Press review


L'Ormindo, Cavalli

Opera - Friday , May 01, 2015

By Anna Picard

"This reissue of Jérôme Correas's recording of L'Ormindo with Les Paladins coincided with the recent revival of Kasper Holten's Royal Opera staging at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with the Early Opera Company. The opening chords of Cavalli's prologue shimmer like sunlight on water. The string playing is supple, the decorations organic, the continuo delicately shaped, the phrasing spacious yet firm, like a perfectly sprung king-size bed in a discreet boutique hotel. If the honeymoon hideaway effect is accidental, it is nonetheless apposite : beds and what happens in beds are central to L'Ormindo, as they are to much of Cavalli's work.

The difficulty with this opera, as shown in Holten's candlelit, punk-Baroque production, is how to navigate a path from daffy sexual infatuation (with a side-order fo bunny-boiling) to a love so profound that those who share it would rather die than be separated. The pathos of the Act 3 prison scene, with its fading light and fading breaths, is undeniable but it is as though an Offenbach farce had been hijacked by Wagner, albeit briefly. Unlike Giasone there is no heroic myth to lend backbone to all the panting and sighing and bed-hopping. The supernatural elements are entirely faked : a fake fortune-teller, a fake ghost, both concocted to bring an errant lover to heel. A happy ending is assumed, no dead bodies allowed, so how to occupy ourselves? Can we sympathize with flighty Erisbe, who distracts herself from her erotically under-charged marriage to the elderly king Hariadeno with not one but two lovers, one of whom, Amida, is also a cheat? Can we care about Sicle, whose love for Amida approaches stalker-like levels of obsession? Can we believe that when Erisbe elects to elope from Fez with Ormindo, it is sincere?

 

The answer, I suspect, is to do as the San Cassiano audience did in 1644 and not over-think.

If you take the 17th-century Venetian model seriously, you might enjoy a nice picnic, drink a liberal amount of wine, engage in conversation, fist-fights, flirtation and perhaps a little more in the hour or so that it takes L'Ormindo to get going.

So ecstatic and enchanting is Sandrine Piau's L'Armonia, her voice sparkling in the vertiginous decorations, that the lovesick mortals who follow her seem earthbound by comparison. The earthiest of these are the servants, led by Dominique Visse's irrepressible Nerillo, outstanding in the Frankie Howerdish bluster of "Che città, che costumi, che gente!", which tells us all we need to know about contemporary attitudes to Morocco as a den of vice and spice, though the morals being mocked are those of venice. In the travesti role of Erice, Jean-François Lombard delivers a pungent homily to gold-digging in 'Invan spendete l'ore", while Karine Deshayes and benoît Arnould are a nicely balanced Mirinda and Osmano, the former blunty ageist in matters of the bedroom ("Non torrei per marito un uom canuto!"), the latter quick-witted enough to substitute a sleeping draft for the poison administered to Stéphanie Révidat's lithe Erisbe and Martin Oro's underpowered Ormindo.

One holds little hope for the long-term happiness of Howard Crook's Amida and Magali Léger's Sicle, but their Act 3 duet "Saett'amor, saetta" is suavely and sexily shaped. As the cuckholded king, the bass Jacques Bona enjoys some of the stongest instrumental support, sinewy gambas and doleful harp. Reunited with his long-lost son (Ormindo, no less), he retires from the throne and his marriage. A wise decision in the circumstances."


" Les Indes Galantes " by Rameau

Télégramme - Thursday , January 08, 2015

By Eliane Faucon - Dumont

In this refined and elegant music, calling at any time to dance. [...] In his Prologue in which shine the strings (...) it thunders, voices unite, beautiful. [...] The singers are all beautiful and their voices harmonize perfectly in the air, the recitatives. And Indian dance enchants its audience.

"Les Indes Galantes" - Rameau

Ch'io mi scordi di te - Saturday , December 27, 2014

By Emmanuelle Pesqué

"Jérôme Correas (who once was a terrifying Bellone in Aix-en-Provence under the direction of William Christie) knows its Rameau like the back of his hand. And it shows : despite the thinness of his troops, he knows how to extract the sap of this score, all sensuality and energy, to make its inherent seduction appear. The Musicians of the Paladins, specially displayed and all heart and soul, design with rigour and taste the different voices. They give free reign to those skilful constructions which they colour with a dash, underlining their whispers and chants. (Hats off to Samuel Crowther and Timothée Oudinot whose flute and oboe bring a surfeit of warmth and tremor to the charms of a very seducing chord stand.) If we are used to a more fleshy Rameau, we can only be charmed by the fervour exuded by those lines of strengh, thusly stripped in an outline which gains in strengh and light all along the evening, to culminate on a chaconne making us want to gambol on our seats."


"The Surprises of Love"

Opera Today - Monday , October 06, 2014

By Claire Seymour

"In a performance which combined wit and charm with nobility and grace.[...] Correas successfully strove to embody a Baroque spirit of theatre and imagination. Contrasts of dynamic, register and timbre were exaggerated and celebrated, textures were by turns airy, then plangent, and such vivid shifts engendered a dramatic, playful - and at times, fantastical - mood. Equally at home with the jovial and the sensual, the instrumentalists of Les Paladins [...] entered fully into the spirit of Correas's endeavour, playing expressively and vivaciously, and giving each musical motif and melody a fresh character.[...] it was a stylish, elegant presentation of an esoteric selection of works, delivered with wit, poise and sublimity. The marriage of effortless technical profiency with natural musicianship made for an elevating evening."


"The Surprises of Love"

Music OMH - Sunday , October 05, 2014

By John - Pierre Joyce

" What was presented was done with verve, clarity and musicianship of the highest quality. In this, Les Paladins were aided by soprano Sandrine Piau, who ranks as one the best interpreters of Rameau's music.[...] He [Correas] also showed himself to be a witty commentator [...] with plenty of anecdotes and none-too-serious explanations of Rameau's complex operatic plots. Les Paladins themselves clearly have plenty of talent (...). Stately overture to Les Indes Galantes was played with an unusual liveliness, and the rough-edged, peasant origins of the tambourin and contredanse forme Les Surprises de l'Amour revealed another facet of Rameau's music."


"The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland" by Monteverdi

Nice Matin - Monday , June 03, 2013

By André Peyrègne

"The Baroque repertory isn't often programmed on the niçoise scene. It just made a come-back with the... Return of Ulysses, by Montverdi to be precise. An examplary show! Examplary with its voices, its musicians of the Paladins ensemble and their leader Jérôme Correas, by the skilfulness of the director Christophe Rauck who managed to create a baroque atmosphere in modern costumes. Examplary by its "modernist" approach of baroque musique. This is due to the way the "recitatives" were handled in "parlé-chanté" (talking-singing)(...). A man ruled over this masterfuly, like Jupiter the world of Ulysses : the conductor Jérôme Correas. Ulysses will have been a delight!"


"The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland" by Monteverdi

Classica - Thursday , May 30, 2013

By Jérôme Bigorie

"From the beguening of the Opera, a rare quality of listening is established. It will be maintained for more than three hours by the show. The importance given to the theatrical dimension, the desire of readability knowing how to take advantage of the baroque scenographic effects and the shifts of register between caracters (gods, heroes and second roles) find their vocal counterpart in a work on the "parlé-chanté" (speaking-singing)."


" The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland" by Monteverdi

Le Nouvel Observateur - Monday , March 25, 2013

By Raphaël de Gubernatis

« Les Paladins sign a remarkable performance. Mostly remarkable for the musical achievement conducted by Jérôme Correas, and for the vocal one, both to praise (…). For the ones who love Monteverdi whose music is here so simply and nobly used, for these other ones who like when the singers act as good as they sing, this Return of Ulysses in his Homeland is a delight (…). From the main roles - Ulysse (Jérôme Billy), Pénélope (Blandine Folio Peres), Télémaque (Anouschka Lara), Minerve (Dorothée Lorthiois) – to the secondary ones, all the work, splendidly performed by musicians in the orchestra, is accomplished with what we could name the dignity and rigour one can find in a well-done job. »


"The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland" by Monteverdi

Forum Opera - Wednesday , February 27, 2013

By Jean - Marcel Humbert

"We meet again with great pleasure the Paladins, directed by Jérôme Correas : sonorous brightness, instrumental accuracy, they would make the most refractory love ancient instruments and Baroque. Mostly, the equilibrium between the pit and the set is perfect. All the more so as since a remarquable Crowning of Popee, a true complicity has built itself between the leader and the director Christopher Rauck, who evolves continuously through very varied repertories and between theatre and opera, and whose conceptionof the lyrical theatre is both clear and pragmatic. The audience, hold spellbound form the first scene to the last, stays strangely facinated, and not a single sit is cleared after the interlude, a revealing sign. Interminable ovations and curtain calls salute the ending of the performance of this exceptionnal success."


"The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland" by Monteverdi

La Croix - Friday , February 22, 2013

By Emmanuelle Giuliani

« Partners since their collaboration in the Coronation of Poppaea, by the same composer (…), the conductor Jérôme Correas and the stage director Christophe Rauck weave a poetic universe hard to resist  (…). Are we in an opera or at the theatre ? There is no real answer, so much as the feelings and the action are influenced by the intimist alliance between text and music. Sometimes, the sprechgesang style that Jérôme Correas works deeply with his performers can astonish an audience accustomed to « pure singing ». But the ears quickly persuade themselves of the relevance and eloquence of this process that invites passion, exuberant or tragic, to express deeply. (…) Both actors and singers, the participants of this Return, are a coherent group, looking in the same direction. To the final and collective applause to collect together the bravos and vivas from the audience, largely winned and legitimately shared with the excellent instrumentalists of les Paladins conducted by Jérôme Correas. »


"The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland" by Monteverdi

Concert Classic - Monday , February 11, 2013

By Roger Tellar

"Two Years after a Crowning of Popee inhabited and credible throught and through, the Paladins, still guided by Jérôme Correas, recur with The Ruturn of Ulysses to his Homeland, confirming precious montverdian affinities(...) in front of the many listening joys (through voices as through instruments) of which the present performance is rich of. Doubtlessly one of the two or three truely innovative readings of this monument of humanity that is the Return, without any prejudice to the glory of an Incoronazione today presumed more than ever monteverdian."


"Tenebris, Light of the Tenebrae"

Le Devoir - Friday , January 25, 2013

By Christophe Huss

"What a marvel! Here is an hypnotic and facinating disc. Jérôme Correas and his Paladins explore the French Lessons of Tenebrae. When alluding to the genre, we think of Charpentier or Couperin, but the first isn't on the program, while the second is represented by a major work : the Sonate in trio "La visonnaire". Correas looks for the sacred in the repertories of Sébastien de Brossard, Joseph Michel and Nicolas bernier. Their vocal works alternate with instrumental arrangements of lights and shadows. This contrast, which evokes the painting of Caravage, is justificated by the exacerbated theatrality of the religious music.

It is this freedom of expression that the Paladins and their excellent solists Isabelle poulenard and Jean-François Lombard celebrate. In a fascinating journey, we find here an unexpected post-montverdian French music, more torn than contemplative."


"Lights of the Tenebrae"

Le Progrès - Tuesday , September 18, 2012

By M.G

"With Passion and Talent, he [Jérôme Correas] led the audience into the Tenebrae (...) lit by luminous voices. In terms of voices, the festival chose a beautiful casting with the soprano Isabelle Poulenard and the countertenor Jean-François Lombard. Very expressive, their voices were going to "illuminate" this sacred music (...). Both plaintive and affected, these lamentations "cried" by the violins of Marion Korkmaz and Juilette Roumailhac won in lightness thanks to the tone of the singers and the touch of Jérôme Correas at the harpsychord. Nicolas Crnjanski at the cello accompagnied in continuous bass the works. All of them gave to those Lessons of Tenebrae a distinctive personality, blending musical declamation and ornamental profusion."


"Molière at the Opera"

L'Union - Saturday , Jully 07, 2012

By Francis Albou

"The music seemed so wonderful to us that it still rings our ears... (...) Mister Correas, the master of music, touching the harpsychord himself and showing the time, had had the good fortune to assemble in the most exquisite manner diverse fragments of comedies and ballets of our two Baptiste. The ensemble "les Paladins" had equilibrated his discourse so well, illuminated what it had of marvellous and comical so well, translated the music of our Lully with such elegance, accuracy and spontaneity that the whole public was charmed."


"The Triumph of Love"

Diapason - Monday , April 02, 2012

By Michel Parouty

"At the concert and on the disc, Sandrine Piau and Jérôme Correas chose to celebrate a century of love in music. From Lully to Gétry, via Campra, Charpentier, Rebel and Francoeur, Favart, Sacchini and Rameau, they stroll through a map of the Tender varied and undulating, not hesiting to propose rares pages (Scanderberg by Rebel and Francoeur, Renaud by Sacchini, La Bohémienne by Favart...) (...) the direction of Jérôme Correas has got for itself its dynamism, its vigour, and the sonorous spiciness of the Paladins merrymaking in the Ouvertures of Scanderberg, the Tableau Parlant and the danses of the Fêtes de Ramire."


"The Triumph of Love"

La libre Belgique - Monday , March 19, 2012

By Martine D.Mergeay

" There is in the direction (we could even speak of atmosphere) of Correas a obvious gift for the French baroque music, whose energetic, joyous, and sensual  personnality he delivers with spontaneity. The colours of the orchestra join perfectly this personnality - full cords, expressive and subtle woods - as well as the tempos, quite vivacious (...), and the generous commitment. We rediscover with him a freshness and an energy which benefits fully to the soprano, herself bringing to the ensemble her prestige and know-how."


"The Triumph of Love"

Les Echos - Friday , March 16, 2012

By Philippe Venturini

"[...] Lully, Rameau and others Gétry sing the aches, the pains and the romantic angers. The soprano Sandrine Piau lend them a clear, articulated and delicately nuanced voice, always watchful of the sense of the word and the prosody. Jérôme Correas accompany her with a confident hand in this coarse ascent of the sentiment by the north face. Both avoid pomposity and preserve a "Grand Siècle" nobility."


"The Egisto" by Mazzocchi and Marazzoli

Forum Opera - Monday , February 06, 2012

By Jean-Marc Humbert

"The ovation reserved to the artists by the public at the final salute shows that even if it mostly came out of curiosity, it found a great interest in the representation. As a woman admited during the interlude "it grows on you..." (...) a troupe whose cohesion is obvious. But this cohesion is also due to the excellence of itss leader, Jérôme Correas, who breathes into the ensemble its rythm and its respiration, and whose complicity with the set is present at each instant. The Paladins, in the pit, prove that ancient instruments can be audible and just when they are well hold. A beautiful show to see absolutely."


"The Egisto" by Mazzocchi and Marazzoli

Le Monde - Thursday , October 20, 2011

By Marie-Aude Roux

« The success of this opera comes from the talent of the 11 young performers, as smart to play the comedy as to sing on every pitch (the work on language is one of the asset of this production). The enthousiasm of Jérôme Correas, who conducts and plays the harpsichord, leads with him the soloists and musicians of his ensemble, les Paladins. »


"The crowning of Popee" by Monteverdi

Le Figaro - Tuesday , February 01, 2011

By Thierry Hilleriteau

 « This encounter between a real expert in baroque repertoire – the singer and conductor Jérôme Correas – and a stage director from the « pure theater », Christophe Rauck, has proven to seduce and tame an audience composed of music lovers and uninitiated. In the lead of Les Paladins, Jérôme Correas confirms to be, notably through his concerns about the text, one of the most exciting conductors of the young baroque generation in France. »


"The Zingara" by Charles Simon Favart

La Croix - Wednesday , September 01, 2010

By Emmanuelle Giuliani

« At the controls of this cheering opera whose music is efficient and evocative, the quicksilver conductor Jérôme Correas and the stage director André Fornier, a heir of the strapping and swirling spirit in the boards theater. La Zingara, performed in a tent, is presented like a family show (the children laughter is everywhere), meant not only for well-informed music-lovers but also for an audience still shy in front of the « great music ».


La Terrasse - Wednesday , March 03, 2010

By Jean-Guillaume Lebrun


"The crowning of Popee" by Monteverdi

Le Monde - Friday , January 01, 2010

By Marie-Aude Roux

« Credit needs to be shared with the flexible and sophisticated musical direction, still powerful and volubile, by Jérôme Correas in the lead of his (…) Paladins. An abundance of colours and phrases, with in particular a delicacy in the variety of the continuos. All of it on behalf of a declaiming, playing and singing music. The youthful ease of a scenic and musically very engaged cast (Valérie Gabail in Poppea, Maryseult Wieczorek in Neron, Francoise Masset in Octavia) has done all, leaving the audience deeply enthusiastic ».