Mechelen in the title role, Karina Gauvin as Vénus and Gaëlle Arquez as Iphis.
'[a] highly recommendable production ... The music is top-notch, and Michel Fau has done a splendid job in putting the drama across ... Karina Gauvin ... looks splendid in pink and red, and dispatches Venus s Quand l aquilon fougueux as though it were by Vivaldi. Katherine Watson, with wings to rival the Archangel Gabriel s, makes a charming Cupid ... Act 1 begins with Gaëlle Arquez as Iphise...delivering an impassioned Cesse, cruel Amour . She finds more vulnerability when lamenting Dardanus s captivity in Ô jour affreux! Her father and her suitor, Teucer and Anténor, are superbly well done by Nahuel di Pierro and Florian Sempey, the latter s pianissimo in the reprise of Monstre affreux touching in the extreme. Reinoud Van Mechelen rises to the challenge of the bassoon-flecked melancholy of Lieux funestes and makes a credible hero ... In praise of the rest of the performers I would just cite the bouncy Paix favorable (adapted from Rameau s harpsichord piece Les Niais de Sologne) and the exquisite phrasing of the following minuet. Raphaël Pichon conducts admirably. I enjoyed this enormously and so, I hope, will you.' --Richard Lawrence Gramophone, October 2016
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Imagen y sonido son espectacularmente buenos en Blu ray, los estándares de la producción son muy altos, con mucho cuidado a los detalles de época (Luis XV) sin modernizaciones (todo en buen gusto, salvo quizá las pelucas de las féminas), la orquesta es fabulosa en su vivacidad, precisión y sensibilidad (lo que atenúa los ‘longeurs’ mencionados) y el director sabe cómo conjugar la alternancia con la continuidad, como pasar de la acción cantada al ballet, de las voces solistas a las corales. Los cantantes son muy profesionales, destacando la Venus de Karina Gauvin y la Iphise de Gaëlle Arquez, ambas un prodigio de estilo e intensidad; los caballeros son menos espectaculares aunque el haute-contre (tenore contraltino, no contratenor) Reinoud Van Mechelen (de timbre algo magro) se distingue evitando que los registros altos suenen femeninos (como en un contratenor) y enfatizando el timbre grave que, con sus connotaciones masculinas, se ajusta más a las rôles que antes se asignaban a los castrati.
Reparto: Reinoud Van Mechelen (Dardanus)/ Gaëlle Arquez (Iphise)/ Karina Gauvin (Venus)/ Florian Sempey (Anténor)/ Nahuel Di Pierro (Teucer, Isménor)/ Katherine Watson (Un Songe/ Amour)/ Etienne Bazola (Berger)/ Virgile Ancely (Un Songe)/ Guillaume Gutiérrez (Un Songe)
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Note: When I came here to post my "review", I noticed Amazon's warning about it being a Region-2 disc. That is incorrect. The DVD is NTSC, which is Region-1. At first, on my Samsung player, the blu-ray disc would not start. Later on, when I tried again, it worked perfectly and I was able to watch the bonus material (which is not on the DVD). I do not understand why it would not start at first; it may be (just a guess) that I had started the player before turning on the TV; I really don't know, but I can assure you both discs work perfectly (and I paid only $12 for the whole thing, perhaps because of Amazon's warning -- another thing I can only guess at).
P.S. If I may give you some advice: When you buy this, treat yourself also to Handel's Agrippina -- the one with the ugly red wigs (ugly, but different shades of red for the two women); I found it very entertaining too.
CD on Archiv or for a truly charming Baroque DVD, try Lully's Persee on EuruArts. You can't go wrong with those.
Dardanus adheres very much to a classic narrative whose primary purpose is not to present any kind of credible or coherent drama, but to present a drama in music. Opening with the obligatory Prologue featuring Vénus and Amour ('Triomphe, tendre amour"), Dardanus is five acts of fairly standard plotting with sentiments of forbidden love and conflict, with the obligatory sea monster thrown in for effect, all of it leading to a rather contrived conclusion. Rameau pads the whole thing out with lots of dancing and a structure that seems to run on an aria-ballet-chorus-ballet-recitative-ballet-aria loop. Dardanus has the potential to be very dry indeed with all these interruptions to the dramatic flow.
Rameau's music however is much too good to let it be drowned in a dull academic presentation. There is a sense of establishing beauty and order on the world in the music itself - learning to love instead of hate - and Raphaël Pichon finds the beautiful warmth in Rameau's writing that underlines such sentiments, as much in the interplay of the instruments as in their individual qualities. There are moments of sheer wonder here, even in those little side events, such as in the little pastorale 'Paix favorable, paix adorable' which takes the form of a chorus, turning into a ballet and then into a duet which has all the joyous quality of a Handel oratorio.
Michel Fau's direction and Emmanuel Charles' set designs don't feel the need to update all this to a modern setting, but neither do they attempt to recreate baroque theatre effects. Using projections and modern stage effects as well as traditional costumes they achieve both impact and spectacle. The production never quite resorts to kitsch or parody - other than where the occasion really leaves no alternative - but finds its own dazzling vision for the work. The libretto is beautifully articulated here by some beautiful and appropriately pitched voices. Florian Sempey carries the honours as Anténor, his lyrical baritone complementing the warmth of the production. Gaëlle Arquez's Iphise is bright, her emotional conflicts expressed purposefully, never faltering. The figure of Dardanus is relatively bland by comparison, and characterised as such by Reinoud van Mechelen's light but sweet tenor. Although limited to only a few scenes, Karina Gauvin is the kind of singer you want to make the necessary impression when Vénus makes her appearance, and she fulfils that role well. It's Katherine Watson however, taking up the bit-part roles of Amore, a Shepherdess, Bellone and a Dream, who gets to feature in some of Rameau's most beautiful little incidental arrangements. The beauty and inner warmth of Rameau is all in such little details.