“Mr. Morris’s invention—his mix of classic beauty and the absurd—is continually absorbing.”
Comédie Lyrique in a Prologue and Three Acts
Libretto by Adrien-Joseph Le Valois d’Orville
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
Nicholas McGegan, music director laureate
Bruce Lamott, chorale director
Mathias Vidal, haute-contre (Platée)
Chantal Santon Jeffery, soprano (L’Amour/La Folie)
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano (Thalie/Clarine)
Sara Couden, mezzo-soprano (Junon)
Aaron Sheehan, haute-contre (Thespis/Mercure)
Philippe-Nicolas Martin, baritone (Satyr/Cithéron)
Douglas Williams, baritone (Momus/Jupiter)
Isaac Mizrahi, costume designer
Adrianne Lobel, set designer
James F. Ingalls, lighting designer
The Mark Morris Dance Group and Philharmonia Baroque join forces once again for a wild and whimsical revival of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s masterpiece Platée, the story of a homely yet vain nymph who falls prey to a prank set by the gods. When this lively production, which features outrageous costumes by Isaac Mizrahi, premiered at Zellerbach Hall in 1998, it was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “an extraordinary theatrical and musical masterpiece—respectful, endlessly imaginative, and uproariously funny from beginning to end.”
Platée was among the most highly regarded of Rameau’s operas during his lifetime; to the surprise of many, it was even well received by France’s royal family, who commissioned it for the nuptials of the son of King Louis XV and Maria Theresa of Spain, who—according to contemporary sources—was no beauty. In an act of comic genius, Rameau created the role of Platée to be sung by a man, here played by the French high tenor Mathias Vidal.
Morris’ choreography mixes high camp with supreme craft, as dancers slither and jitter through Platée’s lush and magical swamp, the movement always sensitive to the richness of the effervescent Baroque score.
Sung in French with English supertitles.
Cal Performances Co-commission of revival; Co-produced by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
An Illuminations: Music and the Mind event >
Major support provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation
Patron Sponsors: Helen and John Meyer
Program notes will be available approximately one week before the performance.