Jean-philippe Rameau (1683 - 1764)

Episodes

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01The Theatre Man20190114

Donald Macleod explores Jean-Philippe Rameau’s operas beginning with Hippolyte et Aricie, the work which put him on the operatic map.

By the time of his death in 1764, Rameau, then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.
Across the week Donald Macleod focusses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.
The transformation begins in 1733. What Rameau served up in Hippolyte et Aricie was daring, original rhythms and harmonies. The astonished spectators were both outraged and delighted. Dividing into two camps, a cultural war ensued that raged for over 20 years!

Hippolyte et Aricie (Prologue)
Entrée des habitants de la forêts
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 2, Sc 5)
Trio des Parques
Nathan Berg, bass Pluton
Christopher Josey, tenor, First Fate
Matthieu Lécroart, baritone, Second Fate
Bertrand Bontoux, bass, Third Fate
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Thétis
Peter Harvey, baritone
London Baroque
Ingrid Seifert, violin
Charles Medlam, bass violin
Terence Charlston, harpsichord

Concert No. 1 in C minor
Ensemble Masques
Olivier Fortin, director

Hippolyte et Aricie, (Act 3, Sc 1 to 5)
Lorraine Hunt, mezzo soprano Phèdre
Katalin Károlyi, mezzo soprano Oenone
Mark Padmore, tenor Hippolyte
Laurent Naouri, bass Thésée
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 5, Sc 3)
Où suis-je
Anna-Maria Panarella, soprano, Aricie
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Donald Macleod explores Jean-Philippe Rameau's operas beginning with Hippolyte et Aricie.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Help is at hand20190115

Donald Macleod’s survey of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s operas comes to Les Indes Galantes, a joyous celebration of singing and dancing.

At his death in 1764, Rameau, by then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.
Across the week Donald Macleod focuses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.

Having stirred up a storm with Hippolyte et Aricie, two years later in 1735 Rameau was back in the spotlight with the saucily titled Les Indes Galantes or Love in Exotic Climes. His critics were up in arms all over again. But Rameau had his defences, among them, the protection of a fabulously rich patron.

Les Indes Galantes (suite)
Gavotte qu’on peut jouer sur le clavecin ou sur le violon (Deuxieme concert)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

La Pouplinière
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord
Ryo Terakado, violin
Kaori Uemura, viola da gamba

Les Indes Galantes (excerpt)
Les Incas du Pérou
Bernard Delétré, bass Huascar
Isabelle Poulenard, soprano, Phani
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, tenor, Don Carlos
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin
Gavotte
Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord

Les Indes Galantes (Suite) (excerpts)
Le Concert des Nations
Jordi Savall, director

Donald Macleod explores Jean-Philippe Rameau's Les Indes Galantes.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03A character survey20190116

Donald Macleod’s survey of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s operas comes to Castor et Pollux, one of the most original of his stage creations.

At his death in 1764, Rameau, by then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.
Across the week Donald Macleod focusses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.

Rameau had a singular ability to connect music with human emotion. Today Donald considers the composer’s rather contrary character and how he brought his operatic characters to life on stage.

Castor et Pollux (Act 1)
Que tout gémisse
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Castor et Pollux (Act 1)
Tristes apprêts, pales flambeaux
Agnès Mellon, soprano, Télaïre
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Castor et Pollux (Act 3, Scenes 4 & 5)
Sortez d’esclavage ….Brisons tous nos fers
Howard Crook, tenor, Pollux
Agnès Mellon, soprano, Télaïre
Véronique Gens, soprano, Phébé
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Quatrieme concert (excerpt)
La pantomime
La Rameau
Christopher Rousset, harpsichord
Ryo Terakado, violin
Kaori Uemura, viola da gamba

Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 1 excerpt)
Mark Padmore, tenor, Hippolyte
Anna Maria Panzarella, soprano, Aricie
Patricia Petibon, soprano, Une Prêtresse
Mireille Delunsch, soprano Une Grande Prêtresse
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Castor et Pollux (Act 5)
Castor revoit le jour
Véronique Gens, soprano Phébé
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Castor et Pollux (Act 5)
Chaconne
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Donald Macleod's survey of Jean-Philippe Rameau's operas continues with Castor et Pollux.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04A Night at the Opera20190117

Donald Macleod’s survey of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s stage works comes to the dance and singing extravaganza, Les fetes d’Hebe.

At his death in 1764, Rameau, by then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.
Across the week Donald Macleod focusses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.

When Rameau was writing for the stage, the abilities of the colourful company of singers, dancers and musicians employed by the Paris Opera shaped the music he provided.

Les fêtes d’Hébé, (Prologue)
Accourez, riante jeunesse
Sophie Daneman, soprano, Hébé
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Les fêtes d’Hébé (La danse, Suite)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Les fêtes d’Hébé, (opera-ballet)
Deuxième Entrée: La Musique (Sc 1 to 5)
Sarah Connolly, mezzo soprano, Iphise
Paul Agnew, tenor, Lycurgue
Thierry Félix, bass, Tirtée
Maryseult Wieczorek, mezzo soprano, Une Lacédémonienne
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, tenor, l’Oracle
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Pièces de clavessin
Le Rappel des Oiseaux
Les soupirs
Les cyclops
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Les fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (Sc 3 to 5)
Carolyn Sampson, soprano Memphis
Alain Buet, bass, le Grand-Prêtre
Tassis Christoyannis, bass, Canope
Le Concert Spirituel
Hervé Niquet, director

Donald Macleod explores Jean-Philippe Rameau's stage works. Today Les fetes d'Hebe.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05A distiller of harmony20190118

Donald Macleod’s survey of Jean-Philipps Rameau’s opera comes to “Dardanus”, arguably among his most inspired creations.
At his death in 1764, Rameau, by then an octogenarian, had more than 30 stage works to his credit. It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider he produced his first opera at the age of 50. Up to that point, although details about his life are surprisingly patchy, he appears to have held a succession of posts in the provinces, as an organist, teacher and theoretician, seemingly without even a whiff of greasepaint. Then, at an age when one might assume his chosen path was settled, Rameau upped sticks, came back to Paris and conquered the stage with breathtaking speed.

Across the week Donald Macleod focusses on those heady, initial years in the French capital, building a picture of what made Rameau into a highly successful, if controversial, theatrical composer.

Rameau was an innovator who found new ways of writing for different combinations of instruments and voices. Today Donald explores how he used this ability in his operas.

Overture to Dardanus
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 5)
Rossignols amoureux
Carolyn Sampson, soprano, a shepherdess
Ex Cathedra
Jeffrey Skidmore, director

Dardanus, (Prologue, excerpt)
Mireille Delunsch soprano, Vénus
Françoise Masset, soprano, Amour
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Dardanus (Act 1, Sc 3)
Entrée pour les Guerriers
Magdalena Kožená, soprano, 1stPhrygienne
Laurent Naouri, baritone, Anténor
Russell Smythe, baritone, Teucer
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Nouvelles suites de pieces de clavecin
Les tricotets
L’indifferente
La poule
l’enharmonique
l’égiptienne
Angela Hewitt, piano

Dardanus (Act 4, Sc 1)
Lieux funestes
John Mark Ainsley, tenor Dardanus
Les musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, director

Donald Macleod explores Jean-Philippe Rameau's operas. Today, Dardanus.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.