Press Release: LD escapes to an Enchanted Island


This February 24-26, the lush soundscapes of Rameau and Clérambault will transport you to a mystical island, where nymphs and muses play love games amid the rippling waves and rustling leaves. In defiance of gloomy late-winter, Les Délices invites audiences to escape to a French Baroque paradise in performances of Enchanted Island, helmed by star soprano Sherezade Panthaki in her Les Délices debut. Performances will take place on Friday, Feb. 24th at 7:30 pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Akron; Saturday, Feb. 25th at 7:30 pm at Inlet Dance’s Studios at The Pivot Center in Cleveland; and Sunday, Feb. 26th at 4:00 pm at Herr Chapel, Plymouth Church UCC in Shaker Heights. 

While Les Délices enjoys an increasingly varied repertoire, including collaborations with living composers and forays into both Medieval and Classical idioms, the ensemble is renowned for its peerless execution of French Baroque music. In this way, Enchanted Island  represents a return to roots for the ensemble. Says Artistic Director Debra Nagy, “I’m always motivated to bring audiences music that they haven’t heard before – or that they won’t hear anywhere else – and this program is no different. French Baroque music is simultaneously sensuous, spirited, and indulgent and it’s been a specialty of Les Délices since the group’s beginnings. I particularly love presenting cantatas, which are a rather unique genre; it’s almost like a miniature opera scaled down for a living room.”

Soprano Sherezade Panthaki will perform two full-length cantatas on the program: Clérambault’s L’île de Delos and Rameau’s Le berger fidèleBoth works showcase Panthaki’s refined style and “astonishing coloratura”(Calgary Herald).  Clérambault’s pastoral confection L’île de Delos welcomes listeners to an island paradise where wisdom and pleasure are in perfect harmony. Rameau’s more dramatic Le berger fidèle is studded with keening dissonances and chromaticism, vividly portraying a shepherd’s distress at the goddess Diana’s dictate that he sacrifice his lover. The triumph of love is celebrated in one of Rameau’s most delightful arias, “L’amour, qui règne dans votre âme.

Panthaki is joined for these performances by LD Artistic Director and oboist Debra Nagy, violinists Julie Andrijeski and Shelby Yamin, viola da gambist Rebecca Reed, and harpsichordist Mark Edwards.

A linchpin of Les Délices for the past several seasons, harpsichordist Mark Edwards enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist and chamber musician across North America and Europe. In Enchanted Island, Mark emerges from the continuo section to perform excerpts from François Couperin’s suite of harpsichord solo works Le sixième ordre, containing one of the best-known pieces ever composed for the instrument: the shimmering and intoxicating Les Barricades Mystérieuses (Mysterious Barricades). 

The program closes with excerpts from Rameau’s opera-ballet Les Surprises de l’Amour, composed at the behest of Madame de Pompadour, chief mistress of Louis XV. A grand divertissement or entertainment, Les Surprises featured de Pompadour herself singing two of the main soprano characters, including Urania, the Muse of Astrology in the opera-ballet’s second act, La lyre enchantée (the enchanted lyre). For Enchanted Island, Sherezade Panthaki fills de Pompadour’s shoes, performing the opera’s climactic scene in which Urania touches the fated lyre and instantly falls for the human musician Linus. The ensemble will also perform charming dances from the opera in new arrangements by LD’s Debra Nagy.

Les Délices’ 2022-23 Season Renewal comprises two concurrent series: their ticketed Concert Series and a third season of SalonEra, their free early music-focused web series. Their Concert Series will conclude with  Isabella’s Renaissance (Apr 21-23, 2023)  a fascinating new program of Renaissance music featuring international guest artist Anna Danilevskaia, (vielle player and director of Basel-based Sollazzo Ensemble) alongside favorite collaborators.

Single Tickets ($28-$45) are available via Les Délices’ website (