Hélène and Nuit persane

Marcel Louis
Pizzicato (Luxembourg)

In 1904 at Monte Carlo, the Australian soprano Nellie Melba created Hélène, the lyric poem of Camille Saint-Saëns. The work would remain in the repertoire only so long as Melba championed it. 104 years after this Monegasque premiere, the Australian label Melba Recordings has produced the first recording of this work that captivates with the splendour of its orchestration and its sensuality. It makes a very good coupling with the cantata Nuit persane, a work rich in colours. Both benefit from this release’s excellent interpretations under the committed and inspired direction of French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire …

Rosamund Illing absolutely convinces in this recording where she blends well into the ensemble; she is perfectly at ease in her role and characterises with great passion. The excellent performance of Steve Davislim in the role of Paris, fitting interpretations by most of the other singers, and the vitality of the orchestra give both works a lot of atmosphere and character.