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Marie-Nicole Lemieux - La Passion Lemieux (2014)

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Marie-Nicole Lemieux - La Passion Lemieux (2014)

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01. Handel - Empio, diro, tu sei - Giulio Cesare 03:38
02. Gluck - Che faro senza euridice - Orfeo ed Euridice 04:21
03. Saint-Saëns - Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix - Samson et Dalila 06:35
04. Vivaldi - Dimmi pastore - La fida ninfa 02:44
05. Mozart - Voi, che sapete che cosa e amor - Le nozze di Figaro 02:58
06. Vivaldi - aure lievi che spirate - La fida ninfa 05:59
07. Gluck - Jupiter, lance la foudre - Iphigenie eb Aulide 04:06
08. Offenbach - Examinez bien ma figure - La Fille du tambour-major 02:23
09. Vivaldi - Nel profondo - Orlando furioso 04:02
10. Mozart - Venga pur, minacci e frema - Mitridate, re di Ponto 06:55
11. Berlioz - Je vais mourir - Les Troyens 06:20
12. Handel - l lampo dell'armi - Giulio Cesare 03:21
13. Mozart - Deh, per questo istante solo - La clemenza di Tito 06:51
14. Vivaldi - Infelice griselda - Griselda 00:48
15. Vivaldi - Ho il cor gia lacero - Griselda 03:56
16. Massenet - Ne me refuse pas - Herodiade 06:06
17. Handel  - Caro, bella - Giulio Cesare 04:50

Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto)
Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)
Francois Lis (bass)

Ensemble Matheus, Jean-Christophe Spinosi (director)
Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis (director)
Les violons du Roy, Bernard Labadie (director)
Orchestre National de France, Fabien Gabel (director)


This special project features the finest opera arias recorded by Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux for Naïve, ranging from Vivaldi, Handel and Mozart to Saint-Saëns, Massenet, and Berlioz. It gathers tracks from six recordings released between 2003 and 2012, resulting from collaborations with some of the finest orchestras of the time: Il Complesso Barocco, Ensemble Matheus, Les Violons du Roy, Orchestre National de France. ---arkivmusic.com


Most people like a peach to be really juicy and this is the kind of effect you get with Marie-Nicole Lemieux's voice. It is of an intensity and lustre that hits you straight away in the opening Handel aria from Giulio Cesare, where the runs are tossed off with devil-may-care bravado and a daringly full-on vibrato used where the note is long enough to sustain it, at one point coarsening the tone to almost a snarl, it's so vivid ... I don't know the situation the character is in but she certainly seems to be pushed to a response of the utmost passion.

The rest of the disc fulfils this promise, bearing out the title fully. Lemieux is a vocal wonder, a bit like Marilyn Horne in sound, but pushing more to extremes. Personally I can't get enough of it, ever since discovering her by chance on a DVD devoted to Philippe Jaroussky. She duets with him here, as well as with a soprano and a bass, and the repertoire ranges from baroque to high Romantic, with fabulous arias by Berlioz and Saint-Saëns showing the heights those composers could reach, each in their own quite different way. She carries both off just as well, having the most beguiling sense of line in Dalila's aria, while the genuinely tragic utterance of Dido is never in doubt. Classical style is represented - again with extraordinary ripeness - in Gluck and Mozart (from 1770 and 1791, when the composer was 14 and then in the last year of his life, as well as something in between). There is also some fantastic Vivaldi, a stand-out aria from Orlando Furioso proving absolutely irresistible with Jean Christophe-Spinosi providing the support of a fantastic electric cushion (one with bendy neon stripes stitched into the brilliant texture - or something like that ...) ---schumann_bg, amazon.com

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