The other day I posted a gorgeous clip of rising star Angela Meade sing the incredible aria Esprit de L'air! Esprits de onde! Today, in what seems to be the finale of Massenet week and to mark the premiere of Esclarmonde I wish to share with you two remarkable highlights from the brilliant recording for Decca with Sutherland, Tourangeau and Aragall conducted by Richard Bonynge.
It has to be said that without Sutherland, Bonynge and this recording, that Esclarmonde may well have slipped into operatic obscurity. It's a shame it's rarely performed as the opera hold many riches but at the same time it's easy to understand why. The heroine requires an almost supernatural voice of incredible agility but of a size and colour equal to Turandot. The perfect vehicle for Sutherland and she is equally matched in Giacomo Aragall as her love interest, the knight Roland.
Set in Byzantium and based on medieval legend the tale is rich in knights and sprites and full of exotic colour, offstage choruses and languid love duets in every act. I love this opera and after listening to the two extracts below, Joan singing Esprit de L'air! Esprits de onde! and the final scene/love duet, I hope you too will have a growing appreciation of this magical score.
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