Ballet Royal de la Nuit

Ensemble Correspondances, Sébastien Daucé
196:46 (3 CDs and a DVD in a book)
harmonia mundi musique HMM 902603.606

‘Edition Intégrale et Définitive’ it proclaims, not to mention ‘Deluxe Edition’ and ‘Edition Spéciale – Version Définitive’.

This is an updated expansion – a completion, really – of a project whose first incarnation I reviewed here – haven’t changed my general views.

What has changed is that those dances that were not re-constructed for the 2015 recording have now been added and in 2017 the whole show was lavishly staged and filmed. My struggles with aspects of the musical performance practice extended to the staging, I’m afraid. It’s certainly striking but there’s nothing HIP or even ‘generally in keeping with the period’ about either the choreography or the costumes and I actually thought the rushing around during the overture was rather silly. But I will acknowledge that if you think that a Baroque Spectacular is best staged as a Modern Spectacular you’ll find it thrilling. It’s simply that I found the conflict between what I was seeing and what I was hearing too great. A marvellous show, but perhaps a missed opportunity.

David Hansell

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