© Oscar Ortega
© Oscar Ortega
Les Arts Florissants | William Christie | Sophie Daneman | soloists
The beautiful queen Partenope can hardly save escape her admirers: three princes vie for her favor. One of them, Arsace, haseven abandoned his bride Rosmira for her. But the latter is out to get revenge: disguising herself as the Armenian nobleman Eurimene, she joins the three princes as another suitor. In this four-way fight among rivals, things become quite heated. Prince Emilio even resorts to the threat of war because Partenope will not hear him out. And Arsace, who soon recognizes Eurimene’s true identity, is challenged by this “rival” to a climactic duel – but then insists it take place without their shirts on. Which means only a confession can untie the plot’s almost inextricable knot. Partenope is Handel’s most absurd opera, sparkling with an irony that ridicules the heroic style, military music, and the conventions of “trouser roles.” A treat for William Christie and the graduates of his master workshop Le Jardin des Voix, who will bring this rarely performed masterpiece to the concert hall in a semi-staged arrangement.
Les Arts Florissants © Denis Rouvre
Les Arts Florissants
Les Arts Florissants was founded in 1979 as an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists dedicated to the performance of Baroque music, taking its name from an opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. From the beginning their Artistic Director has been the harpsichordist and conductor William Christie; since 2007 Christie has regularly passed the conductor’s baton over to the British tenor Paul Agnew. Les Arts Florissants has rediscovered many forgotten treasures from the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, bringing these back into the repertoire – including not only compositions from 17th-century France but also European music of the 17th and 18th centuries more generally. Since making its operatic debut with Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1987, Les Arts Florissants has been especially dedicated to music theater. The ensemble has been artist-in-residence at the new Philharmonie in Paris since 2015. Les Arts Florissants is also performing regularly at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Château de Versailles, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Pro-vence and touring to New York, London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Vienna, Salzburg, and Madrid. Through the vocal academy Le Jardin des Voix, which was founded in 2002, and Arts Flo Juniors, a program begun in 2007, the ensemble is committed to fostering the next generation of highly talented musicians. The festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie has taken place annually since 2012. Nearly 100 CDs document the artistic work of Les Arts Florissants; since 2013 these have been released on their own Label: Les Editions Arts Florissants. The ensemble is subsidized by the French Minister for Culture and Communication. The American Friends of Les Arts Florissants support all its activities.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 27 August 1996 in works by Sigismondo d’India and Claudio Monteverdi conducted by William Christie.
William Christie © Denis Rouvre
The harpsichordist, conductor, and musicologist William Christie is a native of Buffalo, New York, and studied music at Harvard and Yale Universities. In 1971 he settled in France and began performing throughout Europe. The turning point in his career came in 1979, when he founded his own ensemble, Les Arts Florissants: with them Christie focuses in particular on the French Baroque repertoire from Charpentier to Rameau. Since his performance of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris, he has frequently led staged productions, whether in Paris or at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, where Christie has conducted operas by composers from Monteverdi to Mozart. Among his credits are various works by Handel and Rameau at the Glyndebourne Festival; Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, and Handel’s Orlando at Zurich Opera; Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Vienna Festwochen. Christie has also collaborated numerous times with the Berlin Philharmonic. An important commitment for him is his educational work. In 1982 he became the first American to be named a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, where until 1995 he led the course in early music. In 2002 he created an academy for young singers called Le Jardin des Voix. And since 2007 he has given master classes twice a year as artist-in-residence at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. William Christie has recorded some 100 CDs, many of which have won awards. In 1995 he became a French citizen; he is a Commandeur in both the Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has also been named a Grand Officier in the Ordre National du Mérite.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 27 August 1996 with Les Arts Florissants in works by Sigismondo d’India and Claudio Monteverdi.
Introduction to the concert | 18.30 | KKL Luzern, Auditorium
with Susanne Stähr (in German)