Marie Perbost Amour, Zaïde, Isménide, Florisse
NN Lucile, une Silphide
Fabien Hyon Léandre, un Gnome, un Silphe
Anna Reinhold Principale Nymphe, Zamide, Pircaride
Guilhem Worms Zoroastre, Zerbin, Adolphe, Numapire
Ensemble Il Caravaggio
Camille Delaforge Direction
Opera-ballet in a prologue and four acts on a libretto by Jacques Fleury, created at the Royal Academy of Music in Paris in 1736.
And what if glory also smiled on the young unknown? Here is the second French opera composed by a woman, or at least by a young girl: Mademoiselle Duval, a harpsichordist by trade, about whom we know almost nothing! A composer and dancer, born in 1718, her only opera was performed on the prestigious stage of the Académie royale de musique in 1736, playing the harpsichord herself for all nine performances, at the age of eighteen! The success of this opera, whose libretto was published under the patronage of Prince Victor-Amédée I of Savoy-Carignan, was very significant, and even unexpected: but nothing more will be known of Mademoiselle Duval, not even her first name... She will no doubt have married (well), leaving no trace in the archives.
Entitled Les Génies ou les Caractères de l'Amour, this heroic ballet is presented in the traditional form of a prologue and four acts, illustrating the general theme of love. Following the structure of the French tragedy, the characters are emblematic of opera librettos: Zoroaster, Love, Léandre, Lucile, Zaïde, Zamire, but also fairy-like characters such as genies, an Indian, sylphs, sylphids and nymphs and relates different scenes from baroque opera: invocation, sleep, magical characters, lovers and amorous quarrels. Of course, we think of Rameau, who had just given Hippolyte et Aricie in 1733 (his first opera, but he was fifty years old!), then triumphed with Les Indes galantes (1735), but it was also twilight time for Campra and Monteclair...
Never revived, this opera-ballet is an opportunity to defend an original repertoire by a woman composer, Mademoiselle Duval, who came four decades after the first French opera written by a woman: Céphale et Procris (1694). Les Génies is mentioned in Le Mercure galant, which gave a flattering review of the work: "Les Génies, ballet performed on Thursday 18 October 1736. The poem is by M. Fleury, and the music by Mlle Duval, a young person of great talent, as can be seen from this work, which is very varied and extremely well done in many respects. The recitative in general is highly applauded, the scenes well treated, the violin tunes well done and very cheerful...'. Then Mademoiselle Duval disappeared forever, no doubt returned to the wonderful bottle of one of her geniuses...
This heroic ballet will be revived under the auspices of another woman harpsichordist: Camille Delaforge, at the head of her Ensemble Il Caravaggio. An encounter in the land of music with a stranger!
This concert is supported by the Fonds Françoise Kahn-Hamm
This performance will be recorded for the Château de Versailles Spectacles label
Crusades RoomMore info
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