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Rameau: Les Boréades

Friday January 24th 2020
8 pm | 3h with intermission


Deborah Cachet Alphise
Caroline Weynants Sémire, Love, Polimnie
Mathias Vidal Abaris
Benedikt Kristjánsson Calisis
Benoît Arnould Adamas
Tomáš Šelc Borilée
Nicolas Brooymans Borée
Lukáš Zeman Apollo

Collegium 1704
Václav Luks Musical Conductor


Rameau’s career was nearing its end when the rehearsals of his last composition, Les Boréades, began at the Académie Royale de Musique, in spring 1764. The death of the composer in September interrupted the production of his lyric tragedy, which was only saw the light of day two centuries later! This magnificent opera is certainly the most accomplished of Rameau’s works, composed as he was aged eighty and in full possession of his creative means: the composition for orchestra and choir is highly virtuoso, the melodic invention exceptional, the drama powerful: a true musical testament. The story unfolds in antique Bactria, in Central Asia: Queen Alphise must get married and the two sons of Boreas, the wind god, are both eager suitors. But she loves Abaris, a young foreigner, and resolves to obey the choice made by Apollo for her. Boreas’s fury unleashes storms, Alphise is abducted by the furious god whose anger only abates when he learns from Apollo that Abaris is his son: Boreas lays down his weapons before the godly lineage. The opera is a succession of tensions, unleashed elements, amorous duets and magnificent lamentations. For this monument of French music, Václav Luks brings together experienced soloists and his choir and orchestra, all familiar with Versailles: their talent will be recorded for our CD collection, a deserved tribute to Rameau.

Show in French with surtitles in French and English

Handwritten sources Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. Rés.Vmb Ms 4 and Vm² 398. Copyright 1982, 1998 and 2001, Alain Villain / Editions Stil, Paris.


Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764)
Les Boréades

Musical Tragedy in five acts on a libretto by Louis de Cahusac, created in 1982 in Aix-en-Provence.

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