William Christie, music director and harpsichord
Sophie Daneman, stage director (semi-staged versions)
Reinoud Van MechelenActéon
Dido and AeneasLea Desandre*Dido
Elodie Fonnard*Second Woman
Maud GnidzazFirst Witch
Virginie ThomasSecond Witch
Reinoud Van MechelenSpirit/Sailor
* former laureate of Le Jardin des Voix
Les Arts Florissants
Emmanuel Resche and Théotime Langlois de Swarte, violins
Sophie de Bardonnèche, viola
Pier Luigi Fabretti, oboe
Thomas Dunford, theorbo
Alix Verzier, cello
The French early-music ensemble Les Arts Florissants has earned international acclaim for reviving Baroque opera with vivid theatricality, keen musicological insight, and a distinctly modern dramatic sense. Director William Christie leads the ensemble in two sonically rich works involving supernatural powers meddling in mortal affairs—Purcell's transcendent Dido and Aeneas and Charpentier's pastorale Actéon, each a seamless marriage of narrative and music.
Bringing together these two works on the same program is an idea dear to William Christie. These chamber operas, which rank among the most remarkable examples of the genre, are a marvelous complement to one another: Actéon was probably among a group of works presented in England at the end of the 17th century and may have supplied the young Purcell with a direct source of inspiration for his Dido and Aeneas (in which the libretto actually mentions the story of the unfortunate hunter devoured by his own dogs). By associating the Franco-Italian elements of Charpentier's writing with the style of the budding British school, the "Orpheus Britannicus" (as Purcell was known) was able to raise English opera to the summit of elegance and eloquence. Featuring a fresh young cast that includes several former laureates from the Jardin des Voix, Les Arts Florissants' academy for young singers.
Les Arts Florissants (Thu, Nov 9)
Circa (Sat, Feb 3)
Apollo's Fire (Fri, Apr 20)
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 7pm
With musicologist Victor Gavenda.
Free to ticket holders.
Major support for public programs provided by Bank of America.
Program notes are available online. [PDF]
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