Medee (Charpentier)  (Christie;  Jill Feldman, Jacques Bona, Agnes Mellon, Gilles Ragon, Philippe Cantor, Sophie Boulin) (3-Harmonia Mundi 901139/41)
Item# OP0076
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Product Description

Medee (Charpentier)  (Christie;  Jill Feldman, Jacques Bona, Agnes Mellon, Gilles Ragon, Philippe Cantor, Sophie Boulin) (3-Harmonia Mundi 901139/41)
OP0076. MEDÉE (Charpentier), w.Christie Cond. Les Arts Florissants Ensemble; Jill Feldman, Jacques Bona, Agnès Mellon, Gilles Ragon, Philippe Cantor & Sophie Boulin, etc. (France) 3-Harmonia Mundi 901139/41, Slipcase Set w.Elaborate 117pp. Libretto-booklet in French, German & English. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!


“For twenty years William Christie and Les Arts Florrisants have contributed immeasurably to our understanding of Baroque opera. Charpentier’s MÉDÉE, from 1984, is undoubtedly the pick. Although superseded by Christie’s 1994 recording, it remains a tribute to this ensemble’s understanding of text and their advocacy of an opera that stands as one of the most thrilling of the seventeenth century. Unequalled in the French repertoire until Rameau, MÉDÉE far surpasses the finest work of his great rival Lully.

Returning to this recording, I was struck by the rhythmic infectiousness and élan of concerted scenes, especially the divertissement which concludes Act 2. Jill Feldman’s Médée is focused and sweetly voiced. Indeed, everything, including Créuse’s demise, is very beautiful. No-one could possibly be disappointed by this handsome performance, but, as Christie acknowledged when he re-recorded the work, MÉDÉE demands and deserves more dramatic involvement than an exquisite read-through can provide.”

- Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine, 20 Jan., 2012

“Long a leading figure in the early music performance movement, William Christie has been especially influential in restoring opera and French music to their rightful places in the Baroque repertory. He is the harpsichordist and leader of the ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Christie was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1944, and studied piano and organ as a young man. He attended Harvard, graduating with an art history degree and switching to music only for graduate study at the Yale School of Music. His teacher there was the pioneering harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick, best known for his rediscovery and thorough exploration of the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. Christie moved to France in 1971; eventually he not only became a French citizen, but also was named a member of the Legion of Honor. Many early music performers have done stints in the contemporary-music world (and vice versa); between 1971 and 1975, as a member of the Five Centuries Ensemble, Christie participated in premieres of work by such notables as Luciano Berio and Morton Feldman. Between 1976 and 1980 he played keyboards for the early music group Concerto Vocale, led by René Jacobs. In 1979, Christie founded Les Arts Florissants, an ensemble devoted to French, English, and Italian music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The group has done much to revive the difficult genre of French Baroque opera, with its arcane declamatory style; working with leading stage designers and choreographers, Christie has had special success with the operas of Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Philippe Rameau, rightful mainstays of the operatic repertory in their own times but almost forgotten since then. Since 1994, Christie and Les Arts Florissants have recorded for the major French label Erato, and the contract was renewed in 1999. That year saw the release of the Les Arts Florissants recording of Monteverdi's magnificent VESPRO DELLA BEATA VERGINE (the Vespers of 1610), and recordings of Mozart, Caldara, Lully and other composers were in the works.”

- Keith Johnson,