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World Première Recording of 18th Century Opéra-ballet Zélindor, roi des Sylphes

November 17, 2007

Composed by François Rebel and François Francoeur, two directors of the Paris Opera who remarkably worked together for nearly fifty years during the 18th century, the opéra-ballet Zélindor, roi des Sylphes was first staged at Versailles in 1745. Zélindor, with its lovely rococo-style music and fantasy-like story, is a full and robust spectacle when staged, and includes other-worldly characters in costume and a compliment of masked dancers. Opera Lafayette performed the contemporary revival of Zélindor in collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company last October, and recorded the work for Naxos in the same month.

Opera Lafayette, led by its Founder and Artistic Director Ryan Brown, is a period-instrument ensemble noted for its performances of 17th and 18th century works. The ensemble has three prior fine recordings on the Naxos label, including the recently released "Extraits d’Airs d’Opéras" of Jean-Philippe Rameau (8.557993).

The recording sessions for Zélindor were held on October 15th and 16th, 2007, at Music Hall at Strathmore in N. Bethesda, Maryland, USA. The soloists were tenor Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, sopranos Heidi Grant Murphy and Ah Young Hong, and baritone William Sharp. The sessions were produced by Max Wilcox. Antonio d'Urzo was the engineer.

Critical acclaim for Opera Lafayette's staged performance of Zélindor:

"Opera Lafayette has done it again, reviving a forgotten work of the French grand siècle…The singing was exceptional, especially from French tenor Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, who has the light, ultra-high range so important for French opera in this period, which relied on the voice part known as the haute-contre." Read full review

The New York Times

"The opera-ballet “Zélindor” was written for King Louis XV of France in 1745 and repeatedly revived over the next 20 years...Opera Lafayette has just recorded the work for release in 2009. Fans of early music should seek it out." Read full review


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