Opera Lafayette Releases Recording of LE ROI ET LE FERMIER
Opera Lafayette, renowned for its interpretation of early French opera, announces the release of its ninth recording on the Naxos label, Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny's 1762 opéra-comique to a libretto by Michel-Jean Sedaine, Le Roi et le fermier. Artistic Director Ryan Brown conducts the Opera Lafayette Orchestra in this world premiere recording featuring tenor Thomas Michael Allen and baritone William Sharp in the title roles, with sopranosDominique Labelle and Yulia Van Doren, mezzo Delores Ziegler, tenors Tony Boutté and Jeffrey Thompson, and baritone Thomas Dolié. The recording has been selected as a Key Release by the Naxos label for August 2013 and will be available worldwide on August 27, 2013. The recording is now available digitally on iTunes, Amazon, and the Naxos Music Library, and Ryan Brown can be heard discussing the work on the August 1 Naxos podcast.
Naxos Founder Klaus Heymann praised the recording: "This premiere recording, with its cast of star singers and superlative orchestral forces, represents a significant next step in our continuing series of recordings devoted to French opera from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I am confident that it will be a standard bearer for recordings of the genre for a while to come, with Opera Lafayette giving outstanding service to the work that made Monsigny's name. Distinguished by innovations that foreshadow the full bloom of Romanticism, Le Roi et le fermier qualifies as a milestone in operatic history."
Opera Lafayette performed the modern world premiere of Le Roi et le fermier in January 2012 in Washington and New York, before taking the work to France in February as part of the Château de Versailles Spectacles series. The work has a storied history in France and Versailles, having first faced criticism from the censors for its frank treatment of class issues before, ironically, being taken up and performed at Versailles by Marie Antoinette in 1780. Opera Lafayette performed the work on the same sets used by Marie Antoinette, with France's Opéra magazine noting, "this production should be noted and remembered in the annals of Versailles, for the intelligence of its staging, the beauty of its sets, and its high musical quality." Opera Lafayette has been invited back to Versailles for five performances from January 30 to February 2, 2014, with its "French Così" project, consisting of a French version of Mozart's Così fan tutte paired with its mirror-image predecessor, François Andre Danican Philidor's Les Femmes Vengées.
Opera Lafayette is an American period-instrument ensemble that specializes in French repertoire, rediscovers masterpieces, and creates a recorded legacy of its work. Founded in 1995 in Washington, DC, by Conductor and Artistic Director Ryan Brown, Opera Lafayette has earned critical acclaim and a loyal following for its performances and recordings with international singers renowned for their interpretations of baroque and classical operas. The New York Times has said that, "Opera Lafayette ... has built a sterling reputation through specializing in rarities by Gluck, Grétry and the like." Opera Lafayette's season includes performances at major venues in Washington, DC, and New York City. At the invitation of Châteu de Versailles Spectacles, Opera Lafayette made its international debut at the Opéra Royal in February 2012 with the modern premiere of Monsigny's Le Roi et le fermier. France's Opéra Magazine said, "This production should be noted and remembered in the annals of Versailles, for the intelligence of its staging, the beauty of its sets, and its high musical quality." Opera Lafayette will return to Versailles for five performances in January and February of 2014.
Opera Lafayette's discography on the Naxos label has expanded to nine releases, including Gluck'sOrphée et Euridice (2005), Sacchini's Œdipe à Colone (2006), Rameau Operatic Arias (2007), Lully's Armide (2008), Rebel and Francœur's Zélindor, roi des Sylphes (2009), Monsigny's Le Déserteur (2010), Philidor's Sancho Pança (2011), Grétry's Le Magnifique (2012), and Monsigny's Le Roi et le fermier (2013). Félicien David's Lalla Roukh and Philidor's Les Femmes Vengées are to follow in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Ryan Brown is the founder, conductor, and artistic director of Opera Lafayette. Through his work with Opera Lafayette, Mr. Brown has gained an international reputation for his interpretations of French opera, and in particular for his role in the revival of works from the 18th-century. These performances have highlighted the various traditions of tragédie lyrique, opéra-ballet, opéra-comique, pastorale, and dramma-giocoso. Mr. Brown's performance repertoire and his discography for Naxos include masterpieces by well-known 18th-century composers (Gluck and Rameau) as well as rediscoveries of their contemporaries (Sacchini and Rebel/Francœur), works which exemplify traditions established in the 17th century (Lully and Charpentier), and those which point the way toward the music of the 19th century (Monsigny and Grétry). He was most recently praised for his revival of Félicien David's 1862 orientalist fantasy Lalla Roukh. His interpretations of Italian works by Mozart, Haydn, Paisiello and Cimarosa have also met with great acclaim. Mr. Brown was raised in a musical family in California, and performed extensively as a violinist and chamber musician before turning his attentions to conducting. In 2012, he made his debut with the Seattle Symphony and at the Opéra Royal in Versailles, leading Opera Lafayette in its international debut. In May 2012, Mr. Brown received La Médaille d'Or du Rayonnement Culturel from La Rennaisance Française.