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Saint-Saens’ Wagnerian lyric drama tells of a courtesan cursed never to find love, a story to which the work’s harmonic boldness and full-throated drama are well suited. One of the composer’s most dissonant scores, it has hardly been heard since its 1887 premiere. If Gens is marvellous as the tortured Proserpine, it’s Henry who makes an even bigger impression as her innocent rival Angiola. She is relatively new to disc and we should hear more of her. As with other recordings in this series, Schirmer conducts with authority and panache, making the most of a fascinating score. This enterprising label should be congratulated for yet another imaginative release, beautifully recorded and handsomely packaged.

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