Purity and meditation with the Versailles soloists (★★★★✩)

Lessons of darkness by F.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 16:26
11 Reads
Purity and meditation with the Versailles soloists (★★★★✩)

Lessons of darkness by F. Couperin. Closure of the 2nd Easter edition of the Perelada Festival ★★★★✩

Performers: Choir and Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Versailles. L. Aymonino, soprano. G. Blondeel, soprano. C. de Guillebon, organ and musical direction. Place and date: Church of Carmen de Peralada (03/30/2024)

Musical communion and vocal refinement in the visit of the soloists of the Royal Opera Orchestra of Versailles, who dazzled the Peralada audience with a sacred program to conclude this attractive 2nd edition of the Easter Festival.

Some clueless person might have believed, upon reading the advertisement, that he would attend a demonstration of French baroque opera. Nothing is further from reality. Nor was it the Versailles Opera Orchestra, but rather four soloists, two viola da gamba and two theorbists, plus the organ direction of a very young Chloé de Guillebon, members of the young formation, created in 2019 as a demonstration of the splendor baroque musical from Versailles.

Nor did the opera choir perform, but rather five soloists from its ranks, the very tuned and excellently toned Fanny Valentin, Clémentine Poul, Emmanuelle Jakubek and Sarah Charles, sopranos, and the mezzos Hortense Venot and Marion Harache.

Along with these, all women except the theorbist Jonathan Zehnder, the baroque group featured two solo voices that matched perfectly, the French soprano Lili Aymonino, and the Belgian soprano Gwendoline Blondeel. Both demonstrated technical refinement, purity of emission, and control of singing without vibrato, in full sacred French baroque style, which delighted the attendees.

Above all, the round voice, with a homogeneous register and polished and pulpy singing of the soprano Blondeel, was surprising, a name to follow since she fell in love with all her interventions. Blondeel combined pearly high notes and a singing line of naive perfection that did justice to the purity and meditation of Couperain's lessons in darkness, Cléranbault's motets and Charpentier's responsories.

For her part, the French soprano Lili Aymonino with timbral grace displayed her best singing, combining fragility and style, in the responsorio In monte oliveti by M. A. Charpentier.

The concentration, musical asceticism and control of the voices and instrumental colors of the harpsichordist, here on the organ, Chloé de Guillebon, was surprising, another name to follow in a Festival always ready to surprise its audience with top-level artistic discoveries.