Lully’s 1683 tragédie en musique, a morality play about the reckless ambition of Phaéton, son of the Sun, was tailor-made for the court of Louis XIV: its classical plot, adapted from Ovid, created opportunities for spectacle, dance-inspired divertissement and affirmation of the Sun King’s glory.
Full marks to Rousset for engineering its modern revival in a scintillating concert performance a year ago in Paris, from which this recording is taken.
The music is anything but formulaic, and Rousset’s cast – led by honey-voiced tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro in the title role, Ingrid Perruche as Queen Climène and the swallow-voiced Isabelle Druet as Théone – is so attuned to the style that even the lengthy recitatives come across as undiluted musical delight.
Christophe Rousset/Les Talens Lyriques
(Aparté) 2 CDs