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HomeOperaOpera Lafayette’s 2022-2023 Season: Benefit from the Historical past, Relish the Music

Opera Lafayette’s 2022-2023 Season: Benefit from the Historical past, Relish the Music

Opera Lafayette’s mission is discovering uncared for opera gems of the Seventeenth-Nineteenth centuries and performing them authentically on interval devices; there’s an emphasis on French compositions of the 18th century.  If you happen to look intently, you will note that their new season is crammed with such treasures.  I say look intently as a result of the works to be carried out are provided beneath the umbrella of a theme this season as final.  As a part of the analysis executed to seek out these gems, OL employees encounters examples of how the historical past of an period impacts the music of that period, and considerably, how music influences historical past.  For the primary time final 12 months, OL formally gave their season a theme, and revealed the themes for the next two years as effectively.  Final season’s theme was the “Period of Marie Antoinette”, and the works of that period that have been offered dealt partially with 18th century land possession points and the function of French music in colonialism.  This 12 months’s theme strikes just a few years again from Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI to the period of Madame de Pompadour and Louis XV, highlighting how music enabled musically gifted French ladies to turn out to be influencers within the king’s courtroom and in society past.  In my feedback beneath, I report among the particulars I discovered in a phone dialog with OL’s Creative Director, Ryan Brown.  Benefit from the historical past classes that shall be provided by Opera Lafayette however go for the terribly stunning music you’ll hear in musical compositions you haven’t possible heard earlier than. 

Charles André Van Bathroom – Madame de Pompadour en belle jardinière – v.1754-1755. Picture from Wikipedia is within the public area.

Opera Lafayette’s 2022-2023 Season, the “Period of Madame Pompadour”:

Within the Salons of Versailles (DC: Dec 2/NYC: Could 10)

Pergolesi! (DC: Feb 2/NYC: Could 11)

Opéra-ballet: Rameau’s Io and de La Garde’s Léandre et Héro (DC: Could 2,3/NYC: Could 9)

What first caught my eye for this 12 months was the theme, the “Period of Madame de Pompadour”.  I knew little about her past that she was well-known as a star in French historical past, and a hair type was named after her that Elvis wore; if you’re over 50, you knew that.  I had no concept that she had influenced French music, a lot much less how.  She was formally referred to as Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour and acquired her title from doing a swell job as chief mistress of King Louis XV from 1745 to 1751.  Chief mistress?  Yep, formally titled maîtresse-en-titre.  As an apart, the king’s unofficial mistresses have been referred to as petit-maîtresses; it should have stung to not solely be labeled a consort, however a minor consort.  If we had been a French colony, a lot about America may need been totally different – croissants, not biscuits for instance, however I digress. 

So, it seems that Madame de Pompadour was a greater than satisfactory soprano and musician; she performed the harpsichord and loved performing as a singer; these skills have been enabling for her.  Creative Director Brown was accustomed to her; she had carried out in her day in an opera by composers Insurgent and Francoeur named Zélindor roi des sylphs which OL carried out in 2007.  She additionally was a powerful patron of the humanities who wielded loads of unofficial energy as a result of she had the ear of the king; even after her tenure as maîtresse-en-titre, her affect continued.  Her ingratiating musicianship and patronage of the humanities helped diffuse among the grief directed in direction of her for being a commoner, a severe concern for among the encrusted members of the courtroom.  Opera Lafayette’s theme is a celebration of the period, and solely partially Madame Pompadour.  Her help of the humanities helped her achieve acceptance and affect, nevertheless it was additionally helpful to the humanities.

Emblem courtesy of Opera Lafayette

Within the Salons of Versailles:

Opera Lafayette leads off this season with “Within the Salons of Versailles”.  Invites to salons in 18th century have been coveted.  OL’s program will current French salons as two totally different salonnières (organizers of the salon) may need organized them.  The salons of that point have been one space the place ladies may maintain the management place.  The primary salon will characteristic a invoice of music that Madame de Pompadour may need chosen.  Mme. Pompadour was not the one influencer of her day.  One other salonnière within the French courtroom at the moment who appreciated to arrange salons with a view to prolong her favor and affect with the ability brokers of the day was the Dauphine Marie-Josèphe de Saxe.  She was an import from Dresden, the daughter of Augustus III of Poland, who had married Louis XV’s son, the Dauphin Louis, a wedding organized to cement the alliance between France and Saxony; she additionally performed the harpsichord. 

Solid photograph from OL’s efficiency in 2012 of Le Roi et le fermier by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny; this manufacturing included a efficiency at Opéra Royal de Versailles. Photograph by Louis Neglect; courtesy of Opera Lafayette.

Although each have been gifted musicians, Dauphine Marie-Josèphe de Saxe and Madame Pompadour have been fairly totally different in tastes and background; she was a cosmopolitan from higher crust the Aristocracy, and Mme. Pompadour was a French commoner with an retro job.  This system will start with a Pompadour salon part that includes French composers, whom she favored quite strictly.  Then, we shall be offered with a Marie-Josèphe de Saxe salon with works from a multinational solid of composers resembling Mozart, Hasse, and Pergolesi.  Close to this system’s finish, the alternatives will revert once more to Madame de Pompadour.  The recitals will characteristic renown soprano Emmanuelle de Negri (for a deal with and a sampling of her stunning voice and artistry, click on on this hyperlink) and shall be beneath the musical route of violinist Jacob Ashworth directing an ensemble of well-known early music specialists taking part in the harpsichord (Justin Jonathon Taylor), violin (June Huang), viola (Isaiah Chapman), and cello (Serafin Smigelskiy); this system was designed by Mr. Ashworth. 

Throughout Madame Pompadour’s period, an issue referred to as the Guerre des Bouffons was brewing in Paris; the disagreement was over which was superior, French or Italian music.  For OL’s exemplary salons, I don’t assume scorecards shall be handed out, however you possibly can take psychological notes for arguments on the best way house.  For me, I believe it is going to be a tie; I like ciabatta and croissants.


Opera Lafayette’s second manufacturing deliberate this season is titled “Pergolesi!” and can current two compositions by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi; remember that although Italian, his music was fairly the craze and had affect in Paris throughout Mme. Pompadour’s period.  OL will first current a semi-staged efficiency of Pergolesi’s hit comedic opera, La serva padrona to be carried out within the French model, La Servante maîtresse (The Maid Turned Mistress); within the opera, a trick by a servant girl results in the invention of real love.  This 40-minute opera was created to play as an leisure in the course of the intermission of one other opera by Pergolesi however got here to achieve success by itself.  The opera helped kick off the Guerre des Bouffons when it grew to become a success after being utilized in Paris as an intermezzo for the efficiency of an opera by Lully in addition to different performances.  OL’s efficiency shall be sung in French, however it would have a novel characteristic – Director Nick Olcott has composed rhymed dialog in English meant to higher approximate rhymes of the unique divertissements with a view to recapture the humor for an English-speaking viewers.

Personally, I’m most excited concerning the second a part of this program, an opportunity to listen to in individual Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater carried out by Opera Lafayette.  I discover this piece terribly stunning and have listened to recordings of it a number of instances yearly since discovering it just a few years in the past.  The live performance rendition of Stabat Mater shall be performed by Patrick Dupré Quigley and have soprano Gwendoline Blondeel and mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko.  La Servante Maîtresse may have musical route by Conductor Quigley and have soprano Hannah De Priest, bass-baritone Jonathan Woody, and tenor Patrick Kilbride.

Opéra-ballet: Rameau’s Io and de La Garde’s Léandre et Héro

The third OL manufacturing for this season shall be two fully-staged actes des ballets, one-act operas that embrace divertissements with dancing and choruses on the finish.  The primary shall be a world premiere of the well-known French composer Jean Phillipe Rameau’s Io.  Rameau was a favourite of each Madame Pompadour and Marie-Josèphe de Saxe.  This opera was unfinished by Rameau, as he set it apart to work on his opera Platée, his most well-known comedy, and it has by no means been carried out.  Each plots take care of Jupiter’s philandering and Juno’s jealously and create the character of Folly (La Folie).  Musicologist Sylvie Bouissou, who has written a biography of Rameau, accomplished this work with related plotlines, principally by including dancing and a refrain on the finish taken from Platée

Madame de Pompadour had an opera theater, the Théâtre des Petits Cupboards, constructed at Versailles early in her reign as chief mistress, the place she often carried out.  The second opéra-ballet shall be composer Pierre de la Garde’s Léandre et Héro.  The composer taught music to Louis LXV, and that is an opera that Madame Pompadour performed the lead in when carried out at courtroom.  Each operas shall be performed by harpsichordist Avi Stein, with stage route by Nick Olcott, and may have lead roles performed by soprano Emmanuelle de Negri and tenor Maxime Melnik, his in American debut.  The New York Baroque Dance Firm and the Sean Curran Dance Firm will each be performing in Léandre et Héro, and the Sean Curran Firm will carry out in Io.

Photograph of Creative Director, Conductor, and Violinist Ryan Brown. Photograph courtesy of Opera Lafayette.

In concluding, let me ask when you’ve got been conscious of an obvious evident omission up to now.  Opera Lafayette’s Creative Director and founder, Ryan Brown usually conducts these performances and most frequently can be featured as a violinist.  For this season, he has chosen to stay on the sidelines to provide further leaders and conductors alternatives to achieve expertise and proceed this work, maybe additionally a concession to the COVID pandemic which restricted alternatives for therefore many, with audiences nonetheless down over pre-pandemic ranges.  He additionally identified that Opera Lafayette has not too long ago added three Creative Associates: Jacob Ashworth who put collectively the opening recital for this season; Jonathon Woody who sings in La Servante Maîtresse and likewise organized the choruses for the operas to be carried out within the Spring; and Columbia College musicologist, Julia Doe, who now could be overseeing OL’s instructional applications.

I hope this overview of Opera Lafayette’s 2022-2023 season has been useful, however personally, I don’t have to know what’s taking part in when Opera Lafayette is performing.  I simply go, understanding that it is going to be performed with the wholesomeness of authenticity and that I’m going to get pleasure from it.  This has been true since I attended my first efficiency by Opera Lafayette over 5 years in the past.  Heck, in case you don’t like Opera Lafayette performances, you don’t like ice cream (or sorbet). 

The Fan Expertise: All of Opera Lafayette’s productions for 2022-2023 shall be carried out in each Washington, DC (Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Heart) and New York Metropolis (El Museo del Barrio).  In DC, they are going to be unfold over your complete season and in NYC carried out as a competition.

Washington, DC:

Within the Salons of Versailles – December 2

Pergolesi! – February 2

Opéra-ballet – Rameau’s Io and de La Garde’s Léandre et Héro  – Could 2,3

New York Metropolis:

Opéra-ballet: Rameau’s Io and de La Garde’s Léandre et Héro – Could 9

Within the Salons of Versailles – Could 10

Pergolesi! – Could 11

I’ve not attended an OL efficiency in NYC, however my expertise attending performances on the Kennedy Heart is that they generally promote out; greatest to buy tickets early to have the higher alternative of seating.  OL’s subsequent season may even be themed primarily based, masking the “The Period of Madame de Maintenon” in 2023-2024. 





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