by Timothy Robson
Through a combination of scheduling conflicts and the sin of sloth, I had never heard a performance by the highly regarded Cleveland Baroque ensemble Les Délices until Sunday afternoon May 4, in the Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church, Shaker Heights. Les Délices are artists in residence at the church, so this was home base, although they regularly perform in other venues around town. The evening before they had presented this program, “The Leading Man,” at the William Busta Gallery. These concerts ended their 2014/15 series, and the Sunday afternoon concert was, with a couple of niggling reservations – more about them later – an unalloyed pleasure.
Boston-based tenor Jason McStoots was the featured soloist in a program of excerpts from 18th century French operas (all written in the span of four years from 1745-1748), with an added set from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s 1684 opera Amadis. Each set included one or two vocal selections, plus instrumental movements to put the airs and recitatives into context. Oboist Deborah Nagy, leader of Les Délices, gave remarks about the operas and music preceding each set to the nearly-full house. [Read more…]