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The mezzo crops again on her compatriot Sabine Devieilhe’s album, Mirages. This collection of French arias and songs showcases the coloratura soprano in music that reflects the 19th-century fascination with all things exotic. The accompanying booklet is littered with words such as ‘perfume’, ‘mysterious’ and ‘dreamlike’; Edward Said must be turning in his grave. Devieilhe opens with Messager’s sensuous aria from Madame Chrysanthème, which she stylishly slithers through, followed by such old diva warhorses as the Bell Song from Lakmé and Ophélie’s Mad Scene from Thomas’ Hamlet. There are also some rarities like the Quatre poèmes hindous by Delage, each painting the atmosphere of an Indian city in deftmusical brushstrokes. The soprano’s voice is pure but never anaemic, and the vocal pyrotechnics cause her no moments of strain or alarm: everything is despatched with ultimate confidence born of a sure technique. Crebassa makes her positive mezzo contributions in duets from Lakmé and Thaïs, the latter an enjoyably unusual choice, the duet for Crobyle and Myrtale. François-Xavier Roth conducts with sensitivity and supports his soprano without over-indulging her. An album that I imagine will delight Devieilhe’s growing number of fans.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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