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While some will struggle to swallow some of Emmanuelle Haïm’s more extravagant mannerisms, not to mention the Carmen Miranda-grotesqueries of Pascal Bertin and Philippe Jaroussky in Purcell’s ‘Sound the trumpet’, it’s hard not to be swept along by the sheer élan of this live recording. The programme of works by Rameau, Lully, Purcell and Handel was chosen to mark the tenth anniversary of Le Concert d’Astrée. Last December’s performance, given in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, also helped raise awareness of the Institut Gustave Roussy, one of the world’s leading cancer research centres. Haïm enlisted a string of star names for the occasion, Natalie Dessay, Jaroussky and Sara Mingardo among them. The most interesting singing, for my money, comes from the lively lyric soprano Jaël Azzaretti and Patricia Petibon in La Folie’s boisterous aria from Platée. Above all, Haïm and her feisty team summon up the spirit of baroque spectacle for their celebratory feast.

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Early Music Today, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing