lietofinelondon

A Touch of Venus

In Baroque, Classical Music, Opera, Review on October 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Review – Pigmalion & Anacréon (Queen Elizabeth Hall, Thursday 8 October 2014)

Pigmalion – Daniel Auchinloss
Le Statue – Katherine Manley
Anna Dennis – L’Amour
Céphise – Susanna Hurrell

Anacréon – Matthew Brook
Chloé – Anna Dennis
Batile – Augustin Prunell-Friend

Choir of the Englightenment
Les Plaisirs des Nations
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Edith Lalonger (Choreographer)
Jonathan Williams (Conductor)

Following their performance of Zaïs earlier this year, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Les Plaisirs de Nations joined forces once again for the Rameau Project – for the actes de ballet Pigmalion and what I believe was the Anacréon that formed the third part of his original Les Surprises d’Amour, both written in 1748.

And under the watchful baton of Jonathan Williams, it once again provided an evening of some superb musicianship and some elegant dance.

Personally, the star of the evening was the returning Anna Dennis. L’Amour in Pigmalion, she took centre stage as Chloé in the post interval performance of Anacréon. Ms Dennis possesses a bright and flexible soprano – there is a crystalline quality to it that is perfectly suited to this music, as well as an uninterrupted sheen and fluidity throughout her range which made her performance ravishing. Additionally there was a flexibility to her voice that not only enables her to negotiate the more florid passages but also to highlight the delicate nuances in Rameau’s vocal lines.

And indeed it was the women who mostly impressed during the evening. Katherine Manley – as the statue – injected a real sense of simplicity – almost naivety – to her performance and all credit for her beautifully choreographed and graceful interaction with the dancers. And in her short appearance as Céphise, Susanna Hurrell also made a positive impression.

Matthew Brook’s Anacréon was the most convincing of Rameau’s gentlemen. He molded his robust and warm baritone around Rameau’s vocal lines and brought out the wit in his elegant performance. I did not warm to the Pigmalion of Daniel Auchinloss. Not only was there a lack of projection but also – in common with Augustin Prunell-Friend’s Batile to a lesser extent – there wasn’t the necessary lightness or flexibility to his voice which Rameau’s music demands – especially for the magnificent Regne Amour.

However for the most part, the diction of both the singers – and the Choir of the Enlightenment – was very good. And while I am no expert when it comes to dance but as before in Zaïs, Les Plaisirs des Nations combined graceful choreography with effortless grace and when required, humour.

After some indecisive playing at the beginning of Pigmalion, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performed with their trademark verve and spirit. Jonathan Williams was every alert to the shifting rhythms and colours that abound in Rameau’s music and the players in the orchestra responded accordingly.

I hope that The Rameau Project continues to bring Rameau’s shorter works to the stage, supporting what I hope is a wider renaissance of his larger operas.

Advertisements
  1. […] are the selections from La lyre enchantée from Les surprises de l’Amour which also included Anacréon. Juxtaposing vocal and choral movements with dances, Écoutons un doux frémissement with its […]

  2. […] – continued their ambition to performance this composers stage works with performances of Zaïs, Pigmalion and Anacréon to the Southbank together with dancers from Les Plaisirs de Nations. Their combination of […]

Let me know what you think ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Subitolove

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

Good Music Speaks

A music blog written by Rich Brown

Kurt Nemes' Classical Music Almanac

(A love affair with music--Right Now Featuring Women Composer)

Gareth's Culture and Travel Blog

Sharing my cultural and travel experiences

The Oxford Culture Review

"I have nothing to say, and I am saying it" - John Cage

The Passacaglia Test

The provision and purview of classical music

Peter Hoesing

...a musicologist examining diverse artistic media in critical perspective

OBERTO

Oxford Brookes: Exploring Research Trends in Opera

%d bloggers like this: