CD and Other Review

Review: Rameau: Castor et Pollux (Pinchgut Opera)

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Tragédie en musique Castor et Polluxreceived merely a lukewarm reception when it was first performed at the Paris Opéra in 1737. However, its 1754 revision turned out to be a complete triumph. That’s the version Australia’s Pinchgut Opera presented in Sydney, December 2012, from which live performances this recording was assembled. One of Rameau’s most popular operas, containing music of exceptional quality and beauty, it’s surprising this was the first time the work had been performed in Australia in its entirety. Better 258 years later than never, I suppose. It is also of great comfort that this is such a fine interpretation. The story is straightforward. The immortal Pollux offers to marry his deceased mortal brother’s widow, Télaïre. She’d rather have her husband back, which request Jupiter agrees to grant providing Pollux takes his slain brother’s place in Hades. Castor’s filial love is too strong, however, and he insists on spending one day only with the grieving Télaïre. Impressed, Jupiter makes Castor immortal as well and both brothers are placed among the constellations as the heavenly twins. Conductor Antony Walker and harpsichord continuo player Erin Helyard are fully conversant with the style of the French Baroque, and the…

May 8, 2014