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RAMEAU: Les Paladins - Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (2 DVDs)

RAMEAU: Les Paladins - Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (2 DVDs)

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Rameau: Les Paladins
Topi Lehtipuu (Atis); Stéphanie d'Oustrac (Argie); Laurent Naouri (Orcan); Sandrine Piau (Nerine); René Schirrer (Anselme); François Piolino (Manto);

Les Arts Florissants; William Christie

Stage Director(s): José Montalvo

Inspired by a fable by La Fontaine, Rameau produced perhaps his most brilliant music for his penultimate great work, blending reality and the surreal on several levels. This passionate new production by José Montalvo stunningly choreographed by Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu, sets new standards in entertainment, charm and ingenuity. The sharp and spectacular multimedia staging does full justice to Rameau’s dazzling burlesque, confirming Olivier Rouvière's statement that ‘Les Paladins' is the last laugh of a witty 77-year old composer. Recorded live in 2004 at the Paris Théâtre du Châtelet in true surround sound, both the virtuoso cast and Les Arts Florissants are in top form, clearly enjoying themselves in the masterful hands of William Christie.

"The production is hugely entertaining. José Montalvo makes use of video techniques to dazzle the eye with a variety of metamorphoses: a dancer becomes a butterfly, stone lions come to life, a tiger turns into a wolf, which becomes an elephant...Stéphanie d'Oustrac and Topi Lehtipuu are credible young lovers, d'Oustrac singing her Act 2 ariette, 'Je vole, Armour', with a deeply moving intensity. Sandrine Piau and Laurent Naouri couldn't be bettered as the secondary pair." (Gramophone)

"Christie conducts with infectious enthusiasm and the singers, especially the romantic leads, Argie (Stephanie d'Oustrac) and Atis (Top Lehtipuu), are superb. An added benefit is an engaging and helpful documentary." (BBC Music Magazine)

"Rameau called this, his last opera, an ‘opera lyriche’. However, as Reiner E. Moritz writes in his excellent booklet notes, it probably should be called or thought of as a ‘comédie-ballet’. Indeed I should estimate that about 50% of the entire performance is ballet. That is all to do good as it adds to an overall experience which is rich and strange and infectiously exciting...This is a warm and brilliant tribute to a truly great composer by some exceptional artists. It has been a real joy studying it for review." (Musicweb International)

Extra features
"Baroque that rocks!"A documentary film by Reiner E. Moritz featuring interviews with William Christie, Dominique Hervieu, Topi Lehtipuu, Stéphanie d’Oustrac and other members of the cast. Illustrated Synopsis and Cast gallery.

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