Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


Choeur et Musiciens du Louvre/Minkowski
DG Archiv 463 476-2 78'49" & 76'54"

Crotchet  Amazon UK  Amazon USA

Headed by John Mark Ainsley in the title role, with mainly French singers in the large cast, this is a superb realisation of one of Rameau's finest though lesser known operas. It is given here substantially in its 1739 first version, which is superior musically to the drastic later revision, although hampered by a rash of absurdities in the rather inept libretto with, for example, too many visitations by a sea monster. There are no reservations about the music, which moves naturally from arioso to set arias and choruses, all with the felicitous orchestration for which Rameau is justly celebrated. It is a tale of tug-of-war between rival lovers (Ainsley and Laurent Naouri) for Iphise (Veronique Gens), overseen by Venus (Mireille Delunsch).

An astonishing prison scene (imported from the 1744 version) is heightened by dissonant, chromatic harmonies and an extraordinary bassoon obbligato. There are two splendid ceremonies, one a pledge of allegiance, the other a demonstration of magic powers, with sophisticated build up of tension and excitement, and integrated into the development of the plot, by their sequences of ariettes, choruses and dances. Dance being an essential component of 18 C French opera, Dardanus has some thirty ballet movements, culminating in a final Chaconne which rounds it all off with a fine display of Rameau's resourceful orchestration.

None of the singing can be faulted and it is a fine achievement by a company of musicians who have worked together before. The period music orchestral playing is ever alert and lively or soothing and dreamy as required. This must be one of the best Rameau recordings now available, masterminded by a specialist conductor who was responsible for the spectacularly successful Platee in Paris recently and CD recordings of Lully, Gluck and Rameau's Aricie.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index