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Mondonville - Les Fêtes de Paphos (1997)

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Mondonville - Les Fêtes de Paphos (1997)

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Disk 1
1. 	Ouverture 	04:54 	29 Kč 	
2.	Marche 	00:55 	15 Kč 	
3.	Vous qu'a mes pas enchaine la victoire 	02:33 	
4.	Prélude, fanfare - Ce bruit annonce sa présence 	04:05 	
5.	Deux Menuets 	02:50 		
6.	Qu'il est doux apres la victoire 	01:21 	
7.	Tambourin 	01:51 	 	
8.	Délivrons les forets de ce monstre odieux 	01:18 	
9.	Adonis, se peut-il que malgré ma tendresse 	01:25 	
10.	Tout doit céder a ma valeur 	00:28 	 	
11.	Adonis...Adonis...vainement je l'apelle! 	02:36 		
12.	Fuyons ce monstre! échappons a sa rage! 	01:25 	
13.	Cher objet de ma flamme 	02:23 		
14.	Laissons de mon amour 	01:27 		
15.	Mars pres de vous s'avance 	02:32 		
16.	Tonnerre - Contre une injuste violence 	01:31 		
17.	O Ciel! en croirai-je mes yeux 	02:02 	
18.	Que je plains les mortels! 	04:36 		
19.	Air pour la Suite de Vénus 	01:54 		
20.	O vous qui de Vénus accompagnez les pas 	02:57 		
21.	Deux Menuets 	02:26 	
22.	Lorsque Vénus vint a paraitre 	01:39 	 	
23.	Deux Gavottes 	01:56 		
24.	Pour rendre homage 	00:56 	1
25.	Air pour les Plaisirs 	01:41 		
26.	Régne a jamais sur nos coeurs 	02:33 	 	
27.	Contre danse 	00:54 	15 Kč 	
28.	Entr'acte:Tambourin 	02:01 	

Disk 2
1.	Dieu des Amans recoi les voeux 	03:36 		
2.	Belle Nymphe, esperez le sort le plus heureux 	03:05 		
3.	Air pour les Sylvains 	01:48 	15 Kč 	
4.	Air pour les Corybantes, ou Prestres de Bacchus 	01:59 	
5. 	Cher Bacchus, c'est assez répandre les allarmes 	02:01 		
6.	Air pour les Bacchantes et les Sylvains 	01:21 	 	
7. 	La victoire vole a ta voix 	03:00 		
8. 	Tout conspire a combler vos voeux 	02:04 	 	
9. 	Cette languer étrange 	01:48 		
10.    L'Amour suit cet objet charmant 	01:49 		
11.	Dieux! quel charme inconnu me ravit et m'enflamme? 	01:01 	
12.	De la gloire terrible suspendez les travaux 	00:45 	 	
13.	Quel trouble votre aspect m'inspire 	05:52 		
14.	Amour lance tes traits, épuise ton carquois 	03:12 		
15.	Chantez dans vos fetes charmantes 	02:43 	 	
16.	Loure 	01:27 		
17.	Gigue 	01:09 		
18.	Muzette - Dieu des coeurs, c'est par tes faveurs 	01:42 		
19.	Rondeau en chacconne 	02:24 		
20.	Cessez, guerriers, cessez de lacer le tonnerre 	05:32 	
21.	Tambourin 	01:09 		
22.	Entr'acte: Rondeau en chacconne 	02:32 		

Disk 3
1.	Ritournelle 	00:40 	
2.	O Vénus, n'as-tu pas épuisé ta vengeance? 	03:11 	
3. 	Prélude 	01:57 	15 Kč 	
4.	De tes attraits, l'Amour va perdre la mémoire 	03:09 		
5. 	Gavotte 	02:08 		
6.	Mais l'Amour va paraitre, il faut suivre mes pas 	00:40 		
7.	Crains sans cesse, crains un affreux trépas 	01:42 		
8. 	Crains sans cesse, crains un affreux trépas 	02:24 		
9.	Tempeste - Justes Dieux, prenez ma deffence 	01:41 		
10.	Vents furieux, rentrez dans le silence 	01:40 		
11.	Non! Non! Non! n'espére pas que ton tourment finisse 	04:10 		
12.	Air pour les Demons 	00:53 		
13.	Amour, c'est toi seul que j'implore 	01:43 		
14.	J'ai perdu mes attraits, et l'Amour va paraitre 	02:17 		
15.	Je viens enfin terminer vos allarmes 	04:11 	 	
16.	Quel changement! quel palais enchanté 	05:38 	 	
17.	Air pour les Zéphirs 	02:16 		
18.	Air pour les Graces...Mon bonheur est extreme 	01:35 		
19.	Deux Menuets 	02:36 		
20.	Pour vous l'aimable Aurore fait éclore 	04:02 	
21.	Pas de trois 	06:52 

Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Véronique Gens (Soprano)
Agnès Mellon (Soprano)
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Tenor)
Olivier Lallouette (Baritone)
Peter Harvey (Baritone)
James Oxley (Tenor) 
Accentus Chamber Choir
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset (Conductor)


It was said of Mondonville’s operas that “though nothing may astound, everything pleases”. Certainly, with his seemingly inexhaustible graceful melodic gift (even the recitatives, metrically more regular than in the usual flexible tradition, approximate more to ariosos) and his combination of coloratura ariettes, simple Lully-style arias, Italian influences and brilliant orchestral colouring, Mondonville aimed at, and succeeded in, pleasing the diverse tastes of his time; and to us today the results, as exemplified in this 1758 work, are altogether delightful. Les fetes de Paphos, it is true, has little of the depth of his older contemporary Rameau (whom he rivalled, if not surpassed, in popularity); but then, this is not a tragedie en musique but an opera-ballet in three dramatically independent acts. The first two – “Venus et Adonis” and “Bacchus et Erigone” – had begun life in the previous decade as entertainments for Madame de Pompadour, who herself took the leading role in each: their success led Mondonville to add a third action, “Amour et Psyche”, and to make some modifications to the existing entrees. In accordance with French tastes, the work is liberally interspersed, and concluded, with dance movements, many of which possess great inventiveness and charm; and prominent features of the score are the colourful instrumentation and the independence of the orchestra from the vocal line. Yet, if nothing ‘astounds’, there is no lack of telling harmonies, striking virtuosity, or, especially in Act 3, of descriptive dramatic writing. Even from the outset the high-spirited overture – in a single movement, departing from the Lullian pattern – holds out a promise of vitality, which is amply fulfilled in later vigorous Tambourins and in the agitated introductory ritournelle to Act 3; and Amour et Psyche is notable for a tempest sequence (already a century-old tradition in French opera) and a remarkable scene in Hades, where the implacable cries of demons seem to foreshadow Gluck’s Orfeo (written only four years later in Vienna, where French plays and light operas were much in vogue). But there are also three very touching slow arias, one in each act: “Qu’en ce bois s’eleve une fleur”, Venus’s lament for Adonis, killed by a monster summoned up by jealous Mars (though he is later restored to life); Erigone’s “Dieu des amans”, a plea for divine aid in her love for Bacchus; and Psyche’s “J’ai perdu mes attraits”, her grief when her beauty is brutally destroyed by one of the Furies (though Cupid’s continued devotion wins its restitution).

Christophe Rousset directs an extremely enjoyable performance, with well-judged pacing. He secures spirited, flawlessly neat playing from his orchestra and excellent singing from his chorus (whose Act 2 “La victoire vole a ta voix” is especially fine); and he has a team of stylistically experienced soloists. Chief honours among these go to Veronique Gens, radiant as Venus, whose florid Act 1 “Regne a jamais sur nos coeurs” is a high spot, and the outstanding Olivier Lallouette, a redoubtable Mars and, as Bacchus, given “Vous enchantez mon coeurs” with its seductive instrumental obbligatos. Sandrine Piau shines in the Act 3 coloratura ariette “Quand je vole” and in the work’s most famous number, the stunning Act 2 duet “Amour, lance tes traits” with Lallouette, but in her big “Cessez, guerriers” aria and elsewhere she becomes slightly shrill on higher notes. Agnes Mellon is an affecting Psyche, there is a vigorous “Cher Bacchus” from Peter Harvey as Comus (but he perhaps overdoes tonal harshness in portraying Tisiphone), and Jean-Paul Fouchecourt is stylish as Adonis and Mercury, though I find a somewhat disconcerting whining quality in his voice.

A welcome addition to the catalogue, and a decided success as a recording. The discs come with four distinct commentaries, of which that in German is the most comprehensive. -- Lionel Salter, Gramophone [7/1997], arkivmusic.com

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