Marie-Nicole Lemieux; Ensemble Matheus; Jean-Christophe Spinosi
This recording features selections from the three Vivaldi operas which Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux has recorded for the Naïve label with the Ensemble Matheus directed by Jean-Christoph Spinosi - Orlando furioso, Griselda and La fida ninfa - as well as Vivaldi's Stabat Mater. Known for her extremely agile voice, unusual for a contralto, she is well able to manage the roller-coaster agitato passages better suited to a violin that Vivaldi (most unfairly) demands of singers. One is reminded, especially in the exhilarating “Sorge l'irato nembo” from Orlando furioso, of the fire of Marilyn Horne. It's no wonder this performance of the opera was acclaimed as the best recording of the year 2005 at the French “Victoires de la Musique” in Paris.
This recording also includes duets and trios with internationally acclaimed voices such as sopranos Sandrine Piau and Veronica Cangemi and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky with whom Lemieux's rich warm tones blend effortlessly. Lemieux is sublimely regal in the arias from one of the most beautiful settings of Stabat Mater. This is a singer well on her way to becoming a national treasure.