Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore (conductor)
Hyperion’s Record of the Month for May is a showcase for Carolyn Sampson, the young soprano who is fast establishing a reputation for performances of dazzling virtuosity and musicality (for Hyperion she appears on several of The King’s Consort’s recordings, including those of music by Monteverdi, Schelle, Vivaldi and Zelenka). This is her first solo recording and more than lives up to expectation. Support is effectively supplied by the choir and orchestra of Ex Cathedra.
The recital presents arias from seven of Rameau’s operas, works which so dominated the stage of the Paris Opéra in the mid-1700s that their productions were officially ‘rationed’ so as not to depress other composers. By turns tender, voluptuous, nostalgic, teasing and even outrageously satirical, these arias provide us with one long moment of ravishing beauty.