|Les Arts Florissants. Photo (c) Pierre Grosbois|
|Scene from the prologue: Melpomene and attendants|
Credit is due to all the principals for their commitment to the complexity of the characters and the urgency of their emotional predicaments. As the king Celenus, Nicolas Rivenq may have been slightly stiff, vocally, but he still gave a moving performance as the noble monarch tempted to tyranny by emotional disappointment, with disastrous consequences. Cybèle, proving that the fury of a woman scorned is nothing next to that of a goddess, was sung by mezzo-soprano Anna Reinhold. She was assured and passionate, and genuinely moving in her "Espoir si cher et si doux." Emmanuelle de Negri was an exquisite Sangaride, with fluid phrasing, and a sincerity which demanded that her character's emotional journey, even when marked by youthful vacillations, should be taken seriously. Ed Lyon sang the titular hero with flair and a similarly compelling earnestness. ...And then there was the magic in the pit. This was Lully without langueurs, with wit, energy, romance, pathos, and--a phrase I'm not sure I had ever considered formulating until last night--thrilling harpsichord playing (the latter by Béatrice Martin.) William Christie is a miraculous baroque-conjuring wizard and I love him. Go see this, if you can, Gentle Readers. Buy the DVD, when it's out. Send champagne to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, marked for Les Arts Florissants. They've earned it.