Hélène and Nuit persane

Paul Turok
Turok's Choice (USA)

Saint-Saëns' Hélène and Nuit Persane are impressively performed by sopranos Rosamund Illing, Leanne Kenneally, alto Zan McKendree-Wright and tenor Steve Davislim, with Guillaume Tourniaire leading the Belle Époque Chorus and Orchestra Victoria.

Hélène is a one-act opera in seven scenes, lasting about an hour, dealing with the illicit love of Helen of Troy for Paris, with four characters - the two already names, Venus (Leanne Kenneally) and Pallas (Zan McKendree-Wright). It is superbly written technically and beautifully orchestrated... Nellie Melba had great success with the ubiquitous title role; Illing sings superbly.

Nuit Persane is a half-hour cantata set to poems by Armand Renaud. It is in the French tradition of faux-Mideast... and its materials... have a tinge of Berlioz about them.

Fine performances in exemplary sound.