Rameau: Zoroastre 1749

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Rameau: Zoroastre 1749
Jodie Devos (Amélite), Véronique Gens (Erinice), Reinoud Van Mechelen (Zoroastre), Tassis Christoyannis (Abramane), Chœur de Chambre de Namur

[ Alpha Classics / 3 CD ]

Release Date: Friday 4 November 2022

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) left two very different versions of his tragédie en musique Zoroastre: the first, in 1749, received a lukewarm reception and the work was withdrawn from the repertory. Rameau gave it a thorough revision in 1756. At this time, he was at the height of his powers. Melody, harmony, orchestration and choral writing no longer held any secrets for him. Zoroastre brought still further innovation. For the first time, he dispensed with a prologue, and turned the overture into a philosophical 'programme', the struggle between day and night, between good and evil.

The 1749 version is entirely governed by avant-garde ideas; Zoroastre resembles Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, but two generations earlier. This disconcerted some of the audience: Zoroastre was a moral, social and philosophical opera. The 1749 version has never been revived in modern times. Alexis Kossenko takes up the challenge with zest, accompanied by an outstanding cast including Véronique Gens, Jodie Devos, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Mathias Vidal and Tassis Christoyannis.

"The chorus and line-up of soloists is first-rate, with a suitably menacing Abramane (Tassis Christoyannis) and a witchy Érinice (Véronique Gens)...The instrumental numbers (notably the sarabands) are beautifully done, with the weather - lashings of thunder and lightning - forcefully dramatised throughout." - BBC Music Magazine