Mostly Mozart: Stunning Rameau, Handel Performances

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Mostly Mozart: Stunning Rameau, Handel Performances

Post by Ralph » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:22 pm

Conductor/harpsichordist Emmanuelle Haim brought her Paris-based Le Concert d'Astree for their U.S. debut to Alice Tully Hall this afternoon. Also making her U.S. debut was young, beautiful and talented soprano Magali Leger.

Alice Tully Hall is the right venue for a small Baroque orchestra and the hall was nearly full. With original instruments, the ensemble and Ms. Leger began with Rameau's Suite from Hippolyte et Aricie and the Suite from Les Indes galantes.

After intermission came Handel's Da quel giorno (Il delirio amoroso).

Maestra Haim founded her group in 2000. She works with a number of other ensembles and is totally invested in Baroque music and opera. No chance she'll lead a Mahler symphony or, for that matter, any major orchestra. But my prediction is she's the clear successor to William Chrystie as the avatar of the Baroque harpsichord and canon, both pure music and opera.

There are other women conductors well known for excellence in Baroque music, for example, Monica Huggett and Jeanne Lamon. But Haim leads them because of her enormous talent AND scholarly knowledge of the repertoire.

Today's playing was perfect and so was Ms. Leger's singing. She gave impassioned nuances to lengthy vocal parts, her voice always sharp and clear, her dramatic flair evident. To my ear she has a slightly dusky soprano voice which is perfect for Baroque music. I hope she comes back here soon-she is fully engaged in Europe according to the program notes.

For Mostly Mozart this was a truly remarkable and notable offering.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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