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Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, May 2016

All six of the performers are good, …Two singers are surprises to me: Pascale Beaudin, who displays fine agility and a focused tone in “De la coquette volage,” and Antonio Figueroa, whose poorly supported lower notes in “Oui, oui, je veux dans ma fureur” can’t conceal his stylishness or excellent enunciation.

Ryan Brown leads his forces very convincingly, working closely with his singers to show them off at their best. …Overall, this is one of the better productions I’ve heard from Opera Lafayette. The casting is solid, and in a few instances, far more than that. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Clara O'Brien / Lance Hulme
Early Music America, March 2016

A cast of young, energetic singers brings this miniature comedy to life with Opera Lafayette. Claire Debono portrays Madame Riss with spry agility and powerful emphasis, …Her light, clarion voice is equally capable of subtlety and drama, embodying the character’s emotional twists and turns. Jeffrey Thompson, as Monsieur Riss, seduces the listener with artfully modulated vocal colors and minutely detailed phrasing. Every nuance of passion and longing is detectable in his highly expressive and versatile light lyric tenor. Bel canto elegance shines in Pascale Beaudin’s brilliant rendition of Madame la President’s aria, “De la coquette volage.” Her warm-timbred lyricism offsets the fiery melismas in this show-stopping vignette. …As Madame Lek, mezzo-soprano Blandine Staskiewicz strikes a skillful balance between supple tone and pointed details. Her passages with Beaudin greatly enhance the texture of the ensembles, and the pavane-like duet with Thompson is a distinct highlight. Antonio Figueroa’s fresh tenor provides a youthful, mischievous element to the ensemble in the role of Le President, while Alex Dobson, with an ample baritone, lends gravity as Monsieur Lek. © 2016 Early Music America



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, March 2016

…the music to Les femmes vengées is quite delightful. …The men…are excellent and well cast in their roles. The duet “Ah, quel plaisir,” for Le Président (Antonio Figueroa, tenor) and Monsieur Lek (Alex Dobson, baritone), is a real charmer. …the highlight of the opera is the minor-key quartet for Le Président, Monsieur Lek, Monsieur Riss (Jeffrey Thompson, tenor), and Madame Lek (Blandine Staskiewicz, mezzo-soprano). It’s very cleverly written… © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Judith Malafronte
Opera News, February 2016

Opera Lafayette’s young cast…sing with clean, stylish vocalism and manage the comedy capably. But it’s Ryan Brown’s orchestra that steals the show, playing with rich contrasts, clarity and verve. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review



Matthew Parsons
American Record Guide, January 2016

This is smiling music. Ensembles abound: three duets, three trios, one quartet, and one sextet. The orchestra indulges in an often chugging accompaniment. The singers are a finely matched set, blending well in the frequent ensembles, with enough individuality in their solo forays. The orchestra is a delight too. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



P.J. Dwyer
Toronto Early Music News, December 2015

François-André Philidor…is worthy of a full musical revival, kudos to Ryan Brown and Opéra Lafayette. © 2015 Toronto Early Music News Read complete review



Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, November 2015

What a charming and entertaining comedy—full of agreeable melodies and quite a lot of drama.

…should appeal to most opera lovers. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, October 2015

The recording was made over two days immediately after the production, thus retaining the frisson of live performance without the attendant noises off. Indeed it does full justice to the performers.

I enjoyed this much more than I had anticipated… © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2015

Though François-André Philidor was a founder of French Opera-Comique, his musical background was such that he could not indulge in their trivial comedies. Indeed we could well look upon him as an inspiration of Mozart’s comedies, and that was certainly the case with Les Femmes Vengees, which was seen by the young Mozart on a visit to Paris, his subsequent plot for Cosi fan tutte, having a striking resemblance. As was fashionable in the late 18th century, opera was a series of arias interspersed with spoken dialogue to take the story forward. In this case it is to expose two erring husbands, their wives in league with their friend who has been the recipient of their unwelcome flirting. As you will expect in a comedy, all ends happily with chastised husbands. The present disc only contains the music, and you then have to go to the Naxos website to find the linking dialogue. The quality of Philidor’s writing is evident in the overture, and the following mix of arias and ensembles ending with a sextet that is both impressive and pleasurable. The booklet’s pictures of Opera Lafayette’s staged production would indicate a work of great delight, a fact manifest by the pleasure here given by this American company based in Washington DC. The cast is derived from multi-national singers with careers in international opera houses, the Maltese soprano, Claire Debono, spinning a pleasing lyric line as Madame Riss at the centre of the tripartite ladies. Of the male singers, I was most impressed by the Canadian-born lightweight tenor, Antonio Figueroa as Monsieur le President. Virtuosity from Pascale Beaudin in her arietta, De la coquette volage, the fast fluttering voice of the French mezzo, Blandine Staskiewicz, rather stealing the performance with Madame Lek’s aria, Si jamais je fais un ami. The period instrument orchestra, under the direction of their founder, Ryan Brown, is excellent with impeccable intonation, the spirited overture setting the scene for this gentle comedy of manners. © 2015 David’s Review Corner



Patrick Dillon
Opera Canada, September 2015

…soprano Claire Debono and tenor Jeffrey Thompson, as Madame and Monsieur Riss, clearly know their business and deliver their goods el la mode. So does mezzo Blandine Staskiewicz, as Madame Lek, …And as always, conductor Ryan Brown’s zest is infectious. © 2015 Opera Canada





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