Rameau has on the whole not fared well in England. Years ago Lina Lalandi was a powerful advocate with her English Bach Festival, but that fizzled out. Glyndebourne eventually produced Hippolyte et Aricie in 2013 but it has not been revived and was generally not greatly enjoyed. The English National Opera had been first in the field with Castor et Pollux in 2011 in a much enjoyed (by some) production by the redoubtable Barry Kosky - and that was conducted by Christian Curnyn whose passionate commitment is infectious. And on Friday Christian was back with the same piece with his Early Opera Company in a concert performance at St John's, Smith Square.
This performance for me was most notable for the very special performance of Télaïre by Katharine Watson. The rest of the small cast included the always excellent Ashley Riches, Sophie Junker as distinctive and distinguished as ever, and the young bass Callum Thorpe whom one can never help noticing - lovely voice and strong presence. But Katherine Watson stole the show for me, together of course with the extraordinary Christian Curnyn, as persuasive an advocate in this music as he is for all other things he tackles - not least of course his Cavalli Giasone and Charpentier Médée that he undertook for us in Chicago in 2010 and 2011.
It was so nice to see Sally Jackson, our first bassoon in Chicago, in the EOC orchestra for this. It is indeed a small early music world!