Gramophone Awards 2018 Finalist - Recital
Gramophone Magazine July 2017 Editor's Choice
International Opera Awards 2018 Winner - Solo Recital
After an album of French songs (Néère, Alpha215) that earned her a Gramophone Award in 2016, Véronique Gens presents her new recital, this time with orchestra, which gives her an opportunity to display the maturity of her ‘Falcon’ soprano, the central tessitura typical of French Romantic opera, which takes its name from Cornélie Falcon, who created the works of Meyerbeer and Halévy staged in the 1830s.
She pays tribute here to a number of composers whose unknown operas she was the first to reveal in projects mounted by the Palazzetto Bru Zane (which also coproduced the present recording), including David, Godard, Saint-Saëns and Halévy. The programme selects arias from all the genres in vogue in the Romantic era: opera (Saint-Saëns, Halévy, Godard, Février), opéra-comique (David), oratorio (Franck, Massenet) and the cantata for the Prix de Rome (Bizet, Bruneau).
It’s provocative stuff, its emotional – at times emotive – impact immeasurably heightened by very careful programming...Gens and Niquet throw themselves into all this with an engrossing mix of abandon and restraint. Gens’s trademark combination of purity of utterance and smoky tone speaks volumes. Gramophone
Gens is in fine voice – indeed, she seems to be in her prime. Her diction is as always immaculate and she produces a stream of elegant tone…and the required vocal heft to ride Massenet’s orchestra in the number from La Vierge. But it’s at her prayers that she excels; in Février’s Gismonda or Bruneau’s Geneviève. BBC ****