The Baroque era’s penchant for personifying madness ( La folie) in all its multitudinous guises as a woman produced some of the period’s most histrionically flamboyant and heartfelt music – as this ravishing collection of vocal and instrumental works vividly reveals.

France, where the dubious vogue began, is a dominant presence with lingering excursions into England and brief forays into Germany. Underlaying her creamy, characterful mezzo-soprano with her early training as an actress, mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d’Oustrac (great-grandniece of Francis Poulenc and protégé of William Christie) proves an eloquent guide.

Faultless in her home tongue, she is beguilingly seductive in an aria from André Campra’s Fêtes Vénitiennesand finds telling contrast in two versions of Séméléby Marin Marais (where she is evocatively backlit by Héloïse Gaillard’s hauntingly plaintive recorder) and André Cardinal Destouches,...

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