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This "fête Baroque" occurred in December 2011 at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, marking the tenth anniversary of the ensemble Le Concert d'Astrée under founder and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. Le Concert d'Astrée is one of the very best Baroque vocal ensembles, Haïm's trademark expressive phrasing is everywhere in evidence, but the biggest attraction is the selection of singers, with several figures from the mainstream showing up alongside established Baroque specialists. You might not think that tenor Rolando Villazón has quite the right voice for an aria from Handel's Tamerlano, HWV 18, but he's clearly wrestling with the problem, and he gets an appreciative roar from the Parisian crowd (who are given full voice on the recording). Right after that comes a delicious duet from mainstreamer Anne Sofie von Otter and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in the Cornelia-Sesto duet from the second act of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17, a pure feast of sensuous singing. Established Baroque vocalists like Natalie Dessay and Sara Mingardo are on hand, as well as a few up-and-comers who seized the chance to put their names and voices in front of a well-heeled crowd. Rather than try to cover the entire range of Baroque opera, Haïm wisely chooses to focus on three composers: Rameau, Lully, and Handel, whose vocal riches occupy the entire second CD.

Track list at

Joining Haïm and the orchestra are no less than 23
Laura Claycomb, Stéphane Degout, Karine Deshayes, Natalie Dessay, Ann Hallenberg, Philippe Jaroussky, Topi Lehtipuu, Marijana Mijanovic, Sara Mingardo, Sandrine Piau, Renata Pokupic, Anne Sofie Von Otter and Rolando Villazón. Among the sources of the evening’s arias and ensembles are Giulio Cesare, Alcina, Rinaldo, Tamerlano, Come Ye Sons of Art, Thésée, Dardanus, Hippolyte et Aricie, and Les Indes galantes

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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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