Selected albums: Gaspare Spontini, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, Isolated, Sir Chloe, Denis Cuniot

The Vestal Virgin

Marina Rebeka, Stanislas de Barbeyrac, Tassis Christoyannis, Aude Extrémo, Nicolas Courjal, David Witczak, Flemish Radio Choir, Les Talens lyriques, Christophe Rousset (conductor).

Cover of the book-disc

Among the nuggets edited by the “French Opera” collection of the Palazzetto Bru Zane, this Vestal, by Spontini, recorded at La Seine musicale, in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine), in June 2022, on period instruments (a discographic premiere), just before its concert version presented at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in Paris. At the head of his Talens lyriques, Christophe Rousset gives the score a tragic breath and romantic sentimentality, infusing Spontini’s music with that sacred fire over which watches a Julia diverted from her duties as a vestal virgin by the forbidden love she bears to the Roman general Licinius. The Flemish Radio Choir is a partner of choice. Steeped in candor and passion, Marina Rebeka portrays a striking young woman. The Latvian soprano has for her a dazzling purity of emission, an inexhaustible legato and lightning high notes. Faced with so much unbridled sensuality, modest charm and sacrificial ardor, Stanislas de Barbeyrac’s Licinius nevertheless seems to prefer the virile gesture to the expressiveness of love. His intercession with the Sovereign Pontiff of Nicolas Courjal will confine to the duel. If the Grande Vestale with mysterious connivances by Aude Extrémo is adorned with ambiguity, the round and luminous frankness of Tassis Christoyannis pleads for a generous Cinna, a true fusion double of his friend Licinius. Marie Aude Roux

1 Bru Zane record book.

  • Victor Julien-Laferriere


Henri Dutilleux: A whole distant world… Pascal Dusapin: Outscape. Victor Julien-Laferrière (cello), Orchester national de France, David Robertson and Kristiina Poska (conductor).

Cover of the album

Conveniently released a few days after the tenth anniversary of Henri Dutilleux’s death (May 22, 2013), the recording of A whole distant world… misses the celebration mark. Victor Julien-Laferrière first shows an incomprehensible coldness (Enigmatitle of 1er movement), then yields to lyricism, from the tip of the bow, only out of necessity (Glance2e movement), before completing its course with a Anthem strangled by too fast a tempo. As for the Orchester national de France, under the direction of David Robertson, it ignores poetry. Paradoxically, it is in the music of Pascal Dusapin that we find the world of Dutilleux. Not by excess of influence, but by similarity of ideal. The mystery of an often incantatory expression (the soloist, this time, well in tune), the elegance of a free but not erratic course, the ability to draw from an introspective dive the material of a spectacular epic , all these qualities makeOutscape of the great Dusapin. And, as the work was created in 2015, we can say that, in this program based on recordings made in concert, an anniversary (60 years of Dusapin at the time ofOutscape) well hides another one (the 10th anniversary of Dutilleux’s death). Pierre Gervasoni

You have 60.39% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *