As a pupil of Colin Davis, Ticciati has imbibed many of his mentor's stylistic antennae—not least in Berlioz, whose music has become a staple of his principal conductorship with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Ticciati's grasp of the music's romantic bloom is one of this disc's attractions, not least in the substantial (and purely orchestral) love scene from Roméo et Juliette. Even better is the support he and the SCO provide for Cargill in Berlioz's romantic song-cycle and youthful solo cantata.
The Scottish mezzo's lush timbre is well profiled in Les nuits d'été: her diction may sometimes leave room for improvement and the higher regions of 'Le spectre de la rose' put her under pressure, but 'Sur les lagunes' profiles her rich-and-fruity chest register, 'Absence' has rarely sounded more seductive and 'L'île inconnue' is ideally playful. Above all, Cargill invests the music with the radiance it demands, and her Cléopâtre really takes flight. Not since Régine Crespin 50 years ago has this music been so attractively interpreted on disc.