Cyrille Dubois Tarare
Karine Deshayes Astasie
Jean-Sébastien Bou Atar
Judith van Wanroij The Nature/Spinette
Enguerrand de Hys Calpigi
Tassis Christoyannis Arthénée/Le Génie du Feu
Jérôme Boutillier Urson/Un Esclave/Un Prêtre
Philippe-Nicolas Martin Altamort/Un Paysan/Un Eunuque
Les Chantres du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles (Direction Olivier Schneebeli)
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset Conductor
Antonio Salieri has achieved the iconic status of famous criminals…without having murdered Mozart! Famous in Vienna where he was the main composer, considered as Gluck’s successor, his music was performed everywhere in Europe and he conquered the Parisian public by surprise. His master Gluck had reluctantly accepted the commission for the opera Les Danaïdes and secretly passed it on to Salieri. The 1784 creation caused great effervescence with the public hailing it as a summit in Gluck’s art…until the composer announced formally that the work was entirely written by Salieri! From one day to the other, Salieri became the new darling of the capital. Marie-Antoinette who attended the premiere and met the “real” composer several times, rewarded him highly.
In 1787, Salieri started working on Beaumarchais’s first opera, Tarare; the author organised an incredible media campaign, forbidding any access to rehearsals and creating such high expectations that four hundred guards had to be positioned around the opera to channel the crowds of the premiere in 1787! The work which mingles a Turkish style comedy to strong criticism of the excesses of despotism, was “revolutionary” on more than one count; it met with extraordinary success and remained the most lucrative show at the Paris Opera for several decades! Salieri and Da Ponte reworked the composition into an Italian version, Axur, Re d’Ormuz, created in Vienna for the emperor in 1788, which travelled around the world from Russia to Brazil.
Denouncing the violence of despotism, the brave general persecuted by the evil sultan sees the people revolt, put the tyrant to death, acclaim the general and place him on the throne: this plot unwittingly foreshadows the French Revolution, the death of Louis XVI and Bonaparte. To such an extent that in 1790 in Paris, for the shows commissioned for the Fête de la Fédération, Beaumarchais created a final complementary act, Le Couronnement de Tarare that also met with great success.
Christophe Rousset revives this incredible work; the virtuosity of Beaumarchais’s libretto makes it a “monument” of French theatre.
This concert is performed with the generous support of Aline Foriel-Destezet.
Coproduction: Centre de musique baroque de Versailles – Les Talens Lyriques.
Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)
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