One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley n/a
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Molière à l’opéra
Luanda Siqueira (soprano), Jean-François Lombard (tenor), Jérôme Billy (tenor), Virgile Ancely (bass)
Les Paladins (Patrick Oliva, Myriam Mahnane (violins), Benoit Bursztejn, Martha Moore (Violas), Nicolas Crnjanski (bass de violon), Charles-Édouard Fantin (theorbo; Baroque guitar))/Jérôme Correas (harpsichord)
rec. Opéra de Reims, France, December 2015
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
GLOSSA GCD923509 [72:30]

Giovanni Battista Lulli was born in Florence, Tuscany to a family of millers. He had some basic musical training, himself stating that a Franciscan friar gave him his first lessons and taught him to play the guitar. When he was fourteen he followed a French nobleman to Paris, where he for several years served as a “chamber boy” to a Mademoiselle de Montpensier. It is supposed that he widened his musical skills during those years and also became a skilled dancer. In 1853 he became friends with the young Louis XIV and before long was made royal composer for instrumental music. He was soon indispensable, writing ballets and other music for the royal festivities, and when he married in 1662 he declared himself to be Jean-Baptiste Lully. By then he had already begun collaborating with the greatest playwright and actor of the time, the ten-year-older Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known under his stage name Molière. During the 1660s they developed a new genre, the 'comédie-ballet' which combined theatre, comedy, incidental music and ballet. It became enormously popular and this disc contains excerpts from several of those comédie-ballets. The title of the disc, Molière à l’opéra, is deceptive, since Molière didn’t live long enough to see a proper opera. Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione, the first tragédie lyrique, was premiered on 27 April 1673; Molière died a little more than two months earlier during a performance of his last play, Le Malade imaginaire. That said, the collaboration between the two had cleared the way for the opera concept and Lully only had to remove the spoken dialogue from the model they had created.

The best known of the works here presented is no doubt Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, which was first seen on 14 October 1670. In the early twentieth century it was resurrected in Germany, adapted by Hugo von Hofmannsthal with music by Richard Strauss. It was then presented in harness with the newly written opera Ariadne auf Naxos, but the combination was problematic. The opera has a life of its own and the play has often been performed with Strauss’s music, choreographed by George Balanchine. Strauss based part of his incidental score on Lully’s own music but it is good to have the real thing – and in such committed performances.

A lot of the music is rather rumbustious and the singing to a great extent informal, parlé-chanté, in order to apply a more popular approach to the genre. Conductor Jérôme Correas argues in his foreword: “During the course of this recording I was often reminded of the anecdote about the young Louis XIV during a meal aiming bread pellets and salad in the direction of ladies’ hair creations: such a court as then in existence could not be as serious and unbending as it has been claimed, and our interpretation needed to take account of this dimension.” The refinement and nobility we often connect with the French baroque is largely abandoned, the Ballet des Nations from Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (tr. 17) is noisy and unsophisticated – and great fun. All four soloists are in action and we just feel how they enjoy themselves. The ‘other’ composer, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, whom Molière turned to when Lully wasn’t available – they had their schisms – also produced riveting music. The Trio Grotesque from Le Mariage force. Inspired, maybe, by Clément Janequin’s famous Le Chant des Oiseaux the singers in a hilarious number imitate dogs and cats and even donkeys. Play that track (tr. 10) to your friends who believe baroque music is haughty and stiff and they will be converted.

There is a lot of charming music here that has stood the test of time admirably for 350 years, and anyone who wants to be transported back to the days of Louis XIV will be richly awarded with the contents of this disc. Elizabeth Giuliani’s liner-notes offers valuable background information.

Göran Forsling

Track Listing
Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632 – 1687)
Pastorale comique (1667):
1. Entrée des Magiciens: Déesse des appas (JFL, JB, VA)… O toi, qui peux rendre agréable (VA) [2:47]
2. Chaconne des Magiciens: Ah, qu’il est beau ... Qu’il est joli (JFL, JB, VA) [2:46]
La Princesse d’Élide (1664):
3. Quand l’amour à nos yeux (LS) [4:39]
Monsieur de Pourceaugnac (1669):
4. Entrée des Procureurs et des Sergents: La polygamie est un cas pendable (JB, VA) [2:23]
5. Entrée des Matassins: Piglialo sù (JB, VA) [2:12]
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670):
6. Sé que me muero de amor (JFL) [4:26]
7. Ay qué locura (VA) [1:49] Premier Air des Espagnols
Les Amants magnifiques (1670):
8. Quand je plaisais à tes yeux (LS, JB) [5:41]
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643 – 1704)
Le Sicilien (1667):
9. Ouverture [1:40]
Le Mariage force (1664):
10. La, la,la, bonjour (JFL, JB, VA) [7:40]
Jean-Baptiste LULLY
Psyché (1671):
11. Deh, piangete al pinto mio (LS, JFL, VA) [7:51]
12. Entrée de la suite d’Apollon: Le dieu qui nous engage (JFL) [2:58]
Les Amants magnifiques (1670):
13. Menuet [0:43]
14. Vous chantez sous ces feuillages (VA, JFL, JB) [4:52]
15. Ah! Que sur notre Coeur (LS, VA) [5:11]
16. Dormez, beaux yeux (JFL, JB, VA) [3:52]
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670):
17. Ballet des Nations: À moi, Monsieur (LS, JFL, JB, VA) [8:45]
18. Quels spectacles charmants (LS, JFL, JB, VA) [1:47]



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger