The Cast

LA COMTESSE
- Laura Claycomb
LA BARONNE
- Joan Rodgers
LE COMMANDEUR DE
BEAUPRÉ - Alastair Miles
LE CHEVALIER DE MÉRAC
- Sébastien Droy
BRETONNE - Nicole Tibbels

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
Philharmonia Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
- Andrew Litton
The Daily Telegraph

'... a delightful soufflé, piquantly orchestrated and brimming with Gallic charm and chic. The coquettish Countess, adored by a gaggle of suitors, deals in dizzy coloratura. Dreamy, tenorish sentiment comes courtesy of her current toy-boy, the Chevalier. Andrew Litton and his cast deliver this high-class froth with verve and lightness of touch. Alastair Miles impresses as the affably cynical Commander, more excited by property than love. Sébastien Droy delivers his lovesong with honeyed elegance, while Laura Claycomb's Countess pirouettes into the stratosphere with easy grace.'
Gramophone

'It seems that Opera Rara may have done it again... this one will give pleasure wherever the recording is heard. La Cour de Célimène was introduced at the Opéra Comique in 1855, a time of mass production of new operas in Paris, and was dropped after 19 performances. Presumably, with its courtly setting in the ancien regime it would have appeared to the more serious-minded and left-inclined of Parisians to be reactionary in its nostalgic appeal and trivial in every other respect. Today the first reaction is likely to be gratitude and delight in the discovery of a score which, if not coming up with "big" tunes, is unfailingly melodious. We may also be more inclined to credit the comedy with a certain sophistication, the light irony of a raised eyebrow surveying the human scene, as in . At least if time rejects it yet again it will not be the fault of this performance. Both sopranos manage the florid work with apparent ease, Laura Claycomb soaring aloft gracefully, Joan Rodgers having the additional warmth to suit the Baroness's more thoughtful nature. Alastair Miles enjoys himself in his role of worldly aristocrat with the attributes of a virtuoso and a buffo bass. Sébastien Droy has the right lightness and youth of voice and manner, and, as the only Frenchman, does not show up the efforts of the English in his language. Chorus and orchestra contribute splendidly; Andrew Litton conducts with stylish zest; recorded sound is clear and well balanced.'
BBC Music Magazine

'Opera Rara's latest release - a world premiere recording, unsurprisingly - represents a canny rediscovery, for La cour de Célimène is an utterly charming work... Within just a few bars, the overture evokes an atmosphere of the ancien regime, and the music remains graceful and lively throughout. Andrew Litton conducts the Philharmonia with panache. The Countess is characterised in some dazzling coloratura, which Laura Claycomb sings with aplomb. Her widowed sister, the Baroness, takes a dim view of her amorous games but is not above some florid vocalism herself, and Joan Rodgers's slightly darker tone establishes a perfect contrast here. The worthy and pompous Commander is brought to life in the robust bass of Alastair Miles, and his rival Chevalier is sung with idiomatic ease by the French tenor Sebastien Droy... There is plenty of listening pleasure here in another well-recorded Opera Rara gem.'