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Ralph P Locke
Opera Today, January 2018

Denève and the orchestra follow the singers every step of the way, or sometimes (as required) anticipate and guide them. One can sense the players’ enjoyment of numerous passages, such as the galumphing figure that repeatedly accompanies, in interestingly varied ways, the heavy-footed Ramiro (as he lugs grandfather clocks upstairs and down) or the long trombone glissando that comments on the discomfort of overweight Don Iñigo, stuck inside a big clock. © 2018 Opera Today Read complete review

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, July 2017

The singers are a brisk, effervescent bunch, pattering away with sophisticated whimsy. Mezzo Stéphanie D’Oustrac is a charming, soubrettish Concepción, and among her three potential bedmates for the hour, the self-absorbed poet Gonzalve stands out for tenor Yann Beuron’s portrayal of an aesthete who would rather versify than get down to business.

In both the opera and song cycle, Ravel used a half-sung, half-spoken style of delivery that emphasizes the flow of French over any attempt at extended melody. It’s not the easiest idiom for a singer, and the full-voiced D’Oustrac is very appealing, supported with an emphasis on orchestral color by Denève—their reading is the best thing here. Good but not remarkable recorded sound; texts in French without translations. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Ralph P Locke
American Record Guide, May 2017

[D’Oustrac’s] voice, as befits an experienced singer of early music, is firm and precise; her diction is wonderfully clear. True, it does not bloom as fully as some other singers who have recorded these pieces, …But the compensations are numerous and gratifying. …She brings tension and fear into the narration as the images move to include assassins and beheadings, yet without ever breaking the smoothness of the vocal line—quite an achievement!

The mezzo brings this same vocal mastery and keenness of characterization to the role of Concepcion in L’Heure Espagnole. She differentiates wonderfully between moments when Concepcion is addressing one of the other characters and when she is musing quietly to herself. She catches many glints of humor, not least in the frequent word-play. …D’Oustrac’s attention to the conversational nature of the words is further emphasized by her clear and naturalsounding pronunciation; the letter R is guttural, as one hears it in most of France, rather than rolled or trilled.

The four men sing extraordinarily well and as native French-speakers pronounce the sometimes rapid dialog beautifully. Fouchecourt, a renowned high tenor, limns the character of the clockmaker superbly. Beuron and Gay are careful to avoid caricature in roles that are patently ridiculous: as a result, their performances will hold up well to repeated hearings.

Deneve and the orchestra follow the singers every step of the way, and sometimes anticipate and guide them. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2016

If you already have good recordings for both of the works on this CD, just buy it for Stéphanie d’Oustrac. The French mezzo is terrific in Shéhérazade as well as in L’heure espagnole. A great and superb voice that has every bit of the flexibility needed for the two so different characters. Stéphane Denève and his SWR Orchestra form Stuttgart are no less convincing. © 2016 Pizzicato

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