To mark the centenary of the death of Camille Saint-Saëns, the Palazzetto Bru Zane offers a chance to discover one of his most performed and admired operas in his lifetime, presented here in a rare version. Completed in 1893 and premiered the same year at the Opéra-Comique, the piece amusingly recounts the love affair between Nicias and Phryné, who dupes the old archon Dicephilus in order to avenge his cruelty. Its witty melodies and delightful orchestration made the opera an immediate success in Paris and then throughout France. It was enriched with recitatives composed by André Messager in 1896 to promote its career in theatres abroad. Hervé Niquet’s dashing interpretation brings out to the full the qualities of the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen Normandie and the Choeur du Concert Spirituel, thus providing a sparkling backdrop for the virtuosic soprano voice of Florie Valiquette, the refined lyricism of the tenor Cyrille Dubois and the vocal authority of Thomas Dolié’s baritone.
Recorded at the Opéra de Rouen Normandie from 31 March to 2 April 2021
1896 version with recitatives by André Messager