Pushing French Baroque arias to the edge

Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter teams up with talented musicians for a beautifully emotional collection of Baroque arias

Composer: Charpentier, Lambert, Rameau
Repertoire: French Baroque Arias 
Artists: Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
Rating:  4.5/5
Genre: Vocal/Instrumental
Label: Archiv 477 8610

In her first disc devoted to French Baroque opera, Anne Sofie von Otter joins forces with experts in the field, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants (who are fabulous in the instrumental tracks). Von Otter is charming in the pastoral fare from Lambert, but much of this is dramatic, tragic, crazy music and she isn’t afraid to push her warm, supple voice to the edge of graininess to express the wild emotions. She’s particularly effective as the tortured anti-heroine Médée in extensive extracts from Charpentier’s opera – it’s not pretty, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.