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17.11.10

Opera Lafayette: 'It's Alive!'

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Read my review published today in the Style section of the Washington Post:

Charles T. Downey, Opera Lafayette at the Terrace Theater
Washington Post, November 17, 2010

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Clérambault, La Muse de l'Opéra (inter alia), Les Arts Florissants
A stylish performance by Opera Lafayette breathed life into more forgotten music of the French baroque on Monday night at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. This ensemble of historical instrument specialists is most effective when the music in question is worth the effort of resuscitation. And it certainly was, particularly in a brilliantly programmed first half of rarely heard works that looked back at the golden age of French opera, during the austere conclusion of Louis XIV's reign.

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault's cantata "La Muse de l'Opéra" featured the limpid, silken soprano of Judith van Wanroij as our tour guide to the operatic delights of the era. Contrasting characters were presented in pairs: military Mars and tender Venus, tempest and bucolic spring, birdsong and sweet sleep. Van Wanroij was at her best in the soft, pastoral parts, particularly the excellent duet with flutist Colin St. Martin in "Oiseaux, qui sous ces feuillages." The second half -- instrumental and vocal excerpts by Jean-Philippe Rameau and Jean-Féry Rebel -- was, by contrast, a survey of the state of the operatic art in the mid-18th century. [Continue reading]
Opera Lafayette
With Judith van Wanroij, soprano
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

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