Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) devoted most of his life and his work to opera. But it is mostly through his six surviving secular cantatas that he has sharpened his dramatic plume. Here are four of them under the ANALEKTA label. Four beautiful cantatas that truly are musical gems, recorded on one album bearing the same title as one of them: Les amants trahis.
If Thétis and Aquilon et Orithie, two cantatas of mythological inspiration, are beautiful early works, the pastoral recital Le berger fidèle bears the distinctive mark of Rameau lyricism: vigour, balance and clarity are palpable from the very first bar. Also part of this recording is the famous cantata Les amants trahis, in which Rameau showcases his wide range of expressiveness. In a flair of comedy foreshadowing Platée, two abandoned lovers complain about their mistresses: one with tears, the other with mockery...
Here comes the subtlety... The words and the message, dear to the composer's heart, are rendered by two divine voices, soprano Hélène Guillmette's and bass-barytone Philippe Sly. Both are recipient of many prestigious award and both have an impressive track record. They are accompanied by the instrumental ensemble Clavecin en concert, which consists of internationally renowned harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour, as well as outstanding musicians Adrian Butterfield and Chloé Meyers on the violin, Grégoire Jeay on the flute and Mélisande Corriveau on the viola da gamba.
Although the “cantata” genre, imported from Italy, captivated the French audiences of that era and was rapidly adapted to their taste, Rameau, as a musical theorist, primarily saw a refreshing way to “nourish the spirit, kindle the imagination and make one capable of greater things”. This is how Rameau's lyrical work powerfully made its mark throughout the 18th century. With this new album in its catalogue, ANALEKTA pays tribute to this defining figure of French classicism, to his passion for art, to his quest for excellence and to his great knowledge of music.
Philippe Sly has already won several important awards, such as the first prize of the Montreal International Musical Competition, Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions Competition in 2011, the Prix Jeune Soliste 2012 des Radios Francophones Publiques and the Brian Law Opera Scholarship in Ottawa in 2010. Recently ,Philippe Sly created the role of Archibald Craven in the world premiere of Nolan Gasser’s The Secret Garden at the San Francisco Opera and will also be portraying Guglielmo in Così Fan Tutte.
After winning Second Prize at Belgium’s prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2004, Hélène Guilmette’s international operatic career took off, with the roles of Pamina (The Magic Flute/Mozart) in Brussels, Mélisande (Ariane et Barbe-Bleue/Dukas) and Amour (Orpheus and Eurydice/Gluck) at the Paris Opera, Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro/Mozart) in Lille, Montreal, Montpellier, and Paris, Thérèse (Mamelles de Tirésias/Poulenc) in Lyon and at the Paris Opéra-Comique, as well as many more prestigious roles.
An inspired harpsichordist of peerless elegance and expressiveness, Luc Beauséjour never lacks ideas for fascinating concert programs distinguished by refinement and authenticity. With his engaging personality and eloquence he is sought out not only for his virtuosity but also for his ease in communicating with every kind of audience. As soloist or musical director he has made some 30 recordings, mainly for Analekta.